Archive for the ‘California’ category

The Spot to stop

October 27, 2007

The heart of Victorville, Calif. included one of the finest tourist accomodations along Route 66. The Green Spot Motel and Cafe was operated by Mr. H.E. Roy. Here are a couple artifacts from the place – a business card and postcard – both from the 1940s.



Animals along the road

September 9, 2007

Sure you could get lucky and spot some real wildlife loitering along the highway. But there were several places to stop that could guarantee an exciting encounter with mammals, birds and reptiles, even though it was staged. Gay’s Lion Farm in El Monte, Calif. offered guests a chance to see dozens of African lions. Mr. and Mrs. Gay ran the farm, which was well connected with Hollywood in placing lions into films. In fact, a particular beast named ‘Slats’ was well known in front of the camera. This brochure is from the early 1930s.



While in southern California, visitors could also check out the Los Angeles Ostrich Farm. Located at 3609 Mission Road, this place boasted of having ‘the only trained ostriches in the entire West.’ More than 100 of these huge birds could be seen. Probably the coolest picture from this early 1930s guide, shows a man with a wheelbarrow loaded with giant eggs.



Florida was (is) famous for its roadside reptile emporiums. Gatorland was located on the shoulders of U.S. Route 1, near St. Augustine. This mid-1960s guide and map highlights the wonders of alligators, especially when being wrestled. Also, visitors could purchase exotic animals like monkeys, Mynah birds, alligators and South American caiman. All of these animals could be shipped home. Wow.


The exterior of Gatorland looks awesome. Great signage complimented by a huge grinning alligator sculpture. Hard not to stop.


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.


Go…all the way!

April 7, 2007

Pawing through the road map collection here at Historic Highways, I came upon this little beauty from the 1940s. Good ol’ Sears (which had more than 600 stores at the time) handed out maps for many years. In fact, many of the stores had attached service stations that offered not only gasoline, but complete auto repair.


This particular example has a fantastic illustration of a carefree couple on the road. The man’s tie is swept back in this exhilarating scene.


The road map itself, is produced by Rand McNally. This image shows the desert stretch of Route 66. The tiny towns of Daggett, Ludlow, Bagdad, Amboy and Essex were a travelers’ oasis as they crossed the Mojave Desert.


Big Bear Lake

March 25, 2007

Ahhh, a nifty view, from the mid-1950s, of the busy little village of Big Bear Lake, Calif. Located at an elevation of 6,750 feet in the San Bernardino mountains. These photos show a diversity of stores, gas stations and motels that would cater to the needs of tourists. Only about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the Big Bear Lake area has been the setting for many motion pictures, including “Paint Your Wagon,” “The Parent Trap,” “Bonanza,” and “Dr. Dolittle.”