As a photographer and writer I have spent nearly 30 years crisscrossing the continental United States in search of unique and typical examples of roadside and Main Street architecture and design. In traveling over 100,000 miles in a long series of marathon automobile trips, I have taken some 100,000 photographs of about 15,000 older buildings, signs, storefronts, and other commercial and civic structures. My 2003 Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship is allowing me to hit the road again in a series of four research trips in several regions of the USA to revisit many places I have not seen for decades. My objectives in these journeys are threefold: to see how places have changed; to record what remains of this individualistic “mom-and-pop” tradition in American commerce and how places I have previously photographed have evolved; and to make a record of the new omnipresent business chains which have homogenized the environment of America. This first report shows some of what I found in my first trip through the Southwest in over 3000 miles in 17 days. The Lone Ranger rides again.
Highway Diner, Route 66, Winslow, AZ, ca. 1940s
Jolly Cone Drive-In Sign, old Route 99, Bakersfield, CA, ca. 1950s
Sonic Drive-In, Central Ave., old Route 66, Albuquerque, NM, ca. 1990s
Wienerschnitzel, Las Cruces, NM, ca. 1990s
Pizza Hut, Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM, ca. 1990s
San Carlos Hotel, 1st and Main, Yuma, AZ., 1930
Cortez Motel Sign, Alameda Ave., El Paso, TX, ca. 1940s
Wigwam Village # 7, Foothill Blvd. (Route 66), Rialto, CA, 1953
Aztec Motel, Central Ave., Albuquerque, NM, ca. 1950s
Super 8 Motel Sign, I-8 Business Route, Gila Bend, AZ, ca. 1990s
Fox Theater Forecourt, 20th and C Streets, Bakersfield, CA, ca. 1920s
Balboa Theater, 4th and E Streets, San Diego, CA, ca. 1920s
Dream Catcher, Route 285, Española, NM, ca. 1990s
Pacific Gaslamp All Stadium 15 Theater,
5th Avenue and G. Street, San Diego, CA, ca. 1990s
Barber and Beauty Shops:
Shear Indulgence Beauty Salon, Winslow, AZ, ca. 1930s
Look Sharp Barber Shop Sign, Yuma, AZ, ca. 1990s.
©2003 John Margolies
John Margolies, a freelance photographer and writer, is photographing and researching America’s main streets and roadsides.