2009-05-31

Pike's Peak Avenue, 1952


The Antlers Hotel sit in front of Pike's Peak in the middle of a beautiful day. No less than 3 theaters are visible, all with great graphics and neon. The Ute advertises Pat and Mike with Spencer Tracy (1952). Across the street, the Peak is showing Retreat, Hell! (1952) with Frank Lovejoy.

The Antlers Hotel, named for an extensive antler collection that adorned its walls, was the premier hotel in the area in its day. The original, built in 1890, burned down in 1898. The second one (seen here) was demolished in 1969 to make way for the Antler Plaza hotel (below) which has some modern appeal to it, I guess.



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2009-05-24

Eagle's Nest Gardens, Bellair, FL - 1955

Royal Palms and tasteful landscaping surround the pure Florida-style estate of Dean Alvord near Eagle's Nest Gardens in Bellair, FL. The Alvords developed Japanese Gardens as a waterfront paradise filled with pagodas, statuary, and all things Japanese. After World War II, however, they changed the name for patriotic reasons to Eagle's Nest Gardens (after a pair of nesting eagles).

Being a minor attraction, there is not a lot of info about it, except for the typical postcards and brochures of the era. It had a run of about 30 years, folded in the 60s and was parceled into smaller lots and sold. Nothing remains today except million-dollar estates, the view of Clearwater Beach, some coastal pines and the name of the street.

 

Eagle's Nest Part 2 »


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2009-05-20

New York International Airport Murals, 1963

A large mural - Rejoicing and the Festivals of the Americas - by the famous Brazilian artist Carybé dominates one side of the International Arrivals Building, Terminal 4. Carybé won the commission for two murals which were installed in 1960. The terminal has since undergone massive expansion, and the murals are being installed in Miami International Airport. The new Miami terminal is scheduled to open in June, 2009. Articles here and here. Video here.

The fate of this huge stained-glass façade by Robert Sowers (also unveiled in 1960) on the south side of American Airlines Terminal 8 was not as fortunate. Once the largest stained glass wall in the world, it came down in 2007 to make way for a larger terminal. It proved unfeasable to preserve as a whole, so the seperate tiles were sold and shipped to various places. One report had them being made into keychains. Ouch.

This quote from the New York Times says it all: 'John Farrell, another pilot, said: “In this age, you can’t afford too much sentimentality. There are razor-thin margins in this business, and I don’t think anybody ever buys a ticket because American Airlines has a very nice stained window.” ' I'm going out on a limb here and guessing he's no artist... More here and here.

International Customs and Claims area. Note the Eames-esque color sceme of bright yellow, orange and white.

Two Mohawk "Cosmopolitan" Convair 240 26s sit ready in front of the Pan Am Terminal at New York International Airport at Idlewild. A pilot is visible in the nearest plane. The gold and brown color scheme was adapted in 1958.

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TWA Flight Center by Eero Saarinen, 1963

New York International Airport is packed as the Beatles finally arrive and — wait a minute, that isn't for a couple of months. The date on these slides is Nov 63, the month JFK was assassinated in Dallas. It is still New York International or Idlewild Airport (as it was commonly known after the golf course it displaced).
(The slides in this set were slightly damaged as found)
Of course, in 1963, the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Flight Center would have been the main attraction. Open for under a year when these photos were taken, it was designed to impart a sense of flight and movement. This futuristic work is now a National Historic Landmark.
(Composite image made from two slides)
The jetsons-like interior is full of movement, and in spite of being made of concrete, the construction gives a sense of lightness and airiness. The building and all its spaces and elements, make up a total environment where every detail belongs to the same family of forms, consistently repeated in passenger counters, information boards, railings etc.
Note the Alexander Calder sculpture hanging in Terminal 5.
Jet Blue and the Port Authority has put $19 million into the renovation of Terminal 5 and it opened last October. It is still modern, but seems to have lost some of its mid-century identity. Jet blue's site is here. May I check your baggage?

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2009-05-14

Marco Beach Hotel and Villas, Florida - 1965

...And what a life it probably was until the island was over-developed in the early 60s. The developers (Deltona Corp) bought the entire island and developed the whole thing. They eventually went broke fighting environmental laws, but not until the damage was done. This hotel (tropical and quaint by today's standards) was opened in 1965. Cost: $16 for a double occupancy room. A ginormous Marriott now sits on the site at 400 South Collier Boulevard.

One of the most important archaeological sites in North America was located on this once remote and wild island, then called Key Marco. Numerous items of carved and painted wood were discovered preserved in a mucky bayou on the north side. The famous "Marco Cat" came from here. Also under this motel was rumored to be a treasure ship! See this page for the whole story. Put on your kookiest hat and enjoy another part of weird Florida!

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2009-05-10

Mom & Ford Fairlane Sunliner, 1956


In honor of Mother's Day, here's from from our own closet of Mom in Ft. Lauderdale (pre-me). I do have memories of the '55 Sunliner convertible, though. It was Dad's first new car (the architecture business in Florida was taking off). The back seat floorboards were so badly rusted by the time I can remember (Florida thundershowers come quick) that you could watch the road go by. I also remember dropping various objects through the hole and watching with glee as it skipped down the road behind us. The folks sold it in 1966 or so for under $100, and got a '63 Chevy Impala. Happy Mother's Day to all the wives and Moms!

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2009-05-09

Escondido Bowl and a Red Ford Galaxie - 1966

A fire-engine red 1962 Ford Galaxie rinses off at a Chevron under a googie-riffic sign in Escondido, California. It's Rock-a-billy bowling too, if Johnny Preston is in town! I don't think I've ever seen live music at a bowling alley, but I love the idea. Preston scored a number 1 hit with "Running Bear," a song about two hormone-driven native Americans who loved each other from afar across a raging river that eventually killed them (although they did get one kiss out of the deal).

The red, white and blue Chevron pumps make for a patriotic Americana scene, don't they? And at 26¢ a gallon, who wouldn't want to drive that Galaxie 500 up and down the strip?

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2009-05-08

Stardust Casino & Aku Aku Tiki, Las Vegas, 1962


A man in a brown suit watches the meter maid as they go about their business in the mid-day sun in Las Vegas. Of course they are in front of the fabulous Stardust Hotel & Casino, and the Aku Aku Polynesian Restaurant and Tiki Bar. The cool "Saturn" neon sign out front was updated in the 70s with another sign, but I like this one.

Hard to believe it now, but Arthur Godfrey was one of America's top entertainers. He was instrumental in America's love affair with the ukulele, and was a standard on TV entertainment shows from the 40s through the 60s.

The other entertainer, Goldie, is probably Goldie Hawn, who got her start as a dancer, then performed at the Stardust, then broke out on "Laugh-In." Kong Ling was a singer from Hong Kong.

The Aku Aku was active from 1960 to 1980 and is one of those "Lost Tiki Bars of the Ages". The iconic moai statues in front were carved by Eli Hedley; one of them can be seen today at Sunset Park in Las Vegas. Happy Neon!

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2009-05-03

Aruba Caribbean Hotel & Casino, 1958 promotional brochure

Aruba, an autonomous region within the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a tropical island cooled by trade winds and situated out of the path of hurricanes. When the Aruba Caribbean Hotel-casino opened in 1959, it became the first luxurious hotel on Palm Beach, once a lovely palm-lined beach. Today this 1.5 mile stretch is home to 11 hotels and timeshare resorts, as well as many restaurants and shops. Collectively the area is known as the High Rise Area.

Romance is in the Aruban air as Bob & Betty Kravitz relax on the circle rug and gaze at... the TV?

Icon maps such as this are sure popular in the '50s, especially on Caribbean promotional material.

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2009-05-01

Chrysler at the World's Fair, Flushing Meadows 1964-5

A gentleman from Long Island has his portrait recorded in front of the Chrysler Autofare pavilion, one of the largest at the fair. The 100-ft engine contained a 50-ft. dragon crankshaft driving 1-ton pistons, and included a display of metallic monsters. Several 1965 models float on fountains of water like graceful swans below. The fanciful rocket symbolizes Chrysler's involvement in aerospace and missiles. Further back, a Saturn rocket marks the USA Space Park next to the Hall of Science. Sinclair's Dinoland, located to the far right, includes life-size dinosaur replicas. (This image was assembled from two slides, hence the disappearing railing)
This giant 80-ft. car is the centerpiece of "Styling Island." The exhibit underneath contains displays which emphasize the company's automotive styling. And as an example, a yellow/black 1965 Dodge Dart GT 2-Door Hardtop floats by. The pylons from the Ford Rotunda rise in the background.

These images evoke a sense of the promise for the future America had at the beginning of the 60s. There seems to be a sense of wonder at new technology, as basic as it looks to us today. Who would have thought then that Chrysler, GM and others would be bankrupt by 2009?

The World's Fair Pavilion. Architects: Eggers & Higgins, NYC.

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