Archive for the ‘Missouri’ category

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.



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.


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.


The Scenic Route

April 5, 2007

This sharp-looking brochure, from the early 1950s, highlighted the advantages of crossing Missouri on U.S. 50. The inside of the guide says: “Take a camera, take an appetite, and take Highway 50 across Missouri. On 50, you avoid trailer-trucks and commercial travelers. You discover a peaceful panorama of natural countryside, lovely little towns, thoughtfully planned cities. You find home-cured Missouri ham, golden fried chicken and delicious channel catfish.” Sounds about perfect. Highway 50 had its national office in Nevada. Missouri had its own U.S. 50 bureau, just to promote travel within its borders. It was located in Jefferson City.


Luxurious comfort

April 4, 2007

The Carney Motel, facing U.S. 66 in Rolla, Mo., offered many conveniences to motorists. The motel was equipped with a swimming pool, air-conditioned rooms, even a baby-sitting service. The Carney boasted of large picture windows in each room, which stared out to the new four-lane 66. This late 1950s brochure offers a idyllic picture of mid-century roadside lodging. Fresh from a swim, a young woman stands frozen in front of the motel’s colonade.


Great little station

March 4, 2007

Need directions to navigate the Show-Me State’s roads? Stop in at this charming Phillips station and pick up a map. One quart of Phillips 66 motor oil will set you back 30 cents. Today, several of these little cottages still exist. There is one located MoMap66near the museum that is a hair salon now.