Archive for April 2007

Scribbles from 66

April 28, 2007

Used almost like a diary, this little gas station booklet details a 1949 road trip along portions of Route 66. Mrs. Fillotson began her journey from Kansas City in a 1941 Ford. She left on July 8 driving U.S. 54 west through Kansas. On July 10, she pulled onto the Mother Road at Tucumcari and continued west. A quick stop at Clines Corners, where she spent 75 cents on souvenirs, was followed by a stay in Albuquerque. Dinner at the Court Cafe cost $2.35. The Aztec Court was $6.12 for a night. On July 12, she ate at Pete’s Cafe ($1.89) in Gallup, N.M. and stayed at the La Posada Court ($7.00). At Winslow, Ariz., she boarded a train for the trip to Los Angeles. In L.A., she stayed at the Figueroa Hotel and ate at Clifton’s. On July 17, she arrived back in Winslow. She stayed another night at the Aztec Court in Albuquerque before heading north to Santa Fe, Taos and finally Kansas City. One of the most interesting parts of her record-keeping is the list of souvenirs purchased. She bought postcards, a Mexican mug and rings for herself, father and mother. In addition, at Acoma Pueblo she acquired a jug, vase and bowl. Total cost for the three pieces of pottery: $1.75.



Feeding the youngsters

April 28, 2007

Holiday Inn offered travelers a familiar and friendly experience. Along with a room and a swimming pool, the chain also offered dining options for hungry visitors. On-site restaurants that welcomed kids were popular. This early menu, from the mid-1960s, showcase the types of food available. Kids could choose from a shrimp platter, hamburger and potato chips, fish, even a vegetable plate (how popular was that?). Each meal was followed by a complimentary lollipop at the cashier counter.


Howard Johnson’s ruled the roads also. The orange-capped restaurants were peppered along the nation’s highways, especially in the eastern U.S. This children’s menu, from 1976, is filled with great historical moments from Indian tribes around the country. Nothing like a little lesson while Junior munches on a clam dinner.


Custer’s last stand

April 25, 2007

Near the site of the famous Battle of the Little Bighorn, the tiny oasis of Custer, Mont. stands. Imagine pulling into this town after dark…your headlights spotlighting the gas stations, cafe and curio shop. Up ahead, a place to stay. Cabins for rent. This photo, taken in the mid-1950s, shows U.S. Highways 10 and 12 running through town.


Drive with care – and use Sinclair

April 25, 2007

If you pulled into your local Sinclair station in 1958, chances are the attendant would have offered you this calendar. Sinclair was just one of several oil companies that handed out a plethora of great-looking graphic design. Each month of this calendar was illustrated with a simple photo and a reminder of your auto’s needs. If it’s December, remember cold-weather care. In the summer, stop in for a map to your vacation destination. And throughout the year use Sinclair Power-X, the Super Fuel. This particular calendar was handed out by Lew the Car Wash King. He had a station on the corner of 39th and Broadway in Kansas City, Mo.


Ocean to ocean

April 23, 2007

Talk about a complete guidebook. Published 81 years ago, this map and book was for motorists driving on the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway. Remember, this was before America had a numbering system for its roads, so highways were given adventurous, historic, even romantic titles. This guide has 140 pages of maps, advertising and advice. St. Joseph, Mo. was the headquarters town for this highway. To give a sense of what road travel was like then, here is what the guide suggests:

1. The trip from New York to the Missouri River can be made in five and one-half days, or about 250 miles a day.
2. From St. Joseph, Mo, to Grand Junction, Colo. can be made in five days, or about 200 miles a day.
3. Finally, the leg from Grand Junction to Los Angeles can be made in six and one-half days, or about 150 miles a day.

The entire trip, across the country, can be made in 17 days. What a roadtrip!


Spreading the word

April 21, 2007

Motels had lots of ways to advertise. These two motor courts on the Lincoln Highway were no exception. Both lodges handed out free stuff to make sure travelers would remember their stay or better yet, mail a postcard or letter on motel stationary to other potential guests. These examples, from 1950s, showcase the wide array of ‘branding’ and ‘marketing’ early motels used. The Rose Court and El Rancho Motor Lodge were owned by Louis and Rose Boschetto.


Postcards and matchbooks were probably the most popular giveaways. This linen postcard was produced in 1954.


Southern Utah main street

April 20, 2007

U.S. Highway 89 splits the middle of this remote redrock town. Kanab, Utah has been known as Little Hollywood, due to more than 30 movies that have been filmed in the vicinity. Founded in 1870, Kanab was at one time declared the most inaccessible town in America. But even it remoteness hasn’t stopped a parade of beautiful signage decorating its main drag. Beer, groceries, a cafe and Dairy Queen…all in a row.