Googie Across America

I'm a real big fan of Googie-style architecture. If you're not familiar with googie architecture, let's just say it's that fun and whimsical architecture - usual commercial and retail - from the 1950s and 1960s. Think Bob's Big Boy or some of the wilder motels on Route 66. A great resource is Alan Hess's outstanding books, Googie: Fifites Coffee Shop Architecture and Googie Redux: Ultramodern Roadside Architecture. A perfect example is Mel's Drive-In at 8585 W. Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood (on the left - originally Ben Frank's). As you can see, the architecture is fun and futurustic and harkens back to the post-war days when Americans were thinking of space travel, new technology and relishing in the car culture.

Two of the best sites out there for researching googie architecture across the U.S. are the Lotta Living Message Board (particularly the Roadside Rambling section) and Roadside Peek. Lotta Living focuses not just on googie architecture but also other styles of mid-century architecture, restoration, etc. It's a great site. One current thread, for example, focuses on the amazingly intact La Villa Basque Restaurant and Coffee Shop in Vernon, CA. Roadside Peek, on the other hand, is packed with reader-submitted photographs of Goggie architecture, neon and other great mid-century architecture from across the country. Both of these sites are useful when planning to make architecture-specific road trips or "pilgrimages", so to speak. Photographs are subdivided into all kinds of categories such as Roadside Motels in Texas (see the Tradewinds Motel on the right from Grand Prairie, TX)

Either site will serve as a great launching point for your next cross-country road trip.

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