Saturday, August 13, 2016

U.S.A. "Then and Now"

Today's "Anything Goes Saturday" post is an example of one of my favorite things - looking at a vintage view of a scene, and then trying to find a more contemporary view in order to compare and contrast.

Let's start with this neat slide from Colorado Springs, with the magnificent Antlers Hotel. This was the second hotel... the first one burned down in 1898. The owner rebuilt it in 1901 in a style described as "Italian Renaissance"; it had 200 rooms, a restaurant, a ballroom, fireproof walls, tapestries, and mosaic floors. It also offered a nice view of nearby Pikes Peak. Several U.S. Presidents stayed there, including Theodore Roosevelt.

This second version of the Antlers Hotel was torn down in 1964, presumably because it was not profitable, and possibly because it was seen as hopelessly outdated - a fate many older buildings suffered in the 1960's. 

I love this first photo (circa 1963), in large part due to the picturesque shops and theaters along Pikes Peak Avenue. The cinema to our right is showing The Nutty Professor (in color!). "Stella Stevens - his favorite student!". She would have been my favorite student too. In the distance another theater is showing "PT-109" starring Cliff Robertson. 

A new 14 story structure was built, and it opened in 1967. Whoa, what happened to all of the charm? It's certainly more clean and modern; the word "sterile" comes to mind.

Next is this 1962 photo of a colorful building in Winnemucca, Nevada. It's the "Star Broiler" on West Winnemucca Boulevard! Note the variety of colorful wooden Indian figures out front - the mark of a quality restaurant if ever there was one. It was also a casino, in case you were tired of hauling around all of that money. 

I found a few photos of vintage postcards that I thought I would share; here's the first one, looking very much like my photo. I love the fiberglass steers on top of the building!

At some later date, the multicolored stripes were changed to shades of pink. Eventually the entire building was covered in vertical neon stripes, which was quite impressive.

Nowadays it is the Winners Casino. Howdy Partners!


Nanook said...

Howdy Partner-!

Cars - cars - cars-! At the far, far left we see a 1956 red/white Buick. and to its right, there's a 1957 red/white Chevrolet. Then, driving towards us we see a 1955 red/white [again-?] Chrysler. Then, angle parked on our right are two, yellow or orange taxi's, which happen to be 1962, '63 or '64 Chevy II's. Moving up the street is a 1954-? black Cadillac limousine - merely a guess here, based on the small rear window combined with those taillights. To its left we have two, 1961 Chevrolets - the maroon model is an Impala, and the turquoise one appears to be a Bel Air or Biscayne. I'm afraid the image is a bit too 'blurry' for any more positive ID-ing.

The dark green station wagon parked in front of the Star Broiler is a 1960 Rambler - with luggage rack. (I think I've been inspired to start painting the walls of my house with stripes-!) And seen in the postcard view barely peeking-in from the left is a 1957 red, Ford truck. Parked under the Open Lets Eat sign is a 1957 or '58 light brown Plymouth. Parked behind it are two, 1962 Chevrolets. And based on the side trim, I'm gonna guess a Bel Air (or Biscayne) in front, and the black one is an Impala. But parked behind it is a white, convertible 1958-1962 Corvette-!

In the wonderful world of 'pank', there's a 1964 or '65 light blue Cadillac. And parked in front of it is probably another Cadillac, but a bit older. And in front of it is a tan, I'm gonna say 1965 Buick.

And then at the Winners Inn, there's a maroon, maybe a 1963 or '64 Cadillac. The light blue car could be a Dodge or Plymouth - but I'm not feeling it. Around the corner, looks to be a yellow, 1969 Ford Truck. And behind it a 1970 dark yellow Chevrolet-?

Thanks, Major, for this visit to a more bucolic time.

stu29573 said...

I'm sure that the city planners from Colorado Springs are now in a special place in Hell... Sad, really.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I had no idea that I was setting you up to identify SO many cars. It’s like I gave you homework to do during a holiday. Personally I covet the red and white Chevy and/or Chrysler. As for the dark yellow Chevrolet in front of the Winners Inn - why would anybody paint a car yellow, unless it’s a badass supercar of some kind?

stu29573, they would probably argue that their city is clean and modern, but that particular area sure lacks any soul!

Nanook said...

Oh, Major-

You've just got to think as a 'designer' would: Majestic Yellow or Buttercup Yellow or Tuscan Sun Yellow or Butterscotch Yellow or Lemon Yellow or even Badass Yellow - you get the idea. Suddenly that color magically seems acceptable - well, to some, at least.

And speaking of Colorado Springs, I failed to mention the 'banner' announcing the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb on July 4th. And the two movie theatres: The Chief, and the one featuring Jerry Lewis "... with Stella Stevens his Famous Student" - the Ute. And just out of view on the far left would be the Peak Theatre. HERE'S another view of the street showing all three theatres.

Melissa said...

I love these slice-of-life pictures! They and family snapshots are what can really pull you back in time.

Dig the giant glasses on the Douglas Optical sign, and the Aztec-style billboard on what I assume is the “State” theater. Can't help but wonder what the interior decor of the “Chief” theater was like!

Since the house generally tends to win, I guess every casino is Winners’ Casino.

Melissa said...

Well, I have yet to find one article that ties it all together, but apparently the Chief theater was built as the , theater in 1911. It operated until 1972 when the building was condemned and torn down. The theater across the street is not the State as I had assumed, but rather the Ute. (As a crossword puzzle fan, I should have guessed that earlier.)

Nanook said...

I don't know why I described Stella Stevens as the Nutty Professor's "famous" student, rather than 'favorite'. (We all know what the good professor was thinking).

@ Melissa- I think you forgot to add the original name of the Chief Theatre - which was the Burns Theatre, opening in December, 1911.

And who knew the Peak Theatre was still a going concern. Just look HERE...

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, I was trying to read that "July 4th Auto" sign/banner last night, but couldn't figure out the rest of the words on it. Thanks. Maybe I need to go over to Douglas Optical, eh Melissa? I do want to get some specialty woolens at the store next to the Ute Theater and then take an Arrow Hotel "Tour." Now are those tours of the actual hotel, or tours of the city that are offered by the hotel? I'm game either way. The area "today" looks absolutely dreadful. I agree with Stu's comment above!

Patrick Devlin said...

Major, you forgot to mention that the building at the end of the Avenue is the Antlers Hilton! I'll bet it's just as charming and wonderful and ... and. Well maybe there's less smell of cigars from the back room deals. I dunno.

Patrick Devlin said...

Whoops. Formerly the Antlers Hilton...

Melissa said...

As long as it isn't Anton Hitler's.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I am speaking from experience, having lived through the 70’s, when there were lots of ugly yellow Datsuns and other such cars. It was a color that did not age well, no matter what fancy name it was given! I do mention the Stella Stevens line in my text.

Melissa, I’ve always wanted one of those great pieces of signage - a giant cigar, or pair of glasses, or a gargantuan stop watch… so awesome. Unfortunately, that theater was called the “Prostate”. No wonder it did poor business.

Melissa, I’ll bet the Chief was a magnificent theater, that’s just how they did things back then. So sad that it was torn down. PS, Nanook already spilled the beans on the “Ute”!

Nanook, now you’re just showing off! Believe it or not, I actually do research (to some degree!) for these things, though I have to decide how much info is enough, if you know what I mean.

TokyoMagic!, go to Douglas Optical and demand a monocle. All the best villains used to wear them. (Does ANYBODY wear monocles any more?). I can’t imagine that the tour in question was a tour of the actual hotel, but I could be wrong.

Patrick Devlin, I guess I wasn’t specific enough to say that the old “Antlers” was replaced with a new (ugly) “Antlers” as opposed to a hotel by some other name. I didn't forget the Hilton detail, I omitted it!

Melissa, if there WAS a hotel with the Hitler name on it, would it last more than a few days before protests shut it down??

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, the only person that I can think of that still walks around in public today wearing a monocle is Mr. Peanut. And he is just about as evil as you can get.

I went on a tour of the Green Hotel in Pasadena back in the nineties and I know the Los Angeles Conservancy gives tours of the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown, but I agree with you. In the 1960's, it was VERY unlikely that the "Hotel Tours" were tours of the actual hotel.

walterworld said...

If you back up a bit on your 'now' photo of E Pikes Peak Ave you'd get to see a large brick building that still remains from the original photo! Looks like an old hotel...

Here's the view:,-104.8228161,3a,75y,273.38h,83.14t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sRPQj6NWAEGdKqYnovJZWzw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1?hl=en

Thanks Major! You remain the only blog that I have time to follow...even if I'm late by a few days to comment!

Please keep going FOREVER :D

CW (Walterworld)

walterworld said...

P.S. The Winners Casino and Star Broiler remain!,-117.7367455,3a,75y,101.99h,94.22t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPgnOMRiSNW_OQJXLCcxshg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1?hl=en