Saturday, January 14, 2017

Roadside U.S.A.

For lack of a better idea, I decided to post two rather random photos which fit neatly under the broad umbrella of "Roadside U.S.A.". Hop in the old station wagon and let's go!

Let's start with this photo from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, circa September 1960, at the corner of US 191 (aka Broadway)  and Glenwood. Nowadays, Jackson Hole is pretty touristy, being a popular ski town in the winter, and on the way to Yellowstone National Park. If this really was taken in September, the town looks pretty sleepy. A few classic cars are parked outside "The Roundup"; I need the biggest cowboy hat they have in stock! That way everyone will know how important I am, being a world-famous blogger and all.


Here's a screen grab from Google Maps showing the same corner as it looks today. The Roundup is gone, sadly. 


Also from 1960 (November) is this photo of a tidy li'l motel - the "El Palomino". It looks pretty cute, you could probably do a lot worse. And they have TV, so you won't miss your favorite 1960 shows, like "Maverick", "Walt Disney Presents", "The Ed Sullivan Show", "Dobie Gillis", "Wagon Train"... so much to choose from.


I was unsure of the location of the El Palomino Motel, but after a bit of searching, I am relatively confident that it was (is) on Illinois Street in Sidney, Nebraska, which is roughly 120 miles northeast of Denver as the crow flies. The architectural details seem to match, in spite of the new paint job and sign. But where-oh-where are all the trees?




9 comments:

K. Martinez said...

Seeing what was there then and what is there now kind of sucks. 1950's and 60's roadside America was so cool. And yeah, what happened to the trees in the second set. Looks parched now. Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...

Major-

I'd love to spend a night at the Flame Motel (complete with two levels of glass brick), and then the next morning, go on a shopping spree at The Roundup. Just imagine the great 'duds' I could pick-up! And then drive them all back home in my choice of a fine mid-century American auto... Starting in front of the "finest western store" is a red [w/black top], 1953 Mercury. Or perhaps the 1958 two-toned Chevrolet station wagon. Or, if you really want 'get the looks' on the highway, you could motor on home in a black, 1958 Edsel - I believe the Ranger model - the lowest price in the line. Or, for the more conservative driver, grab that black, 1959 Ford, parked behind the woman crossing the street.

And [sadly] in spite of a dearth of surrounding trees, El Palomino Motel continues to soldier on - with its own set of glass bricks.

Great shots. Thanks, Major.

Patrick Devlin said...

Cool beans, Major!

Say there, Nanook, when you say, " my choice of a fine mid-century American auto", have you got a Slim-jim and a set of wire strippers in your luggage? Maybe I don't know what you mean by "your choice". And do you know the quickest way to the state line? Hee-hee.

I think you've pegged the location of the El Palomino perfectly, Major. My posts may tend to the esoteric at times, but that fire hydrant gives it away. If there's one thing municipal utilities don't like to relocate it's water mains! If my workers' comp claim doesn't work out and I'm out of work my subsequent ten year road trip may be visiting both of these fine locales...

Nanook said...

@Patrick-

Slim Jim-?? Who needs a Slim Jim for crying out loud-? It's 1960, and we're in Jackson Hole. Who the hell locked his car back then and there-? I'll merely open the door and 'hot wire' my vehicle of choice, and then "discreetly" motor-away...

Patrick Devlin said...

Hee! And the keys are either in the tray under the dash or pinned against the driver's side visor. Oh, you are a thinking man! Good for you...

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I don’t think there has ever been a “then and now” comparison in which the “now” looked better! And the trees, somebody decided they had to go. Nice going!

Nanook, how can I choose between all of those awesome cars! Even the much maligned Edsel - I love those, personally. Would love to have one. Is it just me, or does the idea of naming your Motel the “Flame Motel” (complete with large painted tongue of fire above the sign) seem like a bad idea? I would name mine “The Parasite”.

Patrick Devlin, I’m glad you like these… one never knows! I’ve watched so many movies and TV shows with big closeups of cars being hot wired… it would be easy! (?). As for wire strippers, I don’t need one, I just use my cool switchblade. And yes, there are enough details to make my ID of the El Palomino Motel in Sidney Nebraska basically 100% positive. Didn’t even notice the fire hydrant!

Nanook, sometimes you just have a slim jim in your bag because it’s cool. The ladies love bad boys!

Patrick Devlin, I still tape my keys to the outer windshield. But I'm no dummy! I have a very prominent "Do not steal!" sign right next to the keys.

Chuck said...

The lack of trees may not be the Once-ler's fault. That climate can be pretty rough on trees, and there's a reason there are so few that naturally grow in that area.

I went to high school in a town in western Oklahoma with a similar, slightly drier climate. When I went back for my 25-year reunion, I was shocked to see how many trees were gone, and big piles of dead trunks on the golf course waiting to be hauled off or burned. A friend told me that the combination of an ice storm a few years earlier and a severe drought the following year had been too much for many of the trees to handle. Something like that may have taken the trees in the 1960 photo of the Palomino.

DrGoat said...

Nanook, that's a Nomad station wagon exactly like the one I mentioned in our trips to Disneyland & beyond! Except the color. Ours was a turquoise or whatever they called that back then. That Edsel is a beauty, by the way. Yeah, love to hit that store with a pocket full of 1950 era twenty dollar bills. Lots of snap button western shirts and cowboy boots. Quite fashionable here in Tucson to this day.

Anonymous said...

I want to go to both of those spots, then. But being the age I am now.

Sigh.

Thanks everyone...

JG