Saturday, October 17, 2020

Around the USA

Back in the good old days, I used to buy lots of random boxes of slides. I had fun going through thousands and thousands of images featuring trips to the Grand Canyon, weddings, graduations, new cars, newborn babies, family get-togethers, and so on. 

This first image is from one of those boxes - it's from August (perhaps it was actually shot on the 4th of July) of 1975, and there's not exactly a parade, although people are sitting on the curb, clearly expecting some kind of spectacle.  And they got one! An antique steam tractor is chugging down the street leaving a cloud of smoke (maybe the tractor was wood-fired?). I did a brief Google search trying to ID the make and model of the tractor, but had no luck (the star device on the front of the boiler was my guide).

I wanted to know where this photo was shot, of course, and the only tangible clue is the sign for the "Ideal Motel" to our left.

More Googlin'! Well, there's was an Ideal Motel in Lodi, Ohio (at 212 Wooster Street). It's gone now, but here's a picture of a sign that was there - it could have easily been updated in the 40-some years since the tractor photo was taken.

Here's a modern-day street view from Google Maps; I'm still undecided about whether this is the same location as photo #1. We've got the smaller building with the peaked roof, set back from the street and next to a two-story building, very much like the first photo. And there's a telephone pole in the right place. The trees are much smaller in the screen grab, but trees come and go. What do you think?

This next photo was from a batch of slides generously given to me by our friend 1937Fan! We've seen many photos of her Great Aunt, most notably from a 1966 trip to Disneyland. This particular slide was my favorite of the bunch, showing the Aunt standing in front of an Indian trading post with a giant tee-pee out front. It's such an awesome photo, evoking family road trips "out west" along Route 66!

I was at a loss for where this photo was taken, but the partial text on the building should be some help. "CHI.... YELLOW..."... and obviously the words "Navajo" and "Indian" to the right.

Then I found this image of a vintage slide online, showing "Chief Yellowhorse" in Arizona. It has an identical rearing stallion above the sign, and sure looks as if it is related to 1937Fan's photo (I feel sorry for the bear...). This one is still in Lupton, Arizona - and what do you know, it is off of historic Route 66 (at 359 Interstate 40).

There's the Lupton location in a modern photo from Wikimedia! Things have changed, but even so, the lack of cliffs in 1937Fan's photo makes me think that there maybe have been more than one "Chief Yellowhorse" trading post. I had no luck finding a photo that looked like that original picture though.

I hope you have enjoyed today's photos around the USA!


Nanook said...

That first set of images is definitely a conundrum.

I'm such a sucker for rearing stallions, I'm all set to head out on Route 66 to find the Apache Bear. That blue, 8-foot panel truck appears to be a 1950 Ford. And that last image is a real beauty.

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

I’ve enjoyed hearing about your detectivating as much as the pictures. Who can resist a good mystery? Not me! Or Columbo.

I think my favorite thing in all the pictures is the BEAR sign. Yep, that’s a bear, all right! Truth in advertising strikes again! It was supposed to say BEER, but when the sign painter screwed up they had to scrap the plans for a roadside beer hall and build a bear pen instead. At least they didn’t lose that sponsorship money from Hamm’s. Happy trails, Aunt 1937!

Look at the two kids covering their ears; that steam tractor must have been pretty loud.

TokyoMagic! said...

I hope that bear was able to escape at some point, and go back home to his/her family.

Are those real animals on the lower level of cliffs, in that last pic?

Thank you 1937Fan, for sharing another one of your aunt's pics with us!

JC Shannon said...

Great scans today. That last one reminds me of Radiator Springs. We have bears in Montana, just not in cages. They have been known to root through your trash for old copies of Vogue. They like to see what the well dressed tourists are wearing. For doughnuts and beer, they will put it all back when they're done. Thanks to 37 and Major. "I don't always raid campsites, but when I do, I prefer campsites with beer."

stu29573 said...

Ok, I've gone back and forth on those motel pics...and I'm leaning toward "no...but could be." The doors and windows just dom't match.
I love (and cringe at) the signage for Chief Yellowhorse! "No scalp-um?" Oh, Lord, lol! Also, it seems that bear is an Apache. Better keep him locked up, or he'll jump on his horse and ride off, only to bring his whole bear-tribe back to attack! No scalp-um? Think again!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I feel so sorry for that poor bear, cooped up in a cage the size of a closet. Seems so mean. I wish I could go back and experience Route 66 at its peak, though!

Melissa, have you seen “Midsommar”? If you don’t like scary movies, avoid it. But your comment (“Yep, that’s a bear, all right”) reminded me of that movie. I am happy to learn about the history of that “BEAR/BEER” sign, you just never know!

TokyoMagic!, I know! I want to set it free. I didn’t even notice the critters on the cliff, I think they might be actual goats?? Hard to say of course. I should have made clear that 1937Fan actually gave me some physical slides, which was super nice. The others that we saw are from scans that she emailed to me.

Jonathan, you’re right, it really does feel like the Radiator Springs Racers cliffs. I’ve gone fishing in areas where there are plenty of black bears roaming around, and I always worried about surprising one (or it surprising ME). I need NO personal contact with bears.

stu29573, I’ve seen other slides where I know for sure that it’s the same building, but the exterior has been redone with different windows and sometimes even different cladding. Believe me, I am not 100 percent certain, but it’s the closest thing that I could find.

Chuck said...

I'm positive that the Major's sleuthifying is correct on the location of the first photo. If you go out to the current Google Street View of 213 Wooster St., Lodi, OH, you can see the skeleton of the motel sign in the second image, and if you roll it back to 2008, you can see the badly-weathered sign. The doors and windows may have been altered, but the rooflines and spatial relationships between the buildings behind the motel sign in the first photo are identical to the corresponding views in the Google Street View, and if you "walk" down the street a bit on Google, you can see the red house on the right in the second photo at 225 Wooster (although the colors are reversed - it's now grey with scarlet trim rather than the other way around).

Thanks 1937aunt!

Melissa said...

A friend of mine once went to her weekend cabin in the woods to find a black bear in the kitchen, finishing off the cookies her son-in-law had forgotten to bring home with him the previous week.

DrGoat said...

Well stu, leave it up to old timey Arizonians to come up with "No Scalp-um". Good lord. A little research came up with Frank Yellowhorse, Navajo Nation craftsman, died this year at age 87. I can't believe he thought that slogan was appropriate. I guess you have to cater to that element if you want to sell stuff. He evidently was co-founder of the trading post and it's still there selling Navajo jewelry etc.
I've made several road trips up that way including Peach Springs, which is a neat place off 66.
JC, the first thing I thought of was Radiator Springs too, with that great backdrop of geologic awesomeness.
Nice pics Major. Arizona is really a beautiful state. Just stay away from Phoenix and you'll find beautiful territory. Just like the Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland! Thanks.

Kathy! said...

Those poor people sitting on the curb in the first photo. The tractor looks fun to see, but all that smoke right in front of you. The photo of 1937Fan's aunt reminds me of the Wigwam Motel on nearby Route 66.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I agree, that poor bear...he needs to have a river to play in, trees to scratch against and berry bushes to munch on. Not a stupid cage, out in the heat.

Really love all the detective work on that first shot. Another fun adventure!

DrGoat, I agree that Arizona is a beautiful state! You have everything - beautiful scenery (especially in Sedona), deserts, forests, mountains, Grand Canyon, creeks (love the Oak Creek area outside of Sedona), sunshine and snow, and so much more - something for everyone.

That last shot is my favorite, today. People's ramshackle puny buildings butted up against God's glorious creation - what a contrast! And the critters add some humor to the picture.

Really fun traveling, today - thanks to Major and 1937Fan, and everyone's comments!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, thanks for helping to verify the location of the Ideal Motel! I spent way too much time trying to find that place, it was a tough nut to crack. Of course some of you Junior Gorillas have mysterious and spooky abilities to find things out that escape my tiny mind, it is impressive. It sounds like you had some good ideas that didn’t occur to me, like “walking” down the street to where that red and gray (now gray and red) house is! Why didn’t I think of that??

Melissa, those darn bears, they are smart when it comes to getting food. I hope the cookies were “Chips Ahoy”!

DrGoat, yeah, that “No Scalp-Um” is pretty cringey, but I’m sure somebody thought it was a hoot. It kind of reminds me of the humor of Wally Boag, or folks of that era. Nice work finding out about Frank Yellowhorse! Once again, it never even occurred to me that there was a real person with the name “Yellowhorse”. “Peach Springs”, what a great name. I wonder if it’s as pretty as it sounds? I’ve never been to Arizona at all, though it’s not for a lack of interest. Someday?!

Kathy!, ha ha, I do kind of wonder if those people were covered in sooty ash as that tractor passed by! Maybe it was all worth it, for the excitement. I’ve seen many pictures of the Wigwam Motel, what a crazy but wonderful place.

Lou and Sue, don’t you think that bear needs some pic-a-nic baskets too? Sometimes the detective work is 75% of the fun for me, though it can also be very frustrating if I have no success - as you can imagine. I love me a beautiful desert, so I know that Arizona would appeal to me. And yes, it seems almost criminal to have those tacky souvenir shacks right up against that beautiful rock formation. But… the Indians have to make a living.

Anonymous said...

Looks like your steam tractor was made by A.D. Baker of Swanton, Ohio.

You can see another here:

According to the Internets, it's about a 2-hour drive from Lodi (south of Cleveland; pop 3061 as of 2010) to Swanton (west of Toledo; pop 3690 as of 2010).

Chuck said...

Thanks for that info, Anonymous! Never heard of A.D. Baker until today, but it turns out my great uncle's turkey farm was just up the road from the Baker machine shop.

Found some video of a Baker in operation: It appears they were coal-fired.

There appear to be quite a few surviving Bakers in operating condition. Here's a bevy of Bakers at the 2017 National Threshers Association's annual reunion/convention at the Fulton County Fairgrounds in Wauseon, Ohio, about 20 minutes west of Swanton. If you ever get an opportunity to visit this event, it's well worth your time.

JG said...

Wow, this is a fascinating thread of research on these photos. The collective research power of GDB must not be under-estimated.

I was stumped by the tractor pics because I read "Lodi, CALIF" instead of Lodi, OHIO. No wonder it didn't look right to me, nothing in Lodi CA looks that photo, especially the trees.

I'm glad that mystery was solved, and thanks for the research on the tractor. Fascinating stuff. I'm still intrigued by the advertising promoting "air conditioning", taken for granted now-a-days, but a big deal back then. I wonder if our descendants will feel like this about "Free Wi-Fi"?

The TeePee seems really familiar, as you mention, a family vacation staple. It's sad that people would exploit the poor bear like that, but times were different, as the slogans bear witness.

Dad subscribed to Arizona Highways magazine for a few years. He loved the desert country, he lived in SE Colorado on the Las Animas river for a time, and that landscape was his favorite.

Thanks Major, and 1937fan Aunt, and the GDB Research Dept. for so much fun.


Melissa said...

I was stumped by the tractor pics because I read "Lodi, CALIF" instead of Lodi, OHIO. No wonder it didn't look right to me, nothing in Lodi CA looks that photo, especially the trees.

It could probably pass for Lodi, NY, though.