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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Long Bygone Era of Motor Inns and Tourist Courts on Americas Classic Highways

Rt 17 which traverses the southeastern US from Virginia to Florida was once the only way to go. As the highway system grew so too did the related businesses that would serve the travelers.
This has to be from the 1940's and is typical for the the traveller to take post cards as souvenirs and never send them. Just like taking photos right? I love the description on the back, "Hot & Cold Showers!?"  and the "better class."  Who were they?   Finally, the spelling of "Hyway" - a beautiful mistake or a local expression?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Guests of the Urban Archeologist eat at Art's. Possibly 1940's roadside Bar-B-Que - sadly gone from highway 17 in Savannah GA. #found #postcard #nostalgia #georgia

Guests of the Urban Archeologist eat at Art's. Possibly 1940's roadside Bar-B-Que - sadly gone from highway 17 in Savannah GA. #postcard #nostalgia #georgia

from Instagram

Monday, September 14, 2015

Things I Never Knew About Cuba - I didn't even remember the Maine!

One public school social studies class must have told me some brief history of the island nation just 90 miles off the Florida coast...or maybe not. We seem so close to re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba that posts from her past seem to be well-timed.

Reader, please understand that I have no political motivations within my posts here. I am on a journey to learn about the present by the bits and pieces I uncover from the past. My conclusions are drawn from limited research on the web (it must be true, I read it on the Internet!). I welcome anyone who might like to comment and set the record straight, or simply go opinion for opinion with me. I'm game. 

First, I never knew the story behind the USS Maine. I remember the famous illustration of the ship's massive explosion which sent men and machine into the Havana harbor. 266 sailors lost their lives in that one explosion, which to this day its cause is still somewhat of a mystery. Basically, it's 1898 and the USS Maine is really only visiting Cuba, which at the time is under Spanish control. Several insurrections by Cuban nationals, or revolutionaries had heightened tensions and the US generally supported the Cubans.

Though some would say it was the birth of "yellow journalism" - the fight for readers of Pulitzer's and Hearst's newspapers - that lead to war with Spain, more likely their inflamed stories of the brutality of the Spanish over their colonies led to the public's support of the America's expansion overseas. Either way, the brief war with Spain freed the Cubans from Spanish rule. This led to the creation of the memorial to those sailors some 15 years later.  

The Cubans were thankful for what the US had done, however, this love affair could last the 20th century and years of investment and development of Cuba into a playground for the rich and influential also brought corruption. By the end of the 1950's hotels and casinos like the Nacional were owned and run by Americans and the Cuban government was losing favor to revolutionaries like Castro who believed Cuban should be controlled solely by Cubans.
The interesting thing about these 2 hotel bills is that it was about this time - the near height of the Cuban playground days that the lobby of this hotel would likely have been host to numerous celebrities and public figures. The also signify a time just before the Onset of WWII and the unknown position that the Cuban government might take. In December of 1941 Cuba became the first Latin American nation to declare war on the Axis powers.  

Note: the is a story of the monument to the USS Maine in 2013 how it was being restored after years of uncertainty. Now that we are on the verge of new relations with Cuba it will be interesting to see if history repeats itself yet again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Mystery of The Mystery Crater

Summer isn't over and I am going to prove it with a recently acquired batch of tourist memorabilia. This one from the 1950's came to the top
 I once drove through here with my parents in search of our ancestors. That we never stopped here might not surprise anyone because of the other geographic wonder that hogged the signage along the road. Look at the top of the map and you will see "The Tidal Bore." To a 14 year old neither of these would have grabbed me. On closer inspection I wish the mystery crater had.
There wasn't hole lot to see as we headed toward Nova Scotia but there was this, a gentle tourist trap that was a good place to have a few laughs, enjoy the modern drive-in snack bar and use the facilities. I almost forgot - the French were also welcome.
What attracted many to this location was the mysterious effects that occurred around the crater. The owners had built a gravitation house, where one might sit in the "Chair from which you can not get up!" or watch as water rolls up hill. There were several of these "houses" around the country after one became a popular site in the 1930's. The secret being that the house built on a 25 degree angle and if you photographed someone correcting the slant by tilting the camera - they would appear to be leaning at an impossible angle without falling. Nervous? A friendly guide will hold your hand...

The Mystery Crater lasted for about 30 years before being sold to a fish farm in the 1980's. The couple who owned it moved away and passed away not long after selling. Though it and the gravity house are all but gone, it can still be visited with the new owners permission if you are into "geo-caching" (finding treasure hidden by GPS enthusiasts) it is a fun hobby and a great way to explore your state or country.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

What is a Rebus Puzzle? See if you can figure these out!

I found this puzzle - known as a Rebus at a local antique shop. The coincidence bug hit me again because just that morning I was thinking of tossing a 1958 ATT Almanac (promo piece) when I saw a Rebus puzzle in the back. I thought, "That's kind of cool, maybe I will scan it and blog it." Later that same day I walk into my friend Justin Krul's antique shop (Just In Antiques and More) and saw this image above. What are the odds of that? 

Try you hand at solving these but they may not be easy as the clue for solving them was well known people. The box they came from was a sort-of adult party game set which looked to be from the 1940's or 50's. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Magic Show Revealed 1919

Back in my early days, when ever I saw some other "older" kids toys at a tag sale I would always see the AC Gilbert Erector Set. It seemed too complicated and, because it included a real electric motor, too dangerous, which of course made it "too cool." I bought at least one set when I was 13.
I didn't know Gilbert also made a magic set.
Most kids at one age or another are natural performers and this set not only feeds into that but actually shows you how...

I have never seen a magic set that actually took you through the steps and even how to recover from your mistakes - see above.

As you can see the young person that owned this set took the script serious enough to examine and edit those sections he didn't want to include in the act. When he was done and had sufficiently practiced - it was time to type up programs...

This was a full show and given that the boy was probably in his young teens, I would have to guess that he grew up to be the next Houdini - or maybe...
He was!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"Back in Business" Poster from 1945

There were innumerable inconveniences suffered by the american people during WWII. It doesn't compare to the citizens of the oppressed nations the Allied powers would ultimately defeat.  That aside, the food and gas shortages, and overall reduced services from local businesses combined to make what might have been normal life (for a post depression society) even more bleak. 

When the finally ended it wouldn't be "all back to normal" for  a while. In the mean time, businesses had to do what ever they could to let customers know that they were making progress. This original poster I found likely hung in the window of a hotel in the most visible spot. It is an awesome find!