Preservation 

Newton Iowa, a midcentury historic downtown

The Newton Downtown Historic District has been entered in to the National Register of Historic Places, effective September 22, 2014. In 2009, the Newton Historic preservation committee looked within the proposed district of 87 properties. Fred Chabot, chairman of the historic preservation committee, said they began by researching the history of those buildings for the required site inventory forms. The committee’s research showed the best way to move forward was to pitch downtown’s mid-century architectural aesthetic, which was influenced by the success of the Maytag Company and the city’s preparation for…

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Architecture 

Houses of Spirits

A sampling of Los Angeles midcentury, atomic, and retro liquor stores by new contributor Diane Vallere. Read more about her here. You don’t have to wait until the cocktail hour to appreciate the influence that midcentury modern style had on liquor stores all over the country, but you may want to act quick. The atomic aspect of these houses of spirits can still be seen, but disrepair, changes in management, and retiring business owners are letting these precious gems disappear. Here’s a sampling from Los Angeles: Not sure when this…

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Retro Travel 

Retro Roadtrip: The Blue Swallow, Tucumcari, NM

We have had the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, NM in our Motel Directory for a long time.It’s as much of an icon along Route 66 as the WigWam Motels. Owner Lillian Redman, a legend along Route 66 ran the motel from 1958 to 1997.  By a stroke of luck, owners over the years after she sold the motel managed to restore instead of modifying (and thus destroying the charm) the old motel.  The rooms have been “modernized” but only to accommodate the comfort of guests and going to great…

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Architecture Preservation 

Long Lost John Lautner Home

With this post, we welcome Marni Epstein, who’s going to be a fabulous addition to our team. Check out her biography and website! Editor Modern Architect John Lautner, who studied under the tutelage of Frank Lloyd Wright, is primarily known for his residential design. As a mid-century architect, his homes had a distinctly warmer quality than more typical austere designs of the time. That is owed much to Lautner’s organic-modern approach in which he embraced earthy tones that were often more inviting than a starker aesthetic. A number of these…

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Architecture Retro Travel 

Mid Century Time Capsule in the Oklahoma Panhandle

Traveling over the holidays, we made a point to stop at the  Cimarron Heritage Center Museum & Information Center in Boise City, Oklahoma.Why you may ask? The primary draw at the time was that it houses the largest collection of dust bowl memorabilia in the United States. With photographs and even some of the amazing dust (really, you have to touch it, it’s fantastic). What we didn’t expect when we got there was the vast collection of mid-century collectibles and architecture. The 1949 Bruce Goff-designed home serves as a greeting…

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Architecture Preservation 

Save the Houston Astrodome

The Houston Astrodome was designed by architects Hermon Lloyd & W.B. Morgan, and Wilson, Morris, Crain and Anderson. The world’s first indoor, air conditioned stadium. The home of Astroturf. An architecture icon known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” On Opening Day, April 9, 1965, a sold-out crowd of 47,879 watched an exhibition game between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife Lady Bird were in attendance, as well as Texas Governor John Connally and Houston Mayor Louie Welch. Governor Connally…

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Architecture 

Underground house for sale – another cold war bunker, but with style!

If you’re looking for another unique cold war home, you can’t get any better than this. Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson built a 6,000 square foot luxurious underground home near the Alexander Dawson (named after his father Alexander Dawson Henderson, along with the Alexander Dawson schools) buildings in Las Vegas where he lived . Henderson, made his fortune through various companies, including Avon cosmetics and Gulfstream aircraft, and was fascinated with the idea of living underground. In an area where outdoor temperatures reach 115 degrees, the underground house concept in Las…

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Architecture Preservation 

Preserving the iconic gas station in your area

There is almost nothing as iconic as the Mid-Century Gas station. Once placed obviously along the road to attract weary travelers and to feed the gas to move along the road, now quite a few of the most wonderful architecturally stand empty and deserted. This particular gas station in my area got me thinking about preservation of these great structures! This former Phillips 66 gas station, displays the quintessential stylized box design. Its space age canopy is visible as you approach far down the road This fantastic and in-depth article…

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Architecture Preservation 

Dome Theaters in San Jose in danger!

In danger of demolition are the Winchester Theaters, a group of dome-shaped movie theaters which opened nearly 50 years ago showing It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World  to herald both the space age and new cinema. The buildings—originally called the Century Theaters—were the first theaters of their kind. Designed by San Francisco architect Vincent Raney and opened between 1964 and 1966 to accommodate a new widescreen technology called Cinerama that was developed to help theaters distinguish themselves from television, The Century Theaters are a cultural symbol of postwar prosperity for…

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Architecture Preservation 

Pasadena Heritage presents Pasadena 1940 Forward

This spring, Pasadena Heritage will offer unique programs in a Getty-initiated celebration of the city’s modern architectural heritage through exhibitions and programs at cultural institutions in and around L.A. A leading historic preservation organization founded in 1977, Pasadena Heritage will host a three-part lecture and panel discussion on May 16 and an architectural tour of modern-era homes on May 19. Oral histories will also be recorded and published. Modern Architecture in L.A. is a wide-ranging look at the postwar built environment of the city as a whole, from its famous…

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