When we were born

Think back to 1997. Bill Clinton is president. No one yet had heard of Monica Lewinsky. Al Gore “invented” the internet a few years earlier, but it isn’t ubiquitous. Google.com, in fact, is first registered this year. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond breaks the record for being the longest-serving U.S. senator in history (41 years, 10 months).

In pop culture, songs by Jewel and Puff Daddy crush it on the radio. Men In Black and Titanic soar at the box office. Molten chocolate cakes are a big thing in restaurants.  Average Janes and runway models rock monochrome outfits, jeweled chokers, platform shoes and waist chains.

And here at the City Paper? We were just getting started. Here’s a look back at what our city looked like 25 years ago. In 1997 in Charleston, you could:

  • Get a CD at Cat’s Music for $12.99. We’re talking Wu-Tang Forever, Supa Dupa Fly and Reload.
  • Step into virtual reality at the American Theater. A bit before its time, eh?
  • Place your penis enlargement ad in classifieds. Spam emails hadn’t been created yet.
  • Check out a Pluff Mud Production at the Windjammer. The Foreigner, a comedy, was directed by Susan Lynn Johns, and ran for three weeks that September.
  • Sign a book at the Charleston Visitors Center commemorating Princess Diana. The book was sent to England on Sept. 14, 1997.
  • Head to a North Charleston skate park. Wait 20 years for one to open downtown.
  • Rock out at WaveFest. Your $10 ticket got you live music from Ben Folds Five, Cracker, Jump, Little Children and Wilco.
  • Drink beer at Charleston’s one brewery, Palmetto Brewery. It then was owned by Louis Bruce and Ed Falkenstein.
  • Get a $6 ticket for maxing out a parking meter. Make that $20 for parking in a tow zone.
  • Buy a medium one-topping pizza at Gilroy’s for $4.99. Pair it with a $2.25 well drink and call it a night.
  • Catch a flick at the newly opened Terrace Theater, The Roxy or South Windermere (only one remains in 2022 and it ain’t The Roxy or South Windy).
  • Stroll along Broad Street’s Art Walk. It offered 32 galleries in the French Quarter Gallery Association. Then stick around for two decades and do it again on the first Friday of every month.
  • Dine on the waterfront at Pusser’s Landing. It was called “the Caribbean restaurant that really is from the Caribbean.” Well, “was.”
  • Play games at King Street Arcade. Mortal Kombat 4 was there, along with Shock Troopers and Battle Circuit.
  • Beer break. You could swill brews at the Charleston International Beerfest at the Bus Shed. Tickets cost $20.
  • Browse the internet on NeoPlanet. Dial tone, anyone?
  • Wave at Dixie Furniture’s Gus the Gobbler. He was a real live turkey mascot sitting in the window. RIP Gus. RIP Dixie.
  • Adopt a pet on geocities.com. Geo what? Your guess is as good as ours.

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