THE OFFICIAL SITE OF SOUTH OF THE BORDER.

Posts Tagged ‘Billboards’

Border History Revealed

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

South of the Border tourist attraction has been a landmark in Dillon, SC for over 60 years. With such a long rich history, there have been many cards, posters, trinkets and memorabilia associated with Pedro and The Border. Many people have collected these items over the years, and occasionally the drop us a line or email to share their treasures with us. We have some great photos on our website that reflect the changes and growth of South of Border over the years. But that is only a small fraction of the images out there in cyberspace.

We recently received a picture of a 1957 post card on our Facebook group from a person who collects memorabilia about Hwy 301. This highway is the original location for South of the Border, and was the way all our travelers came to us. This changed when Interstate 95 became the main north/south highway in the area years later. He has quite few more photos and post cards on his profile and we thank him for sharing them with us. Here is a collection of early billboards from our Facebook group too. We believe these are from the late 50’s and early 60’s as well. And this shot of the motel lobby and giant Pedro sign is from the 60’s too, judging by the sweet, sweet rides in the parking lot.

Speaking of sweet rides, check out the photo album that showcases all the Mustangs from the car show held every year on the grounds of South of the Border. It has pictures of Mustangs and Fords from several decades. The Round Up at the Border event raises money for charity every year, and continues to attract more and more muscle car enthusiasts from across the country.

To stay connected to all the events, news, photos and fun at South of the Border, subscribe to our Twitter feed, join our Facebook group and follow our blog.

Alan Schafer ~ St. Petersburg Times Article 2001

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

alan_schaferCompiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 21, 2001
view article»

Anyone traveling along Interstate 95 has seen them: the groan-inducing, retina-scorching green and orange billboards.

Too Tired to Tango? (Rest Weeth Pedro!)

Pedro sez: Chili today, hot tamale.

Keep America Green! Bring Money!

You Never Sausage a Place! You’re Always a Wiener at Pedro’s!

Keep yelling kids! (They’ll stop.)

For more than five decades, South of the Border has attracted restless travelers, reportedly as many as 8-million a year. The $40-million Mexican-themed complex includes motel rooms, campsites, gift shops, restaurants, an amusement park and a large observation tower shaped like a sombrero. The park, with about 750 workers, remains one of the largest employers in an economically depressed county.

Its mascot is the wise-cracking Pedro character made famous by the billboards and created by Alan Schafer.

Born into a Jewish family in Baltimore just as World War I was starting, Mr. Schafer lived almost all of his life in South Carolina’s rural Dillon County. He was a journalism major at the University of South Carolina, who left during his senior year in 1933 to take over a cafe and a beer distributing company for his ailing father.

After World War II, Mr. Schafer noticed hordes of families from the Northeast zooming down U.S. 301 to South Carolina and Florida beaches. He decided to offer them a place to stop for a meal and souvenirs. He started in 1949, with an 18- by 36-foot, shocking-pink beer stand just south of the state border. The nearby North Carolina counties were dry, meaning it was illegal to sell alcohol there. The next year, he added a 10-seat grill — the South of the Border Drive-In — at the request of then-Gov. Strom Thurmond, who wanted to quiet complaints from anti-drink forces in the neighboring state.

Next came the curios. One night in the early 1950s, a traveling salesman wandered in. He had run out of cash on the way home to New York City from a Miami trade show. Mr. Schafer bought the man’s stock, a collection of plush elephants and bears, for $100. He distributed the stuffed toys around his store. A week later, he had sold them all for $500.

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