Posts Tagged ‘Art Deco’

Isn’t this just a gorgeous art deco theatre facade? TOTALLY worth the detour into downtown Talladega AL to see The Ritz Theatre.
Ritz Theatre Talladega AL Movie Theatre Exterior

Look at those great, shiny glass tiles- the geometric Aztec influence designs, fabulous neon facade and zigzag top? now THAT’s Art Deco!

According to their website:

Talladega’s Ritz Theatre (circa 1936) is considered one of the best surviving examples of the Art Deco mainstreet theatres of the 1930’s.

And I’m not about to argue that.


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One of my new years resolutions is to share more of my old photos with folks – so here’s the first assortment from my “Random Roadside” box of photos!

Here’s me in front of the Frazer Diner in the spring of 1999. As I mentioned on my writeup of the Frazer Diner I had no idea when I was posing for this photo that I’d end up living 15 minutes away from it, with a cute guitar player. I’m sure glad it worked out this way!
Frazer Diner 1999
This is a photo of Fains Carpet Store in Providence RI taken some time between 1987-89. Roadwarrior Debra Jane Seltzer posted some photos of this striking storefront in her Roadside Architecture blog recently, and I knew I had a photo when it was still Fains. Love the Art Deco facade!
Fains Carpet Store Providence RI

I’m pretty sure that this photo was taken on the same trip to Rhode Island as the Fains facade, not sure why I didn’t shoot the diner itself, but I think we got off at the wrong exit and were turning the car around.
EverReady Diner Sign, RI

In the small world vein I see that roadpal Gunnar shared some photos of the Meadowbrook Drive In Theatre in Middleboro MA on his blog Eccentric Roadside. The comments indicate the theatre closed in 1987 so I must’ve shot this shortly therafter.
Meadowbrook Drive In Theatre Sign, MA
I know there are small reproduction metal signs of this classic Good Home Cooking sign floating out there on the internets, but this photo is of the real deal, from The Galley Restaurant in West Springfield MA. Taken in 1995 by moi! Here’s a link to some of the history of the Galley’s sign if you’re interested.

The Galley Good Home Cooking Neon Sign West Springfield MA 1995
This photo of the Route 66 Diner was taken in 1995 in Springfield MA as well. I remember eating here and the diner being clean as a whistle, and very affordable.
Route 66 Diner 1995 - Springfield MA

The Englewood diner used to sit behind the Capitol Market in Dorchester MA and I’d see it every day going to and from school. That whole shopping complex was very cool with a big neon sign for the market as well as the restaurant next to it, I think it had a Bradlees too. Not sure why I didn’t take more photos of the entire place, but if I beat myself up for all the photos I haven’t taken I’d be a black and blue pulp. So I DID take a photo of this classic diner, before it got moved.
Englewood Diner Dorchester MA 1988-89

That is just a drop in the bucket of the Retro Roadmap Photo Archives, dear readers. I’ll be sharing more of them as inspiration hits!

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This chilly transition into autumn has got me thinking of Vermont for 2 reasons – one is the combo of maple syrup and leaf peeping that the state is known for, but the other, more Retro Roadmap worthy reason is Bove’s Restaurant! In business in Burlington VT since 1941 and still retaining it’s authentic Art Deco vitrolite facade, neon sign and old-school charm, I am happy to thank Elise Brown of DrummerPR for this photo and report on Bove’s -our first vintage Vermont listing!


I visited Bove’s some time in the early 90’s, so when I read that Elise and her husband had vacationed in the area this past summer I asked if the art deco restaurant that I remembered so fondly was still there. And hooray it’s still there, family owned and operated and stronger than ever. Not only have they made an appearance on the Food Network and Today show for their delicious lasagna but their family recipe sauce and award winning pasta is for sale in their online store.

Elise reports:

It even still has the same wallpaper I remember from 1980! College kids attending UVM, Champlain College or St. Michael’s know it well – and (like me) return to it when they visit their alma mater. The servings are huge and the prices are extremely reasonable My personal faves are the daily specials: Lasagna on Wednesdays and Stuffed Peppers on Thursday are AWESOME and only $7.80.

Here’s a video that the Bove Brothers / aka Sauce Boys made for their audition to get onto the Food Network and you can see some great shots of their vintage interior (and tasty food) right here:

So if you’re in the Burlington VT area today – it’s Lasagna day!

Bove’s Cafe
68 Pearl St
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 864-6651

Closed Sunday & Monday

Bove's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Hooray! We’ve got our first Michigan RetroRoadmap Reader Recommendation from Twitter pal Mark “Insanitiki” Cisney. He heard my lament about his state not being represented on the Retro Roadmap that he leaped (leapt?) to my rescue with this gorgeous Art Deco gem, the Elwood Bar & Grill in Detroit, MI. Oh BOY!

Elwood_Bar_and_Grill_ArtDeco_1936_Detroit_ MI_insanitiki_Retro-Roadmap

Mark, who describes himself as having a “fascination with things, places and events of times gone by, and loves Rum, Tiki and Polynesian Kitsch” (all thumbs uppable in my book) writes:

After years of working downtown and having lunch at our desk, we decided to have a Friday Lunch Adventure and visit a new place each week. This is one of the gems that we have found! The ElWood Bar and Grill built in 1936. It survived two new stadiums built in Detroit by being moved a few blocks away from its original location. After its move it received a complete restoration!

If there were places like this near me I’d never eat at my desk again!


According to their website:

Built in 1936 by Detroit architect Charles Noble, the historic Elwood Bar & Grill is downtown’s most recognizable Art Deco diner.

The Elwood was named after its original location at the corner of ELizabeth Street and WOODward Avenue (EL[izabeth] WOOD[ward])

In 1997 the Elwood Bar & Grill was saved and moved by owner Chuck Forbes to 300 Adams Avenue to make way for Comercia Park, and now makes its home right behind left field.

After the move the Elwood Bar & Grill underwent a complete restoration, including remodeling of the Art Deco Interior and reovation of the diner’s unique, enameled steel facade.

A place for sports fans to congregate before or after the game, you can see the stadium just outside the window.


And the bar is a hit with the sports fans, who hopefully appreciate the wonderfully restored historic interior!


Thanks a bunch to Mark for venturing away from his desk for lunch and finding this cool place. And thanks too, to the owners of the ElWood for realizing the value of it’s historic facade and legacy, and continuing the tradition for years to come. Who knows what sports fan will have a better appreciation for authentic art deco fonts and exeteriors, simply because of seeing this place preserved. A girl can dream!

Elwood Bar & Grill
300 E Adams Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 962-2337

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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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Just got hipped to this vintage cruise ship exhibit in New York City by my pal Kiki and had to share:

DecoDence: Legendary Interiors and Illustrious Travelers Aboard the SS Normandie
The South Street Seaport Museum, New York February 2010 through January 2011

The S.S. Normandie was the epitome of Art Deco-era style and sophistication – the largest, fastest and most glamorous of the so-called “floating palaces” of the early and mid-20th century.Her innovative, award-winning hull design was rivaled only by her unprecedented interior luxuries.


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When I sent up a flare asking for Retro Roadmap-worthy places to visit in Rhode Island  my pal Bill who lives in Arizona now but worked in the smallest state insisted that I eat at the Modern Diner in Pawtucket RI during my short jaunt home – and I was happy to oblige. Built in 1941, it is one of the few remaining Sterling Streamliner diners -easy to recognize by their “art deco train speeding down the track” look – and is the first diner ever to be placed on the National Historic Register.

Modern DinerThe Modern is quite a beauty,  with her cream and burgundy enameled panels and fab sign. I thank the folks at Quahog.org for clueing me into the fact that the reason the Modern is straight on one end is because in it’s original location in downtown it was snugged up against a building – I always thought it looked kinda weird!

I was up against a few obstacles during my visit to the diner in the fact that I did not realize ’til I was scrambling around in my purse that I had spent most of my cash with the Retro Roadkids the day before, and the diner is cash only. Also I was playing beat the clock as it was just about 1:30pm and they close at 2pm on a Sunday. Hence the fulfilling and affordable 2 eggs over with toast with a breakfast potato bonus, thought the diner is known for having more adventurous fare.

Modern BreakfastI asked for and was able to have a seat at the counter in the original part of the diner, and frankly did not even glance into the newly added on dining room portion. It seemed like most folks wanted to sit in the actual diner itself,  with a key seat being the booth in the curved portion “at the front of the train”.

Photos of the interior of the diner would’ve revealed that the place was packed and bustling this Sunday morning, with folks streaming in-perhaps from church? and servers here there and everywhere. It was a nice scene, to know that this place is still thriving, and Bill, I thank you for the reminder of this historic diner just off 95!

Modern Diner
364 East Avenue
Pawtucket, RI 02860
(401) 726-8390
Cash only, breakfast & lunch

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