Site of Tommy's Place & The Back Lot
120 East Black Street
Built: circa 1930s
The corner of what was originally East Black Street and South Trade Street, was the area know by locals as the Back Lot area. This corner had developed as a commercial and small industrial area of the town, due to easy access to water, proximity to the railroad and historically for decades the best access to the freight depot was by crossing the railroad at the Black Street crossing. Thus, it became a central gathering spot for individuals to park their cards and walk uptown to shop, grab a bit of lunch, or stop in and dine when getting off work. Small stores and restaurants were ultimately constructed here, including Tommy’s Place, a very popular, establishment owned and operated by Tom and Sumela Zadan, early Lebanese immigrants to Rock Hill.
Just south of the corner and the Zadan's restaurant was the Palmetto Library building, which faced South Trade Street and served for decades as the African American Library facility, in what had once been a fine turn of the century home. This Palmetto Library often receiving second hand books and periodicals from the state library department and operated on limited hours and minimal staff.
The widening of Black Street and the relocation of the railroad to allow for a new underpass, expedited the bulldozing of most builds along Black Street as well as South Trade, which eventually was named South Dave Lyle Boulevard. This was in honor of Rock Hill’s long-term mayor, David Lyle who spearheaded the redevelopment of downtown Rock Hill.