Saturday, September 03, 2022

Roadside USA

I have some nice scans of some roadside attractions - all of the best attractions are on the side of a road! 

Let's start with this shot of the Big Rock Candy Mountain motel and trading post, from September of 1969. I didn't know what the Big Rock Candy Mountain was exactly...

... but a little Googlin' showed that it's a tourist destination in Sevier, Utah (according to Google Maps). Its looks like the structure seen above is still standing:

Who doesn't love vintage postcards?

Here's the back, so you can git some learnin'.

Another vintage postcard:

Next is this photo of a genuine Conestoga wagon (with genuine truck tires), with a genuine old coot who can fill you with frontier wisdom (of course he sounds just like Gabby Hayes), and you can take his picture, all for a few bucks. Such a bargain! There is no writing on the slide, but there's a sign in the photo that says "Papago Park", which is in Tempe, Arizona. I thought that this fellow might have been parked along Route 66, but that ran far north of Tempe. Live and learn.

From a completely different batch of vintage photos comes this second view of what I believe is the same old coot and his covered wagon. It might be a different fellow, I concede. Does Tempe have miles and miles of empty desert as in this photo? Maybe it did in the 1950s. Or maybe the old coot moved from place to place.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Just stoppin' by for a few minutes, but I'll be back later. Can't wait for all the comments to flow in on these.

I LOVE the rooster and dog, sitting ON the horses.

And that one postcard's description on the back - made me chuckle. It sounds like it was written by someone who's primary language is not English. Good try, though.

Thanks, Major. I shall return...


I dunno ….. I don’t think that mountain looks like any kinda candy I’ve seen - and I’m GERMAN-FRENCH ancestry … and my people INVEVTED candy!

“Let me in I’m STARVING!! … cried Augustus Kloop.”

Now major : you know this already , but a CONESTOGA wagon must have a curved bottom that has its highest points at both ends and it’s lowest body point in the center. Since this home made concoction has a flat bottom body, it might be considered a PRARIE SCHOONER …. But is more likely a COVERED WAGON. In truth there is nothing historical about it unless the junkyard it was cobbled from was a historic junkyard.

I think those Mules may be ill.

As a kid I would have been hooked at the site of this roadside “attraction” and I would have desperately BEGGED my parents to PLEASE - PLEASE!! Pullover!!


Sue; …. I had to go back and look over each image to find the dog and chickens on the mules backs!! Lol!!!!! I didn’t notice them the first time!

If that had been a dog on a mules back it would have bit ME!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Mike, silly me, I called them horses. I guess I was staring at the dog and rooster and not looking closely at exactly what mode of transportation they were actually standing on. BTW, your comments already got me laughing...I KNEW this was going to be a fun-comment day, and it's only just begun. And, Mike, may I ask, what kind of candy did your ancestors invent?

Nanook said...

"At its base are the Lemonade Springs". Finally the secret is out... the 'headwaters' for Country Time Lemonade-!! Quick, someone plug it up, pronto-!!

In the 3rd image, we have a 1953 Chevrolet, probably in "Horizon Blue" & white; then a 1953 Plymouth Savoy wagon - perhaps in "Sonora Bronze"; and finally [probably] a 1950 Plymouth.

So the advice from the 'old coot' is to See America fast-?? Huh. (Does he know something the rest of us don't-?) And with a team of mules... I'm a bit uncertain - although he did appear to "beef-up" his 'team' as seen in the last shot. AND... speeding by the 'old coot' (taking his advice of 'seeing America FAST') is a 1953 Pontiac, [perhaps] in "Mayfair Blue".

Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

Nanook, did you also notice the writing inside the wagon? “We’re going where the wild goose goes(?)”. Lol


JB said...

I vaguely remember hearing Burl Ives singing Big Rock Candy Mountain when I was a kid. I don't know any of the lyrics, other than the title, so I don't really know what the song is about. I thought it was about some fantasy place, like in the game "Candy Land", not an actual place in Utah. The Mountain doesn't look particularly colorful and unusual to me. Nice, but nothing special.

Does that (genuine) Conestoga wagon just stay in that one position all day, every day? Wouldn't those (genuine) mules get really bored standin' there?

I'm not convinced that that's the same Old Coot in both photos. In the first wagon photo, Mr. Coot has a fuller beard and what appears to be a rounder face. Also, his clothing is different in both photos. Genuine Old Coots never change their clothing! And the (genuine) mules are different colors in both photos; mostly brown ones in #1, mostly white-ish ones in #2.
I wish we knew more about this Old Coot, his (genuine) mules and his (genuine) Conestoga wagon. Looks like he must've travelled around, maybe giving rides to (genuine) tourists. Otherwise, what would be the point? Maybe the wagon is his home. So many unknowns!

Sue, Ha! Like Mike, I totally missed the rooster and dog! Now I wanna know the answers to two more questions. Horses? I don't see no stinkin' horses!
The postcard sounded OK to me... except the "joyful success" part.
Ah, I see you've cured yourself of your "mule blindness" and corrected yourself.

Sue again, I did not notice the writing inside the wagon. I think it's lyrics from an old 1950s song.

Thanks for the fun fotos, Major. Roadside attractions are great.

Nanook said...

@ Sue-
Maybe it's "... where the wild goose 'lays an egg' "-!!

TokyoMagic! said...

I think the sign reads, "We're going where the wild goose ganders." ;-)

Nothing against Gabby Hayes, but I'd rather have my picture taken with Robert Hays.

Nice "Roadside U.S.A." pics, Major!

Grant said...

(YaY, I'm here early enough to comment. These days all the Jr. Gorillas are in bed sound asleep by the time I log on to GDB.)

Cool pix of a cool named attraction.

Yes, the name "Big Rock Candy Mountain" is from a 'Hobo' song written by Harry McClintock in the 1920s.

There have been many variations but this in the most famous one. BTW it was used for the opening credits in the film 'O Brother Where Art Thou'.

The lyrics:

One evening as the sun went down
And the jungle fire was burning,
Down the track came a hobo hiking,
And he said, "Boys, I'm not turning
I'm headed for a land that's far away
Besides the crystal fountains
So come with me, we'll go and see
The Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There's a land that's fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night
Where the boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
On the birds and the bees
And the cigarette trees
The lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
All the cops have wooden legs
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs
The farmers' trees are full of fruit
And the barns are full of hay
Oh I'm bound to go
Where there ain't no snow
Where the rain don't fall
The wind don't blow
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
You never change your socks
And the little streams of alcohol
Come trickling down the rocks
The brakemen have to tip their hats
And the railroad bulls are blind
There's a lake of stew
And of whiskey, too
You can paddle all around 'em
In a big canoe
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
The jails are made of tin
And you can walk right out again,
As soon as you are in
There ain't no short-handled shovels,
No axes, saws or picks,
I'ma goin' to stay
Where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the Turk
That invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

I'll see you all this coming Fall
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

JG said...

Great postcards! We stopped at the Big Rock Candy Mountain on a cross-country road trip, probably right around this time. In my memory it looked just like this. As I recall we had lunch, walked around, maybe fueled up. There didn’t seem to be a lot to do otherwise. We we driving north through Utah on the way to the Great Salt Lake and eventually Yellowstone.

The Mountain was Rock, but definitely not Candy. It was a sort of hard yellow mineral, very odd and unlike anything I’ve seen before or since. I almost thought it was artificial like the Matterhorn, but it was too big not to be real.

Grant, thanks for the lyrics, I’m all for the Lake of Whiskey, eh?

Regarding the other pics, it is my settled ambition to become a “genuine Old Coot”. I think my life has been leading up to that.

Thank you Major, for a brilliant burst of memories, long since forgotten.


Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I don’t know if these photos will generate that many comments, but we shall see! Ha ha, I didn’t even notice the rooster and the dog… the dog looks quite comfy up there. The blurbs on the backs of postcards are an artform, I once made a fake Disneyland postcard for Mr. X, and it took me a while to get into the mind-space to write the perfect run-on sentence.

Mike Cozart, Germans and/or French invented candy? Also, with the truck wheels (that I pointed out) I don’t think that the wagon is a genuine ANYTHING, but I take your point. Why do you think the mules are ill? I wonder how much that fellow wanted to have his photo taken. A dollar? Two?

Mike Cozart, that’s how the pioneers crossed the prairies, with dogs and chickens riding on the backs of mules. HISTORY!!

Lou and SUE, everyone knows that mules are a form of big cat. I’m going to say that Mike’s ancestors invented the candy Valentine’s hearts with the sayings on them.

Nanook, you know, when I was in Canada, we stayed at a cabin where the water from the tap came directly out of the nearby lake. It was greenish. We were very happy to have a tub of powdered Country Time to mask the natural flavor! Oooh, “Sonora Bronze”, that’s a good one. I love that the old coot apparently managed to make some kind of living just being a photo op for tourists on their way “out west”. Maybe he eventually bought a home in Beverly Hills.

Sue, all the best writing is inside of covered wagons. The old coot’s wife is in the darkness, she is thinking about that plumber she rejected after high school.

JB, the song about the Big Rock Candy Mountain has an interesting history, you can read about it on Wikipedia. It was not always a cute kid’s song. In fact it was kind of intense and weird. Something tells me that the place in Utah was named after the song, not vice-versa. How many old coots were out there with fake covered wagons? Maybe a bunch. Both wagons have truck tires. The second old coot has a wife, so he might have been forced to bathe and change his clothing once a month. Beards come and go, of course. Who knows.

Nanook, at least the goose does leave behind a poop, unlike the ones who visit our local park.

TokyoMagic!, I want my picture taken with Gibby Haynes! Hooray, I win, this marks the first Butthole Surfers reference.

Grant, see my comment to JB! I read a whole thing about the “Big Rock Candy Mountain” song. My favorite lyric is the part about the lakes of stew and whiskey. where “you can paddle all around ‘em in a big canoe”.

JG, you didn’t ride the Star Wars-themed ride at the Big Rock Candy Mountain?? You must have missed it. Other than that, you’re right, it doesn’t look like there is a whole lot to do there. Gas, food, lodging, and maybe a few souvenirs, if that’s all you need, you will be glad you stopped. Maybe those yellow streaks are called “coconino”!

Dean Finder said...

Big Rock Candy Mountain just makes me think of the opening of O Brother Where art Thou, which uses the song in its original hobo context.

Nanook said...

I wonder if that's a ticket book from Disneyland poking-out from Old Coot #2's shirt pocket-?

Major Pepperidge said...

Dean Finder, I've seen that movie so many times! Love it. Not sure if its my favorite Coen Brothers film, but it's up there.

Nanook, it IS, and I think I see Walt's autograph on it too!

Anonymous said...

“Never mind about Rock Candy Mountain itself Carole, just get lots of gravel in the shot, and everyone’s shoes. I’ll hold your ice cream for you”

Anonymous said...

Not just mangled English but typos…set in ink forever.

JG said...

Major, I’ve been thinking about our visit this AM, I recall we bought a postcard here, it had a little bag about the size of a postage stamp sewed to the card, purporting to be filled with rocks from the Bid Rock Candy Mountain, but I never opened it to confirm.

A few days later we bought a similar card whose bag claimed to be filled with salt from the Great Salt Lake. These mineral-sample cards seemed to be a Utah thing since I never saw them anywhere else again.

I am sure these were lost or disposed of long ago. I wish had them to share.


JB said...

Nanook & Major, if Mr. Coot has a vintage Walt Disney autograph (well, I guess ALL Walt Disney autographs are vintage, they would be before December 15, 1966 anyway), especially an early example: Then what the heck is he doing baking in the Arizona desert?!? He could sell that autograph and move to Bever-leee... Hills, that is. Swimming pools, movie stars.

JG, I bet that Big Rock Candy Mountain pouch contained rock candy (sugar crystals).


Well I didn’t mean specifically MY relatives invested candy … Etruscan’s had forms of “candy” but the confectionery/candy we know of today … chocolates - milk chocolates-Carmel’s , nougats ,creams , jellies etc …things with refined sugar etc .. we’re developed by Western Europeans starting in the 1600’s and became a art form by the Early 1800’s . Swiss /Germans/French/Austrians/Prussians -and depending of what wars are going on and what boundaries are drawn those are all the same people. Chocolate was almost unheard of in the United States until the 1850’s when the PARKER HOUSE restaurant in Boston took a Swiss/German chocolate recipe and topped the popular Victoria Sponge cake creating THE BOSTON CREAM PIE. Americans went APESHIT over it!

The Parker House also created PARKER HOUSE rolls .

Did the chickens and dog jump up there themselves ?? Or were they placed up there . Did the mules like that??

JB said...

The mules put the dog and chickens up there themselves, to keep the sun off their backs.

Anonymous said...

60 SPF sun-block chickens


Grant: So is the song BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN named after the mountain on these postcards or is the tourist site named after the mountain in the song? Or are there “Big Rock Candy Mountains” all over the highways of the United States and Canada?

The tune BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN can be heard by the Big Thunder Ridge /Rainbow Ridge Dance Hall orchestra , and the saloon piano . Also in the boarding station of Big Thunder Mt. Railroad at Disneyland. I guess it’s historically inaccurate to be hearing it since it’s an abandoned mining town in the late 1870’s/1880’s. ……. “Anything can happen at Disneyland!!”


Anonymous: 60 SPF SUN-BLOCK CHICKENS!!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!

DrGoat said...

Came for the comments. Lively and fun as usual.
I think O Brother might be my favorite Coen Brothers movie. Would go good with a Boston Cream Pie I'll bet.
Got nothing else but this.
Have a great long weekend, thanks Major.

Anonymous said...

Mike, that anonymous was me. I forgot to sign-off from my cell. :oD

DrGoat, that picture is hilarious!!!!
Thank you for sharing it!


JB said...

DrGoat, Ha! The Bremen Town Musicians. That photo can't possibly be 'real'... can it?

Bu said...

If it said "candy" I wanted to go. I don't know what this mountain has to do with candy, nor does it look like candy...and it probably doesn't taste like candy, but the jury is out. I do enjoy rock candy very much and grew up with a Scottish cousin candy called "Edinburgh Rock"...which also did a number on your teeth. I'm ordering it from Amazon right after I post this, along with the traditional shiny clear rock candy, and the rock candy that actually looked like river stones. All yummy things in square cube boxes available all over Disneyland. I think it was the "plush" of 1975. Some had little ceramic characters on them, but it would compel me to save the box and it would look weird not filled with candy. I was never fancy enough to have these coveted rock candy boxes. Of course, and I have mentioned this before, the most coveted rock candy square plastic cube box was the Seven Dwarf Jewels. With multi colored rock candy jewels straight out of the candy store in the castle. They do have a margarine version of these candies on Amazon....but they look like little crumbles, not faceted jewels. The song Big Rock Candy Mountain, I listened to when I was little. The record album had a candy mountain on it, but I didn't understand the not changing of socks and the steam making smelly alcohol trickling down the rocks...and something about a hen laying soft boiled eggs. Someone got into the pharmaceuticals writing this song I think. Now I need to order candy.

Anonymous said...

Thanx BU, I wasn’t going to describe all that myself, but YEAH. Those multi-colored gems in a clear cube, purchased in the castle shoppe breezeway were my Disneyland must have! The ceramics on top became their own thang, but it was all about those gems. Turns out they are quite fancy! Eventually made my own rock candy, and it was slow going, one color at a time. That box full of shaped and colored “Gems” was not cheap to make….no wonder they went away.

JG said...

Mike, I think the roadside stop was named after the song.


Major Pepperidge said...

Anonymous, it really is strange how some photos are like that… sometimes they are “all ground”, other times “all sky”. Maybe the viewfinder of their camera gave them an erroneous composition?

Anonymous, it’s the typos that make it great.

JG, oh fun, your postcard sounds neat! And you mentioned your card from the Great Salt Lake, I have one that sounds very similar! I also have a postcard from Meteor Crater in Arizona, it has a tiny piece of nickel-iron meteorite glued to it, which is pretty cool.

JB, remember, Walt’s autograph didn’t become valuable until years later! I remember once offering a guy a big price (I thought) for a postcard signed by Walt (this was probably 20 years ago) and he laughed at me. How rude! You might be right about the sugar crystals.

Mike Cozarts, yes, yes, chocolate, caramel, nougats, all those are great, but Pop Rocks are the greatest candy ever! Plus if you eat 50 packs of them your stomach will explode. Or so I hear. I forget what these hard candies were that had stuff that would fizz in your mouth, but I remember lemon flavored examples, and when they got to a certain point, the candy shell was so sharp that it was like a razor blade, it could cut your tongue. Awesome! Mmmm, now I want Boston cream pie. I think the dog and chickens actually ran the show.

JB, you know, sunscreen can be so unpleasant, maybe I need to put a dog or a chicken on my head.

Anonymous, I hope they are paraben-free.

Mike Cozart, I would guess that the song preceded the tourist attraction, if I had to bet money. And I would not be surprised if there are other “Big Rock Candy” mountains. Thanks for pointing out the instances of the song at Disneyland!

Mike Cozart, we will never know who Anonymous is. Ever. In a million years.

DrGoat, hey, “O Brother” is great. But I do love “The Big Lebowski”, “Miller’s Crossing”, “True Grit”, “No Country For Old Men”, and many others. Those guys made some wonderful movies. Ha ha, love that photo on your Tumblr (I didn’t know you had a Tumblr blog!).

Sue, see my comment to Mike.

JB, if it’s a photograph, it has to be real!

Bu, some enterprising huckster figured out a way to get people to visit a place that would ordinarily be ignored. I salute him/her. “Edinburgh Rock”, now with real granite! I never cared for rock candy, we used to buy it at places like Gettysburg, and I would give it a few licks and be done with it. I preferred maple candy. Most candy from Disneyland didn’t tempt me - I mean, I sort of wanted one of those big lollipops, but know that I would grow weary of it long before it was eroded to nothing. Remember those lollipops that were shaped like a pointed cone? You could probably use one as a weapon and then melt the evidence. I like the Burl Ives version of Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Anonymous (Sue?) they also sold colored sugar crystals in the old Market House, I think the label had Tinker Bell on it. They come up on eBay sometimes, for more money than I would ever pay for such a thing, even though I kind of like them. I wonder if those ceramics you are talking about were made by Hagen Renaker? Some of those can be quite valuable!

JG, I concur.

Anonymous said...

Major, that last anonymous is not me. Maybe someone imitating me??

And, Major, that candy was called Zotz.

Anonymous said...

Darn cell phone. That very last comment was me, Sue.

Anonymous said...

Just lazy about unblocking google tracking….but gotta add 2 cents sometimes.


"Lou and Sue" said...

This time, I'm commenting from my laptop. It automatically puts the "Lou and Sue" on my comments. Stupid cell phone.

Major, I purchased a number of those Hagen Renaker figures from Disneyland's Emporium, as a kid, and then gave them away or something. A couple years ago, I found some of the same ones on eBay and had to have them, so I bought them. They make me smile, every time I look at them, thinking of those early years in DL.

I just looked online and see that Pop Rocks were invented in 1975, but I didn't discover them until the Summer of '78 - on vacation in Sedona with my dad. Pop Rocks were not yet in the Chicagoland area, apparently, at that time. I loved them so much that I bought a lot of packets to bring home to show my friends and share with them.

"Lou and Sue, I don’t know if these photos will generate that many comments, but we shall see!"
Major, nah, probably not.

Very fun day today, thanks all! Cheers to you, too, MS!

Dean Finder said...

I'm surprised that no one mentioned the Rock Candy Mountain model reportedly built by Walt's Imagineers in the early days, then melted in the sun and rain.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Dean, aren't you confusing Disneyland with MacArthur's Park??...
"All the sweet, green icing flowing down...
Someone left the cake out in the rain...."

As Bu mentioned earlier, "Someone got into the pharmaceuticals writing this song I think."

"Lou and Sue" said...

Dean, btw, I just Googled Rock Candy Mountain and found THIS!


So I did so more research on the song BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN thinking there must be more to it’s history for being such a well known song … but it was written in 1895…… so it it makes much more sense that the song is much older than when it was FIRST RECORDED …. In 1928. The original lyrics are rather nasty . The song isn’t about 20th century hobos …. But the HoBos created after the financial crash of the 1870’s….. that began to “ride the rails” leaving the depressed cities of New York, Chicago , St.Louis, Pittsburg. Today it’s associated with the depression and being a popular kids song …. But it was in realty a naughty street buskers song ( a nasty song , poem or limerick recited aloud by a peddler for money) the children’s versions have edited out the drinking , cigarettes and “hobo whore buggering”………

I thought maybe it was even an older story or nursery rhyme .

JB said...

Sue, thanks for the link. :-) I never knew that Disney had planned such a thing. I'm not sure what to think of it, either. If we had gotten this, we might not have gotten the Matterhorn!!

Mike, maybe the folks at Disney did that research as well and decided "Nahh, we don't need that mountain in the Park after all."


JB: after reading what I did - THAT very thought crossed my mind about a possible REAL reason Big Rock Candy Mountain for Casey Jr. was canceled. We know WED always did lots of research on project subjects ….. and it’s possible that info was discovered.

Dean Finder said...

Sue, wow. I thought the "melting pile of candy mountain" was just one of those apocryphal stories about early Disneyland that circulate on the internet and via WDW bus drivers.