Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Some history to go with our Tower Bowl t-shirt

The Tower Bowl once located in downtown San Diego was a true highlight of the streamline moderne era. Below is a portion of the history we've put together behind this amazing work of art.

If you happened to be in San Diego in 1942, whether as a resident, a vacationer, or a serviceman stationed at one of the local military bases, and were looking for an evening’s activity, you would find the answer downtown at the corner of Broadway and Kettner. There you would find an incredible Art Deco building with a dramatic eighty-foot curved steel tower, adorned with rotating bowling balls five feet in diameter, spelling out "The Tower Bowl" on one side and "Bowling" on the other . In case you somehow missed the sign, the entire building, along with the sign, were adorned with over a thousand feet of brilliant neon.

Tower Bowl was designed for A. J. Hanson by one of the premier architects on the West Coast - S. Charles Lee. Mr. Lee designed many of the beautiful theatres found throughout Southern California. Showplaces such as Tower Theatre in Los Angeles, Fox Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills, Studio Theatre in Hollywood, and what is considered to be the ultimate in Streamline Moderne design – the Academy Theatre in Inglewood. The majority of Mr. Lee's buildings were opulent palaces and Tower Bowl was no exception.

When it opened in 1941, Tower Bowl was billed as a complete entertainment complex, offering two cocktail lounges, a billiard room, fine food, a dance floor, seating for 400 spectators, and 28 maple lanes. Entering from Broadway, visitors walked across a beautiful terrazzo floor past the cocktail lounge towards the bowling lanes at the ........

Further history, additional historic images and our Tower Bowl shirt, available for purchase can be found on the Vintage Roadside website located here.

If you have additional history or information about the Tower Bowl we'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The A&W Baby Burger

This week we thought we'd share a piece of our dining ephemera. Raise your hand if you remember getting A&W hamburgers in the shiny foil bags. I remember these being almost as cool as the frosty mugs of root beer. My childhood memories of these 4 different bags has led me to conclude that without a doubt these bags magically improved the taste of the hamburgers. A couple of the ways this worked (in my mind anyway:-) is that the foil bags kept the burger warm, unlike today's paper wraps. They also were leak proof so you ended up with a nice puddle of sauce and toppings in the bag which would "waft" up at you as you took each bite. Ok, those are just wild guesses, but hey, they sure were great bags and hamburgers!

A&W used the silver foil for the Baby Burger, the Teen Burger, and the Mama Burger. If you were ready to tackle the Papa Burger you were worthy of the gold bag.

So, thank you A&W for the memories of "graduating" from the Baby Burger to the Teen Burger, for having the lighted menu boards in the car service area where one of the highlights was flipping the switch for a tray pickup - and for those meals where we decided to eat inside - the menu board with the white phone to place your order.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Come see Vintage Roadside at Crafty Wonderland!

We wanted to let all of our friends here in Portland know that we'll be vending at the May edition of Crafty Wonderland. We'll be at the Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside, Sunday May 11th from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. Admission is free so come on by and say hello! And possibly by buying a new t-shirt you'll influence the weather here in Portland to warm up:-)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Speedboat Coffee - There's a new Mom and Pop in town!

Being a mom and pop operation ourselves, we at Vintage Roadside love hearing about the opening of new mom and pop businesses. We're thrilled to discover that a brand new, independent coffee shop is opening this Friday here in Southeast Portland. Speedboat Coffee, located at 5115 SE Foster Rd., kicks off their grand opening gala at 6:00 am Friday, May 9th.

So, all you Portland folk who love a good cup of coffee (and free wifi) swing by and say hello to the newest mom and pop in town!

Friday, May 2, 2008

A look back at tourist cabins with flush toilets

We here at Vintage Roadside thought it would be fun to share some of the pieces of roadside history we have in our collection here on our blog.

We thought we'd start with a wonderful example from the Mom and Pop era of tourist courts. We proudly present George & Ethel's Restaurant and Cabins located along Route 9 opposite Lake Wickaboag.

This business card comes from the late 1930s and is a great example of an establishment offering the most for every guest. Not only did they have coil spring mattresses but each cabin had its own flush toilet! A wonderful selling point for this time period.

We hope George & Ethel were wildly successful and that many a guest to Lake Wickaboag enjoyed their stay!