Archive for May 2007

Matchless 66

May 26, 2007

Matchbooks were an easy and cheap way to advertise a business. For very little expense, a motel or cafe could¬† buy thousands of these little billboards, which doubled as useful souvenirs for smokers and everyone else.¬† Here are a couple from the Mother Road. McLean, Texas is still a great stop on U.S. 66. This matchcover from the early 1940s uses a generic illustration of a hamburger to promote a tourist camp. The Clock Inn Motel in Oklahoma City had a fantastic sign that this matchcover doesn’t show off. Today, the original sign from the Clock Inn can be found here.



Fun galore on 54

May 26, 2007

U.S. 54 was a key east-west route through Kansas. This postcard was produced in 1958 to promote travel along this road. Mr. and Mrs. Jayhawker welcomed travelers. Sadly, one tourist stop on U.S. 54 has been lost. The town of Greensburg was devastated by a tornado in May…and the toll of that disaster included the Big Well. Hopefully, when Greensburg gets back on its feet, the Well can be reopened for future visitors.


Stoppin’ in Dodge

May 26, 2007

Dodge City, Kan. sits near the center of Ford County in the southwest portion of the state. U.S. Highways 50, 56 and 283 converge on this famous little town. This place is a popular stop for tourists. You can ride in a vintage stagecoach, visit the Boot Hill Museum or watch a staged gunfight. This photo, from the early 1960s, shows a more modern side of the city. The sign for Bill’s Tavern is a beauty. At the far end of the street is the Santa Fe train depot. Schlitz and Coors beer signage along with cafes round out a colorful highway view.


Masterpiece map

May 25, 2007

There are plenty of beautiful road maps. But this 1929 example from Shell would be on many folks Top 10 list. Almost 80 years old, this relic shows a bountiful landscape filled with the optimism of people on the move. And who wouldn’t want to stop at that crackerbox-style gas station? This map heralded in a decade of gorgeous map covers, which will be displayed here in the coming months.


You are getting Sleepy…

May 16, 2007

Franchise motels, like Holiday Inn and TraveLodge, began to appear along Route 66 in the late 1950s. TraveLodge was started in California and crept eastward. Mrs. Ruth J. Brockmiller, Helen J. Hougland and Alice G. White were in charge of this early TraveLodge motel in Kingman, Ariz. Sleepy Bear was (is) the mascot of this chain which still operates today.


The inside of this brochure, from the late 1950s, shows a rather plain-looking establishment. with a simple sign. Holiday Inn had nothing to fear in terms of sign appeal.


A charming mid-century illustration caps this brochure. By the 1950s, the romance and adventure of families traveling 66 was fact. This cartoon celebrates that image.


Happy service

May 12, 2007

One of the great things about old road maps are the depictions of the service station attendants. They gleefully hand out the latest map or wave goodbye. Smiles and impeccable dress are a must. It doesn’t matter that these guys have been changing tires and oil all day. Here are two examples of how oil companies put their best mug forward. The staff, here at Historic Highways, will continue to showcase the allure of 20th century roadside graphic design. Watch this space for more. Oh, the Missouri map is from the 1950s and the California map from the 1940s.


A refreshing rest

May 11, 2007

Stop in at the Round-Up Motel in Tucson, Ariz. Located on U.S. Highway 80, this ranch-style motel lured in travelers from the hot Arizona sun by offering air-conditioning. This postcard example and business card are from the early 1950s. Lucky for you, the motel is still in operation today.