“The Rebel House, Effingham’s newest and finest restaurant, opened for business Tuesday December 17”, 1969 according to a story in the Springfield Herald.
The business was owned and operated by William O. “Bill” and Ruth Lee and Thomas and Karen Neidlinger. The building was constructed by T. W. Bragg Jr. It was a concrete block structure featuring a shelter on the left side where cars could park and diners could walk up to the takeout window for service.
Located at the corner of Laurel Street and Stillwell Road in Springfield (this site is now occupied by BB & T Bank) this was the real “hot spot” of the times.
The exterior of the building featured a colorful Rebel flag.
James “Snowball” Williams cooked barbecue pork and homemade hash on site in a wood fired pit at the rear of the lot. This was the specialty of the new eatery.
A buffet was an innovative feature of the new restaurant always featuring the barbecue and often delicious fried chicken or other entrees on a rotating basis as seen in the advertisements shown. Opening prices were $1.75 for adults and $1.00 for children for the buffet. Short orders included tasty hamburgers and lots of fries. Opening hours were 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. with extended hours on Effingham County High home game evenings. Sunday hours from 4-10 p.m. featured soft serve ice cream.
By 1972, the Neidlingers sold out to the Lees. In July 1975, Charles Shedd became owner of the business and remodeled and redecorated the restaurant. A Sunday buffet was offered. A buffet was featured from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. A regular menu was also offered. Nightly specials included: Monday miniburgers 4 for $1.00, Tuesday spaghetti and Friday and Saturday nights featured catfish.
After a few years, the restaurant name was changed to “Buddy’s.” This was a sister to Charles Shedd’s “Woody’s” in Rincon. These two restaurants offered short orders and lots of take out food featuring hamburgers, fries, shakes and soft drinks.
Some of the employees over the years included: Carolyn Jackson, Jeanette Brown, Helen Holmes, Vondelle Boyles (now Monroe), Kathleen Wilson, Martha Williams, Rose Andrews and Ethel Neidlinger. I was employed as a waitress there and recall baking and selling over 100 cakes of many varieties to the restaurant during the summer of 1972. These were served with soft serve ice cream.
My salary was raised to $1.20 an hour plus tips by the time I left to go to college. Some of the employees of the Shedd enterprise included: Chris Beebe, Lee Callahan, Mary Dasher, Mary Howard, Janice Edwards (now Ford), Gail Shedd (now Mileski) and manager David Brooks.
After several years, Shedd sold the property to First Federal Savings and Loan of Sylvania which was then operating in the old Mars Theatre building. Mr. Jack Ramsey Sr. was associated with First Federal at the time. First Federal built the bank on the lot and relocated there from the old theatre.
The building was remodeled and expanded and the bank’s name has changed many times over the years. The property is currently occupied by BB & T Bank.
Many young people congregated under the oak trees outside the Rebel House.
This story brings back lots of memories seeing many of my friends cruising around the building or sitting on the hoods of their cars out front sharing fries and a coke with friends. Those were the days.
This article was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have comments, photos or information to share please call 754-6681 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.