Architecture Preservation 

Lighting of the green at the Boots Motel!

We’ve been watching the restoration of the Boots Court Motel in Joplin, Missouri for years, from the “Save the Boots Motel campaign”,  until they reopened in 2012 and we got to visit and check it out in June 2011. This latest, and possibly the last piece of the  renovation not only highlights what a great job they’re doing for preservation of the motel, but for renovation all along Route 66! “Bringing back the neon” was not invented in the movie “Cars” but it’s an important step to bringing back the…

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Preservation Retro Travel 

Ohio House Motel Chicago – a survivor

Distinguished by its fabulous diamond shaped exterior, the Ohio House is a fabulous example of mid-century architecture right in the middle of downtown Chicago. Other architectural points of interest include the matching suspended sign, held up by a geometric metal grid which is itself reflected in the pattern block fence that runs along Ohio Street. Rough-faced stone walls and a large stainless steel sign on the east facade add to it’s distinctly Chicago Mid-Century design. The architect for the motel was Arthur Salk of Shayman and Salk, who also designed…

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Architecture Preservation 

Googie and neon sign preservation and museums

One of our favorite mid-century things are Googie signs. There are plenty of photos out there, but one thing is certain and it’s that they’re a dying breed and ripe for preservation efforts. In case you’re not familiar with the term, “Googie” architecture, approximately from 1950-1970, is a futuristic or ultramodern derivative of art moderne and International Style architecture, originating in California in the late 1940s. While using the materials and design vocabulary of other contemporary styles, its jaunty forms and bold streamlining evoked a highly optimistic aspiration to an…

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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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Interior Design 

Mad for Mod Contest: Pick atomic color names and win!

Our very own Diane Vallere has a new book coming out and has chosen you as our savvy readers to help her! She needs help picking color names for these fabulous paint colors! In WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL, #3 in the Mad for Mod Mystery Series, Doris Day-loving, mid-century modern interior decorator Madison Night has the opportunity to endorse four paint colors for Paintin’ Place, her neighborhood paint store. But Madison is preoccupied with things like abducted women, renovating a Cliff May house, and choosing between two hunky men….

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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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Retro Travel 

Retro Roadtrip: The Historic Route 66 Motel, Tucumcari, NM

The Historic Route 66 motel was built in the International Style that was enormously popular in the mid 20th Century.  In typical Palm Springs fashion, each room except the suites feature curtain wall, floor to ceiling windows. You can just see Don and Megan Draper pull up out front for a 60’s weekend away! The lobby is probably one of the most distinctive mid-century modern (MCM) public spaces in any small economy motel built during the 1950’s and 60’s.  Minimalist in design, the motel is a fabulous example of early…

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Lifestyle 

Review: Pillow Stalk, Mad for Mod Cozy Mystery

We haven’t done book reviews on Mid-Century style yet, but perhaps that’s because we didn’t know “Pillow Stalk” was out there.   Written by Diane Vallere, this book is custom made for Mid-Century fanatics who enjoy a good cozy mystery! Born on the same date, Interior Decorator Madison Night has modeled her life after Doris Day, but when a killer targets women dressed like the bubbly actress, Madison’s signature sixties style places her in the middle of a homicide investigation. The local hunky and mysterious detective connects the new crimes to…

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Retro Travel 

A linear time capsule of epic proportions

By Jim Hinckley It is a time capsule of epic proportions with an overlay of Disneyland and America’s longest attraction for a legion of international enthusiasts. It is iconic Route 66, America’s most famous highway. From Chicago to Santa Monica this Route 66 renaissance is serving as a catalyst for the refurbishment and restoration of historic motels, restaurants, trading posts, diners, and even gas stations. For the rare businesses that survived changing times, bypass, and an often precipitous decline in revenue this reawakening is the owners reward for patience and…

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