Saturday, March 07, 2015

Random USA

Let's hop in a "car of the Imagination" and take a short ride around the U.S.A! 

I think it's safe to assume that this "Thunderbird Trading Post" (circa 1961) was located in the American Southwest, but the slide was unlabeled, so I can only guess. A Google search revealed other Thunderbird Trading Posts that look nothing like this one.

The giant Kachina dolls are en eye-catching addition (I want one of those), and there are bright-yellow hitching posts in case you showed up on horseback. I wouldn't mind owning an authentic Indian rug; and as for jewelry, who couldn't use a little more turquoise and silver in their lives? My mind reels at the thought of what other treasures were inside this store; rubber snakes, toy bows and arrows, headdresses, decorated clay pots, snow globes… it was probably like King Tut's tomb, only better!

This next one was undated, and the only label was "Tulip parade". Which makes me think that this is from Holland, Michigan - home of the famous Tulip Festival (see my recent post about it HERE). Local beauties put those colorful flowers to shame as they wave to the gathered crowds. I love the detail of the many people gathered on top of that building in the distance.

And finally, here's a scan of slide (circa 1959) that was in a box of random photos. I didn't recognize the city, but after a little bit of research, discovered that this is a picture of Denver, Colorado. Over toward the left, way in the distance, you can see a slender old tower, known as the Daniels and Fisher Tower (built in 1910 as part of a department store). As for any other buildings in the photo… I have no idea! I wanted to try to find a similar, modern view of Denver, and had no luck (this one appears to have been taken from the top of a tall building). Like every other large city, Denver has grown and developed to the point where the Daniels and Fisher tower can be hard to see nowadays.

I hope you have enjoyed your tour of "Random USA"!


K. Martinez said...

Random, USA!?! My thoughts reside in the State of Random.

Thunderbird Trading Post? I don't see no Thunderbirds. The parking lot's empty.

There's nothin' like tip-toein' through the tulips? God bless us, everyone!

And finally there's a downtown view of Randomburg, USA. The town where life is a crapshoot.

Nice visit to Random, USA. Thanks, Major

Nanook said...


If I'm correct, it would 'appear' the Thunderbird Trading Post is the re-named (in 1956) Bowlin's Old Crater Trading Post, originally built in 1954. It appears to be located approx. 1.5 miles N. of the community of Bluewater, Cibola County, New Mexico, on Frontage Road - "Route 66". And is part of the National Register of Historic Places - which begs the question as to why I can't find it anywhere...

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, random is where it's at! The trading post went out of business because it only served customers who drove Thunderbirds. Bad idea, though I respect their devotion. Beautiful tulip girls are part of what makes America great. And Randomburg USA… well, it's not so random now that I know it is Denver!

Nanook, I will look up "Bowlin's Old Crater Trading Post" to check it out. It IS weird if it really is listed on the Nation Register of Historic Places and seems to be gone. Maybe it burned down?

Chuck said...

Nanook, I had the same bizarre experience trying to find it myself.

The coordinates are 35.283509, -107.985015, but I couldn't find the Google Maps street view directly in front of the site by clicking on the map or satellite photos. I can see it in the distance from the south here (, from the north here (, and the back from the interstate here (, but couldn't get to the pertinent imagery along Route 66.

I finally found an embedded Google Maps photo at thius website (, which then led me to this Google Maps street view ( Clunky way to get there, but it appears the building was still standing recently.

A building being placed on the National Register of Historic Places doesn't provide it protected status. It only identifies the structure as worthy of historic preservation and may open the owners up for tax incentives designed to encourage them to preserve the property.