Archive for the ‘Architectural Salvage’ Category

The Brimfield Antiques Show is the largest outdoor antiques show in the world, with over 6,000 dealers and 130,000+ visitors during the course of of one week- in May, July and September. So if you want to be overwhelmed by the volume of vintage antique and cool old stuff to choose from, this is your place!

My pilgrimage to Brimfield this year was twofold- one to have an excuse to tell you RetroRoadmap readers about it, and two, to pay homage to the family tradition of attending Brimfield with my dad (who passed away last fall).
Photos (more…)

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Ever been someplace so cool, so inspiring, so overwhelmingly awesome, that you knew your description of it would never adequately convey the sheer fabulosity of it? Well that’s why I have waited so long to try and write about The American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, OH. The museum, and founder Tod Swormstedt are just too cool for words, but I’ll try.

However lacking my prose may be – the short version is, you must visit this place!

Vintage Neon Signs(Here’s a link to our earlier post with our video sneak peek of The American Sign Museum
where you can see the above signs all flashing and animated!)

Opened in Spring 2005, and a a not-for-profit 501(C) (3) corporation,the American Sign Museum’s mission is: (more…)

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I could not resist the pun when I realized I got a “letter” in the mail! (even though that’s usually Eccentric Roadside’s area of expertise!)

Letter B - Vintage Marquee Letter From Bay City Cargo

I have been in touch recently with  Mike of Bay City Cargo in Belfast Maine- who has the world’s largest collection of vintage theater marquee letters. He is also the owner of The Colonial Theatre in Belfast, ME www.ColonialTheatre.com – which often gets confused (URL-wise) with my Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA www.THEColonialTheatre.com :-) What a small cool world.

If you are interested in buying some cool old vintage letters from theaters, casinos, restaurants and more, check their listings on eBay. They also sell new letters for your marquee, in case you’re not into the “ransom note” look of mismatched letters.

I could not help but think of this Sesame Street video from The Beetles when I opened the package.

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I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, so I’ll just consider this a heads up for those of you who might be hankering for a small greasy hamburger or cheeseburger in the Collingswood NJ area – Roney’s Restaurant – a landmark on Route 130 is now officially closed. Originally opened as a White Tower over 50 years ago, the plan is to demolish it to make way for road widening. Anyone want to save those Hamburger letters for me?!

Roney's Restaurant and Hamburgers Collingswood NJ Closed

I had heard a while ago that Roneys would close because of this project – but as you can see from the cheery colors – it doesn’t look closed ’til you get real close. Get even closer and you’ll see the note left on the door:

Note for Roney's Restaurant Customers“Roney’s Customers, Morning, Afternoon, Late-Night Roney’s is closed due to the road construction that will be taking place.

We have relocated to our other restaurant The Dugout 5105 N. Park Drive, Pennsauken, Cooper River Plaza.

Hours Mon-Fri 6am – until, Sat-Sun 6am- until. Need more Info call 856-651-7141.”

We had grabbed a quick burger there years ago, but never stopped by again, assuming- as we all do – that because it had been around for so long it would in turn be around forever. Here’s a link to Hawk Krall’s (of Drawing For Food) post from last May about his visit to Roney’s so you can get a feel for what it was like before it closed down.

Here’s a link to an article about Roney’s that was just published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on 3/7/11

So make sure to visit your local local, before it too becomes a bump in the road!

Don’t worry, we’ll be back to our upbeat programming momentarily – with all sorts of info about swing dancing, vintage fabrics, beautiful neon, and yet another adventure we’re going on in March!

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When I was checking on the place for us to have the Retro Roadmap / Roadsidfans meetup on 11/14 I was fascinated by this place- located just feet from the Glider diner. As I walked into the cavernous space I was told that I had entered the “mother-ship” of the Olde Good Things architectural salvage company, with retail locations in New York City and Los Angeles. What kind of 20th century archeologist could resist exploring a giant warehouse and grounds filled to the brim with architectural details, antique lighting, Egyptian friezes, in Scranton, PA of all places…not me!

Egypt meets Greece in Pennsylvania

I found out from friendly and informative warehouse manager Tim, that these Egyptians were part of the original Philadelphia Civic Center built in 1929, and torn down in 2005. Lucky for us and future generations, the “Architecturologists” from Olde Good things were there to save this frieze. Taller than me (5’3″) the entire frieze, depicting the history of construction is 580 inches long and available for sale.

Philadelphia Convention Center Tableau Left

The folks at the Olde Good Things warehouse realize that their grounds can be a bit overwhelming to navigate, so upon entrance you are offered a map of the property, like a little bread crumb trail, should you get turned around in your archeological dig. This informal museum of our collective commercial and social past seems like it must’ve been here forever, but has really only been a part of the Scranton skyline since 1998.

Map in hand, I passed this giant “frieze meiser” and began my exploration of the site.

Frieze Meiser

It is hard to capture in just a few small photographs both the scale and vastness of this place, and the treasures contained within. Even this shot taken from above of just some of the stained glass windows on display doesn’t give you an idea of how big they really are.

Saved Stained Glass

These elegant windows come from churches, residences, commercial buildings and even the American Airlines terminal from JFK airport*. Colorful yet solemn reminders of what (or who) was important to someone long ago, but has now been relegated to the anonymity of history.

Hannah Hick 1827 Who was Hannah Hick? Is her last name longer than that? What was the story behind her interest in world history and geography? Why did she have a gigantic stained glass window commemorating her existence? And if someone with this much presence long ago -enough to be window-worthy- now remains a mystery to us, can you even imagine the millions of folks, who don’t even have something like this to remind us that they were once here?

Speaking of a place that was once here and is no longer, one of the most distinctive items you see upon entering are these UFO inspired lighting fixtures that once graced the American Airlines terminal (1960-2005) at JFK Airport in New York.
Airport Lighting

*Even more fascinating (and unable to be photographed by me, as they were in storage) is the fact that Olde Good Things has in its possession of the panels from the giant 317 foot long stained glass mural that was the hallmark of the American Airlines terminal at JFK Airport. Designed by Robert Sowers, it was the largest stained glass installation in the world until 1979.

(I’m hoping Electro’s Spark will grant me permission to show his vintage photo of the American Airlines terminal – here. Cross your fingers!)

When the terminal was slated to be demolished, the cost of saving the entire piece in tact proved to be too extreme for the airline, they contacted the professionals at OGT to carefully remove the panels and save them.

stained-glass-jfk-airport-american-airlines-olde-good-things(click on the photo for more shots of the removal of the glass)

So while the entire 317′ long mosaic was never to be assembled again, the glass is now available for those who want a piece of American aviation history (and at least they didn’t land in the dumpster!).

Speaking of things that could’ve landed in the dumpster, Olde Good Things also has a number of artifacts from the La Ronda demolition/debacle I mentioned in a previous post. The taunting gremlins you see dancing above the studious student’s head are just a few of the pieces from that grand palace.

Fun or Knowledge?

Not everything in their collection has such a storied past as the items above, but do show the variety of architectural and decorating options available to the past citizens of our civilization. Take for example this myriad collection of glass block options:

The History of Glass BlockWho knew there were so many different styles of glass block in existence, nevermind once available? Lucky for us the folks at Olde Good Things know the value of saving these artifacts, so the details of our modern history won’t be tossed in the construction dumpster.

Olde Good Things
400 Gilligan St
Scranton, PA 18508
(570) 341-7668

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What to do when you want to preserve and renovate your downtown movie theatre but the building is too far gone? Do what Ephrata PA did, and save as much of the vintage neon, chandeliers and vintage charm as you can, before the place falls apart, then display them for all to enjoy!

Main Street Theater Ephrata PA

While the building that now contains the Main Street Theatre is “vintage 1993”, I have to hand it to the folks of Ephrata for preserving as much of the old theatre’s pieces to incorporate into this new structure that sits on the site of the old theatre.

Main Theatre Ephrata PA - Before

Like this cool brushed steel ticket booth for example!

Ticket Booth Main Theatre Ephrata PA

And this swell art deco chandelier:


And cool curved glass blocks and etched mirror:

Main Theatre Art Deco Glass Block

I know from first hand experience living in a town with a downtown movie house how a place like this can become a central part of a community, and think it is cool that the builders of the Brossman building even considered putting a theatre into this space. With a covered parking garage in the back and a great restaurant on the 3rd floor (Lily’s on Main) it’s a great place to go for dinner and a movie!

Main Theatre Tickets

And if the wonderful artifacts saved from Ephrata’s old movie houses inspires new film goers to check out some of the wonderful vintage theatres still in existence (and keeps ’em out of the mega screen boxes ) well wouldn’t that be nice?

Ephrata Main Theatres
124 East Main Street
Ephrata, PA 17522
(717) 733-9098‎

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