More original buildings of Carowinds
The Paradise Treats building in Carolina R.F.D., started off as the Shrimp House in what use to be the Pirate Island section of Carowinds. Here, you could order your seafood and eat along a small boardwalk over the water. In 1978, it became the Potatoe Pier, a great place for french fries. In 1982, it was called Catfish Alley and in 1987 it was the Sundae Isle ice cream until it became Paradise Treats in 2000.
Contrary to what many people believe, this small restaurant was not always exclusively a pizza stand. For the first 2 years (1973-74), this was the "Super Snack" stand. Yes, pizza was on the menu along with many other foods. From 1975 on, it has pretty much been a pizza and beverage place. You can get beer here too!
When Carowinds opened in 1973, it had a superb magic show here in the air-conditioned "Magic Theater". In 1976, it was transformed into the "Midway Music Hall", playing various type music shows for 17 years. When Paramount took over operations in 1993, it became the "Paramount Theater", featuring Paramount on Ice. It was changed to the Retro Active show in 1997, and eventually the Rockin' the Decades show in 2008.
One of the more delightful attractions over the past 40 years is the working water wheel just past the covered bridge. The building started out as a general store in the Country Crossroads section in 1973 selling toys and candy. And 40 years later, it is still a candy store, simply known as Carolina Candy in Carolina R.F.D. The water wheel is still turning too!
Right between Frontier Outpost and Pirate Island is where guests have been going for 40 years to get that band-aid, some aspirin or maybe a cold compress to combat the sweltering Carolina heat. The First Aid building structure has bascially stayed the same all these years.
This little school house has had quite a history. In 1973, this building started out as a little red school house for "Lost Parents" in the Country Crossroads section. A novelty attraction for the most part copied from 1960's Six Flags. In 1976 it became the "School House Arcade" and then the "Looking Glass" glass blowing shop, (formerly in Plantation Square), was briefly moved there in 1987. Then it became the Cartoon Clubhouse in 1991 and the Wacky World of Kids in 1997. In 2006 it became a "Personal Tee" t-shirt store and today it is "Trendz" clothing store. The basic structure is the same as it's always been but the front section was enlarged somewhat for more floor space.
What started out in 1973 as the "Village Tavern" restaurant in the Queen's Colony section, evolved to the "Joe Cool Cafe" in 2009. According to a 1982 map, it became the "Oriental Gardens" restaurant when this section was renamed "Old World Marketplace" that year. It stayed that way until 1987 and went back to being the Village Tavern until 2003. Then it was rethemed as the "Nick Toons Cafe" until 2009.
One of my personal favorite original structures at Carowinds is the old Skyway/Grubstake building in what was then called the Frontier Outpost section. The Skyway cable cars would enter and exit through those large openings above the Carolina Boatworks sign (where the boat bows are protruding). You could exit the Skyway and go get a delicious hamburger at the Grubstake directly underneath. The Skyway closed at the end of the 1981 season but the Grubstake remained until 2000. It was renamed "Blue Ridge Grill" for 2001, but changed names again to "Outer Hanks" in 2002. It is still labeled as Outer Hanks on the 2013 park map. In the not-so-distant past, they had a long row of rocking chairs lined in front of the building. You could sip a beer or coke while relaxing and people watching. In 2015, a major conversion was done to this structure. It became a Chickie & Pete's restaurant. The entire dining area was also enclosed.