Abandoned Vermont: Gas Station

Gas station on Western Ave (Route 9) in Brattleboro, VT.

Not as mysterious as other abandoned places, but small gas stations from the 1930s (or 20s-50s really) are buildings that I find fascinating – like those on the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut or the one remaining gas station in the center of the Belt Parkway on southern Long Island, NY.  Though not exactly abandoned, it is currently vacant, which makes me worry about its fate. This one was most recently a Sunoco station and appears to have only one garage bay, a small front office, and a rear room.

Western Ave, Brattleboro, VT gas station.

Actually, this building is for sale. Look up listings for 205 Western Ave, Brattleboro, VT. A Trulia listing revealed some historic images. Unfortunately, the listing does not cite the source of the photos. It says that for the past 60 years, the station has been servicing the area. However, I always take realtor listings with a grain of salt.

205 Western Ave, Brattleoboro, VT. Image via Trulia.

205 Western Ave. Image via Trulia.

Read the seller’s notes – sounds like a great investment project! A former service station on Shelburne Road in Burlington, VT has been converted into a restaurant – The Spot. These are great buildings!

Preservation Photos #18

A bit of roadside architecture love this week: the giant peach water tower in Gafney, South Carolina. Photograph taken while driving by on I-85, March 2009.

Giant Flamingo

Seriously, how has no one ever pointed this out to me before? Who’s been to Baltimore and seen this giant flamingo at Cafe Hon?

Cafe Hon in Baltimore, MD

Cafe Hon in Baltimore, MD

click picture for original source.

Along the lines of all things giant, one of my favorite places to browse is the Vintage Roadside blog. Currently the blog writers (the owners of Vintage Roadside – an online gift shop and history site – are road tripping to the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference, which makes their trip from Portland, OR to Nashville, TN. No matter where they travel, they find the best roadside architecture particularly of neon signs, vintage motels, roadside attractions, and the like. Not only that, but they often can identify everything they see and share. Check out the blog for a good road trip or check out flickr for some great photographs.

US Route 11 in Abingdon

U.S. Highways, more aptly those referred to as US Route ___, often serve as windows to the roadside from a few decades ago. Many U.S. highways existed before the interstate system, and at that time, everything a traveler needed could be found next to the highway rather than at an exit. Highways rolled through towns and cities, not around them like interstates do. While towns have been bypassed and land adjacent to highways developed, certain US Routes still provide an excellent showcase of good old Roadside America architecture and businesses. US Route 11 is such an example, and when I visited Elyse in Abingdon, VA a few months ago, she took me on a driving tour of the roadside architecture highlights in the area. It was a rainy weekend, but that didn’t take away from the roadside entertainment. Here’s a photograph roadside tour with comments:

The Moonlite Drive-in Theater in Abingdon

The Moonlite Drive-in Theater in Abingdon

Moonlite marquee

Moonlite marquee

The theater is still in operation - I just visited out of season.

The theater is still in operation - I just visited out of season.

The Hi-Lo Burgers & Shakes, still operating. It is a drive up window.

The Hi-Lo Burgers & Shakes, still operating. It is a drive up window.

Hi-Lo is raising money in order to restore the neon sign.

Hi-Lo is raising money in order to restore the neon sign.

Further south, closer to Bristol, the Evergreen Motor Court, still open.

Further south, closer to Bristol, the Evergreen Motor Court, still open.

Across the street from the Evergreen, the Robert E Lee Motel is abandoned. There were some neat glass block windows visible.

Across the street from the Evergreen, the Robert E Lee Motel is abandoned. There were some neat glass block windows visible.

This is not historic, but I had to laugh. I'd never heard of Pal's. As it turns out, the restaurant chain dates to the 1950s and this particular building idea, 1985. Check out the Pal's timeline http://www.palsweb.com/timeline.htm

This is not historic, but I had to laugh. I'd never heard of Pal's. As it turns out, the restaurant chain dates to 1956 and this particular building idea, 1985. Check out the Pal's timeline http://www.palsweb.com/timeline.htm

Not on US 11, but near Bristol, TN is the world' largest guitar and museum. The museum was closed when Elyse and I stopped to visit. The guitar strings definitely needed to be tightened, but regardless it was fun to see!

Not on US 11, but near Bristol, TN is the world' s only guitar shaped museum. The museum was closed when Elyse and I stopped to visit. The guitar strings definitely needed to be tightened, but regardless it was fun to see!

For sunny Route 11 photographs, check out this group on Flickr.

Neon in Omaha

Did you know that Omaha, Nebraska has a large collection of still functioning neon signs throughout its older business districts?  Probably not, since most of us out here on the east coast don’t think of Omaha, Nebraska (unless you’re like me & dream of random places such as Omaha.)  I haven’t talked much about my experiences in Omaha, but today I want to share some of the neon signs that I photographed one night while on a specific neon tour.  Enjoy!  We began with dinner at the famed Bohemian Cafe, one that the Gary Stanton family recommended I visit while living in Omaha.  We traversed the city, snapping photos in almost perfect light.  I learned that many more neon signs existed in Omaha, but like many things, people grew tired of them. 

Bohemian Cafe in Omaha, NE

   
Piccolo's with the Dancing Neon Sign
 
 
 
  
 
 
Piccolo’s had a dancing neon sign. Robert’s Milk Company had a sparkling neon sign.  Clearly, that last one just wants attention.  A seat cover center with a neon sign? Hysterical.
 
In case you haven’t guessed, Wednesday, our middle of the week, has become travel day here at Preservation in Pink.  I’ll showcase random places and photographs – inlcuding yours if you send me some, even one! 

Roadside Architecture Lovers

For anyone who is a member for the Society for Commerical Archeology, you probably wish you were going to this conference: Preserving the Historic Road, 1998-2008.  I wish I were. I mean, I even love the conference postcard. New Mexico, Route 66, neon, sessions on how to preserve the roads and incorporate them into modern times.  What could be better?  Alas, I am not going. But, if anyone is, I would greatly appreciate a recap of the conference – photographs, notes, anything!  And if you are going, have a great time!

Just reading about this conference is enough to fuel my need (yes, need) for a southwestern road trip. Stay tuned!