Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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