Remembering Roadside America
Preserving the Past as Landscape and Place
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The University of Tennessee Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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How is early Roadside America to be remembered? Along almost any urban thoroughfare or rural highway in the United States today, there are relics left over from the early days of motoring—something derelict and essentially abandoned, something still standing but substantially modified in reuse, or, more ...
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Without shared information from reliable personal recollections and/or archives familiar to a few alert local residents, the authors would not have been able to complete the research behind this book. We are beholden to all. In addition we wish to thank Carol Ahlgren, Minneapolis City Planning Department, ...
1. The Journey Begins
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Our collaboration as authors, which now continues in this, our eighth book focused on the history of Roadside America, began in the summer of 1973, along a stretch of the Old National Road (U.S. 40) in downstate Illinois ...
2. Observing Roadside America
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With the coming of mass motoring, Americans in ever-increasing numbers answered the siren song of the open road, not so much as migrants moving to new places or as business people traveling for work, but more as motorists making use of increased affluence and leisure time to explore the nation’s highways as ...
3. Learning from Roadside America
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When the editors of Fortune commissioned “The Great American Roadside” in 1934, enthusiasm for unfettered automobility was high. James Agee gushed with more than a little optimism. The nation’s nearly 1 million miles of improved highway constituted “the greatest road the human race ...
4. Preserving Roads and Roadsides
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Nowhere was twentieth-century modernism embraced quite as fully as in the United States, at least as evidenced along the roadside. Nowhere were so many cars manufactured and so many roads built or rebuilt. And nowhere else in the world were towns and cities so substantially reinvented, as they were essentially ...
5. Historical Museums and Roadside America
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Modernism’s penchant for discard was nowhere more evident than along America’s highways. If early Roadside America little lent itself to the actions of preservationists, then what about the collector’s instincts? And, better still, the instincts of the museum curator? Remnants of the past traditionally accumulated ...
6. Experiencing the Past as Landscape and Place
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Can Roadside America’s rapid and ever-changeful evolution be remembered more accurately?1 How might a very fluid past, and yet one most significant in the American experience, be better assigned historical meaning and thus better sustained in public memory? Material culture is an essential key. The concern ...
7. The Road Continues
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Those who train their talents on cultural memory usually choose edifying qualities to assert the need for special stewardship—whether it be a matter of aesthetics or a matter of fundamental historical centrality. Roadside America may or may not qualify on grounds of beauty. However, it clearly does deserve ...
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Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 124 photographs
Publication Year: 2011