Archive for the ‘U.S. 40’ category

Star Broiler on U.S. 40

September 9, 2007

There is no doubt you would hit the brakes when you spotted this marvel in Winnemucca, Nev. Lighting up a corner, right on U.S. 40, this combination casino and restaurant offered all-night gambling and entertainment. This late 1960s photo shows Joe Mackie’s Star Broiler Restaurant and Casino. The name doesn’t exactly roll off the lips, but who cares, the neon signage is the real star.



Colorado Main Streets

August 25, 2007

From a state known for its scenic landscapes, here are a few beauties to check out. The first photo is downtown Montrose situated on U.S. 50. Dense clusters of buildings, sweet signs and people walking give the town a bustling flair. This photo looks to be from the early 1960s.


Next up, the eastern Colorado town of Limon. Most people know this as a stop along Interstate 70. But this view, from the early 1970s, shows a still vibrant town surviving along the old route U.S. 40. Gas stations, cafes and bars line the road.


The famous mining town of Cripple Creek is next. This 1950s photo shows a long main street anchored by the Imperial Hotel.


Cortez, Colo. is located in the southwest part of the state. The town is nearby Indian reservations and Mesa Verde National Park.  This 1950s view looks west along U. S. 160. Like all these Colorado Main Streets, a Coors beer sign is present.


Finally, we travel to the northwest Colorado town of Craig. This gorgeous stretch of street is U.S. 40 and is filled with much to see, including the stunning West Theatre marquee.


Reno’s finest

August 18, 2007

Check out this awesome brochure for Harold’s Pony Express Motel. Located on U.S. 40, this lodge was only a few blocks from Reno, Nev. colorful casino center. The cover of the guide shows a motel built in Ranch-style architecture.


The guide shows off a crisp room filled with mid-century blonde furniture sitting on a cool-looking western carpet. No wonder the couple looks so pleased.


A birds-eye view of the motel could not be better. A pristine roadside scene filled with amazing cars, people and a well-groomed landscape.


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.


Main Street of America?

April 10, 2007

The ‘Main Street of America’ moniker was used for several early highways in America. Of course, its most famous application was and is with Route 66. But this early road brochure, from 1926, show other routes trumpeted it too. U.S. 40 was a true cross-country road. Atlantic City, N.J. is on the eastern end and San Francisco on the west. This vintage brochure highlights the section of 40 connecting St. Louis to Kansas City to Denver. Interestingly, the map shows a rare version of U.S. 66 being labeled as U.S. 60. U.S. 66 was originally given the number 60, but a mini-dispute among states and federal highway authorities saw a last-minute switch. The number 66 was given to the Chicago-Los Angeles route instead. And U.S. 60 was given to the road that stretched from Virginia to Arizona.


Close cover before striking

March 27, 2007

Curators, here at the Museum, pour over an extensive collection of ephemera, including matchbook covers. These dimunitive examples of advertising showcase roadside stops and attractions along America’s highways. These covers from Texas and Ohio are real beauties. The Grande Courts in San Antonio were managed by Lon P. Piper and boasted of “America’s Finest Tourist Quarters.” The Vandalia Courts offered not only rooms, but also a place to park that shiny new Airstream along the shoulders of U.S. 40. Together, these matchbook covers are eye-popping reminders of stops along the road.


The inside of the covers offer quaint little maps, so travelers can find their way.