Saturday, November 01, 2014

Around the USA

Since I don't have anything else ready, I'm going to share some random vintage photos from around the USA.

Let's start out in Chicago (circa October 1967)! Right in the middle of this photo you see the twin corncob towers of Marina City, a famous mixed-use residential/commercial complex (65 stories tall) that was completed in 1964. I could do a whole post just about those buildings. One interesting fact is that the $36 million dollar cost was largely financed by the union of building janitors and elevator operators. Amazing!

Also prominent in this picture is the Woods Theater, with its huge marquee (how much did that thing cost?!?) advertising Arthur Penn's "Bonnie and Clyde". I love the hyperbole: "THE NATION'S MOST RUTHLESS KILLERS"; "Beautiful Cigar-smoking Murderess". Also, the blood and gore is "Ablaze in Technicolor"! The Woods Theater was demolished in 1989.

Now we'll jump to June 1959 and to Cleveland Ohio. I am guessing that this photo was taken from Cleveland's "Terminal Tower", a 52-story structure completed in 1930. We're looking down toward the Cuyahoga River (famous for catching on fire several times), and the Detroit-Superior Bridge (officially known as the Veteran's Memorial Bridge). I think this is a fascinating look at one of the midwest's "Rust Belt" cities, with it's factories, railroads tracks, barges, bridges, brick buildings, and highways, along with the suburban communities (where the trees are), where the working people lived.

For a change of pace, let's go to Hawaii (circa 1963). The 10-story, 184 feet-tall structure is the "Aloha Tower", located in beautiful Honolulu harbor. Built in 1928 as a lighthouse, it is an example of "Hawaiian Gothic" architecture (which I had never heard of!). During World War II, the tower was painted with a camouflage pattern - I wonder if this happened with any other non-military structure? In recent years the tower and the area immediately surrounding it have fallen into disuse or disrepair, but various plans have been submitted to preserve this landmark. 

I hope you have enjoyed your trip around the USA!


Nanook said...


Great views of great cities.

"Ablaze in Technicolor". Yes indeed. That color process has been co-opted to sell more blood, sex and gore than even Herbert Kalmus would've ever imagined when he perfected the first successful, subtractive, 3-color film system - including the revered, 3-color dye transfer release printing system.

(Today's factoid: Flowers and Trees (1932), was the first commercial film to use the 3-color dye transfer system).

Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy dropping by Major's house for a quick slide show of his latest time travels! Oh good, you still have some Halloween candy left over from last night...

Bill in Denver

K. Martinez said...

What a shame about the Aloha Tower complex. I was there five years ago and it was doing fine. Even dined at a very nice restaurant with the family there. Guess a lot can happen in half a decade. Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

I'm surprised Nanook didn't alert on all of the Detroit-built goodness in the foreground of that third photo.

I see the harbor is open to both inbound and outbound traffic today. Sounds like a good day for a lazy swim at Fort Derussy Beach, or maybe I'll drive over to the Windward Shore and hike on up to Sacred Falls (I call dibs on the red '60 Caddy).

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

Well - ya' know how things go sometimes. I'm afraid I was swept-up in the whole Technicolor thing.

The red (maroon) Cadillac coupe convertible, is a 1963. And the black Cadillac behind it is (I'm thinking) a 1954. Could be a 1955 or 56, but. There's a 1957 white Thunderbird at the extreme left, with (what appears to be) a blue, 1956 Chevrolet parked along the curb behind it. And perhaps a darker blue, 1956 Chevrolet diagonally heading our way, just to our left of the gentleman walking cavalierly down the middle of the street.

Chuck said...

I knew that would get your gearhead head in, um, gear.

You're right - that is definitely a '63 Cadillac. I still call dibs. :-)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I am always astonished at the amazing range of saturated hues found in films like “The Wizard of Oz” and so many of the early SIlly Symphonies (like “Flowers and Trees” of course).

Bill in Denver, leftover candy, the bane of my existence! Time to donate it to somebody.

K. Martinez, it sounds like the decline happened quickly and recently. Wikipedia said, “As of 2013 the shopping center and Aloha Tower itself have fallen into a state of disrepair, most of the store fronts are now gone and the entire mall and tower is showing damage. Many of the ships that were once tourist attractions have ceased operating, the Falls of Clyde has been stripped of her masts and is now a derelict sitting in the harbor.”

Chuck, I agree, I was surprised too! I have no idea what any of those places are that you mentioned. I assume they are video game arcades.

Nanook, that red (or maroon) Cadillac is pretty sweet. I didn’t know that tailfins survived as far as 1963.

Chuck, I’m like Oprah, each one of you is receiving a car!