Archive for June 2007

Take 66 to the World’s Fair

June 30, 2007

In 1939, the Highway Travel Service produced this neat map to guide motorists to the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. The map focuses mainly on U.S. 66 – The Will Rogers Highway – and all the great stops along the way.


Using maps and lists, a Fair-bound traveler could plot out places to eat, stay and visit. Caverns and other cave attractions were big advertisers in this edition of the map. I like to folksy-style of writing used to describe sights along the way.


In addition, the map has a great line drawing on the Chain of Rocks Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River near St. Louis. Today, the bridge is just for pedestrians.



A new dawn for the Sky-Vu Motel

June 30, 2007

The Sky-Vu Motel is still in business along the edge of U.S 40 in eastern Kansas City, Mo. This ranch-style motel was built in the late 1940s and was crowned by a gorgeous sign made of porcelain, neon and chasing light bulbs. Metal awnings and classic seashell metal chairs decorated this 24-room lodge. Sadly, the sign was removed a few years ago and replaced by a generic plastic one. Luckily, the freshly-removed old sign was spotted by Jim Seelen, a Kansas City-area photographer and vintage motel sign admirer. He snagged the sign, protected it and today it is part of the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. Shown below is an original postcard from the motel. It was sent to California in July of 1951. The larger photo is by Jim Seelen and was taken in the late 1990s. Thanks for saving the sign, Jim.


Stopping at Stuckey’s

June 21, 2007

Who can forget the pleasure of pulling off the highway to visit Stuckey’s. Headquartered in Eastman, Ga., these familiar stores were found throughout the highways of the Southeast U.S. This 1960s brochure has a stunning illustration of the now-famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Roll. Think of the miles you could make with one of those resting in your gut. Each store offered the traveler a wide selection of fine candies, rare jellies and marmalades. Of course, fresh pecans were available. Judging from the charming spot illustrations shown on the brochure, motorists would receive great service and snacks. All the more reason to stop the car.


Main Street in Yuma

June 16, 2007

A crisp, clean view of downtown Yuma, Ariz., just off U.S. 95. What a fantastic streetscape of cool signs and cool cars. These kind of photographs really show what has been lost as our commercial and retail habits have shifted to big box and power center shopping. Just one block, of this rather small Arizona town, offered banks, theaters, drug stores, cafes, car parts, night clubs and a bowling alley. Today, much of this area is a historic district.


Louisiana to Minnesota

June 13, 2007

Travel U.S. 71 from New Orleans to the Canadian border. This highway stretches for 1,723 miles. The All-American System provided these handy travel guides to motorists. Each guide had a map, accomodations and services, and highlighted key radio stations along the way. Want to catch the latest news and weather conditions in Carthage, Mo.? Well, tune your radio to AM 1490 KDMO. This guide, probably from the late 1950s, is illustrated with a rather generic illustration that was also used on the other highway guides produced by All-American. I do like the crude representation of a drive-in movie in the distance.