From a huge concrete cowboy statue in Canyon, Texas; to California’s once common roadside orange stands; to a three-mile strip of forlorn motels in Lordsburg, New Mexico; to a Depression-era pullout in Garrison, Minnesota, many of America’s iconic roadside places are threatened.
The Society for Commercial Archeology announces its first Falling by the Wayside, a list of the ten most endangered roadside places in the United States. The list, ranging from a single building to a 65-acre park, includes the following threatened places:
- Buckhorn Baths, Main Street, Mesa, Arizona
- California’s Roadside Orange Stands, US Highways 66 and 99, California
- Clark County Rest Area, Interstate 64, Clark County, Kentucky
- Pig Stand Coffee Shop No. 41, Calder Avenue, Beaumont, Texas
- Motel Drive (former US Highway 80), Lordsburg, New Mexico
- Dinosaur World, Arkansas State Highway 187, Beaver, Arkansas
- Garrison Concourse, US Highway 169, Garrison, Minnesota
- Val Rio Diner, Pennsylvania State Highway 23, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
- “Tex Randall,” US Highway 60, Canyon, Texas
- Teapot Dome Gas Station, Yakima Valley Highway, Zillah, Washington
These places are all marked by threats which can include natural weathering, economic hardship, neglect, abandonment, inappropriate zoning, lack of maintenance and demolition. The list showcases the diversity of roadside places and highlights the issues and challenges facing the preservation of important roadside places.
The Society for Commercial Archeology (SCA) established the Falling by the Wayside program to raise awareness of the importance of roadside places throughout the United States.
“Our hope is the list will bring attention to roadside commercial architecture—especially these threatened places,” says Nancy Sturm, co-president of the organization. Along with the attention, SCA will help property owners connect with local, state and federal preservation programs.
Established in 1977, the SCA is the oldest national organization devoted to the buildings, artifacts, structures, signs, and symbols of the 20th-century commercial landscape. The SCA offers publications, conferences, and tours to help preserve, document, and celebrate the structures and architecture of the 20th century: diners, highways, gas stations, drive-in theaters, bus stations, tourist courts, neon signs, and more.
“We’ve encouraged research and appreciation of highway architecture over the years. Now it’s the time to move toward advocacy, as more roadside places are threatened,” says Sturm.
For more information: www.missouri66.org/10_most_endangered.html