This site went up in 2002 - a small collection of post-war commercial structures, signs, and items of interest to those who define “modern” as the period between WW2 and the late 1960s. Like so many sites, it was a box checked off: okay, did that, move along, next?
Upon revisiting the site the other day, I realized a few things. It’s small. Tiny pictures. It’s outdated. The Stardust Lanes bowling alley changed names; the Thunderbird Motel changed hands and was stripped of its unique decor. Some signs are gone. I decided it needed updating, and once I'd found the original photos I used for the site, I rebuilt everything.
I'm surprised how much remains. Wind and rust and the slow roll of the globe around the sun will do them in eventually, but for now. we still have some remnants of a wonderful, imaginative, optimistic period of American architecture and commercial vernacular. Neon! Angles! Space-age motifs! But sometimes "modern" just means stripped-down fifties porcelain and a bathroom in period hues. It depends.
If you were there at the time, it'll be familiar. If you were a kid, it's almost like remembering Disneyland. If you've only seen it through pictures, feel free to pretend everything was grand, and we would have been better off continuing in this direction instead of wandering off into the ugly gimcrack Mansard-roof crap of the 70s.
It would have been better. But people tire of the Way Things Look, and they want something new. The loss of all this was inevitable.