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Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by Blackthorn, Jul 21, 2014.
Cool pics Bob.
Bob - that's fantastic. There was a time when the quirky "multi-purpose" shop existed because - as your Dad's did - it grew organically out of its history, the owner's personal preferences and because, over time, some new products came along. A hardware store might also sell radios and have a candy section (as I remember one did near where I grew up). It seems like the national brands put most of those out of business as it probably is too hard to compete with a singularly focused competitor with national buying power. But while they existed, they were very cool.
We had a place like that, called Musick Drug Store. Besides the Pharmacy, they had a soda fountain, records for the teenagers, and for me, the most magical part was the model kit section in the back.
This sign is from the 60s. The motel structure is nothing to look at, but the sign is fantastic. Arlington, VA.
Those stores had their heyday back when people covered less distance in their daily lives than most of us do now. In all but a few American cities, a big-box retailer needs a large parking lot and fairly close proximity to the big, limited-access highways. Customers think nothing of traveling more than a couple-three or four miles to shop there. Before the age of the interstate highways, and the two- and three- and four-car households, that model wouldn't have worked.
In the close-in Seattle neighborhoods built out early in the 20th century you can spot structures that had once been little corner stores, many of which are attached to the houses in which the storekeepers resided. Almost all of them have long since been converted to additional living spaces or artists' studios and the like.
Here's a shot of my hometown's main street circa 52.
Here's the only sign left. An old theatre that's owned and used occasionally by the bar next door. My band has played there and backstage is pretty cool. Some might call it painfully outdated, but I prefer the term "vintage."
And lastly, here's a sign from a motel that was torn down several years ago in favor of building a strip mall. *shudder*
It had a pretty awesome sign out front. I miss seeing it every day.
Wesslyn - great pictures. What's funny is the extant Rivoli neon sign and marquee looks different from the one in the '52 photo. Is it a different entrance or is my perspective just off?
Love the "Jetson" feel to the Meling's Motel and Cafe sign.
And how funny that, pre-TV, a town could support two theaters next to each other - the Rivoli an Bijou.
Nowadays it's a single brand theatre with multiple screens.
Those are cool pics Wesslyn. Sad to see the motel go. Both of the buildings that housed the early 1980s version of the Hilton and Sheraton here in town are now both gone. My wife and I both worked at each of them at some point (though not together). Another sign of getting old is when your landmarks are gone.
Oddly, NYC is simply becoming depopulated of movie theaters. Yes, a few multiplexes have opened in the last two decades (awkward city affairs where they are on six, seven or more level - basically they take over old industrial or warehouse buildings and stack the screens on top of each other with all sorts of escalators installed to move people, but it isn't comfortable), but so many one, two and three screen movie theaters have closed that the total count has to have dropped significantly. Real estate is getting so incredibly expensive in this city that many business models are changing / going away while new ones are coming in and trying the high-wire act of taking on a huge rent for a huge and (overall) affluent clientele.
And, yes, the loss of landmarks is an poignant and plangent sign one is not getting younger.
The Rivoli got the vertical sign sometime in the 60s, I believe. Don't quote me on that, because that's a long time before I existed.
The theatre in both the Rivoli and the Bijou went out of business, so I guess the town couldn't handle two theatres, haha...
Now the Bijou is a bar that owns the Rivoli. After the Rivoli went out of business, it was host to various things. At one point it was even an indoor skate park. Nowadays it's a theatre again, but not a movie theatre. More of a concert venue or a hall you can rent out for weddings and things like that.
Not sure if this one still works. I don't get to this part of town that often.
This one definitely doesn't work anymore.
This is in the historic small town of Easton on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
The Virginia Lodge on Route 1 in Alexandria, Va.
This beauty is about 20 miles north of me in Moriarty, NM on old Route 66. It was a landmark on 66 for decades, above the Comida de Anayas restaurant. After years of being inactive it was restored a few years ago, but only worked for a few months. It rotates on horizontal and vertical axes, requiring a lot of maintenance. The restaurant was inactive last I looked and so was the sign, but it' sill there.
That is called a Roto-Sphere. Approximately 234 of them were built from 1960 to 71, by Warren Milks, with only about 17 remaining these days. Of those, less than half are operational.
There used to be one above a bowling alley near my house. I bowled there a lot back in the 80s, and it still lit up then but I don't remember ever seeing it moving. It disappeared, hopefully to be restored by some wealthy collector, when the bowling alley was demolished to make way for a @#$% walmart (because there was't already one 5 miles down the %$#@ road or anything) about 10 years ago.
My friends and I all thought that sign was about one of the coolest things ever.
Oh, and the Virginia Lodge there is pretty good too, Harv.
Nice signs everyone. Thanks for the trivia on the Roto-Sphere Dale -- very interesting.
My favorite is the Farmer's Market sign. That's my Grandma's farm truck on top I think (it was a '55 Chevy). I pulled it out of the back field when I was 15 and planned on fixing it up. I got frustrated with that and traded it off. About the dumbest thing I ever did.
Great signs, guys and girls!
Tod's Motel is now a vintage VW repair shop and a ministry for the homeless. It's located in Cabool, MO.