Monday, May 28, 2007

Buck Lake Ranch

Buck Lake Ranch is located in Angola, Indiana. The back of this 1952 postcard just describes the attraction as "One of America's Greatest Amusement Parks," a description which seems to be quite an exaggeration. Actually, Buck Lake Ranch is much better known as a place for country music concerts, "the Nashville of the North where almost every famous country artist has been at least once, some of them many times.."

Buck Lake Ranch was established in 1947 and is currently in business. It is advertised mainly as a place for camping and fishing in a private lake. The
Buck Lake Ranch website invites people to come and help them celebrate their 60th Anniversary in 2007. They say that they have "taken great pains to restore it so it looks like it did years ago" in the 1950s and 1960s. They offer many activities and have a museum displaying country music memorabilia.

Lord's Prayer Monument

I am showing this postcard today for Memorial Day. This Lord's Prayer Monument was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1957. It is located in Sunset Memorial Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

From the back of the postcard:

The Holy Bible Lord's Prayer feature is the largest in America—28' wide, 19' tall, made of a solid single slab of pink Texas granite and lettered in solid 14 karat gold. It is one of several works of art being added to theis lovely park. It was didicated in the presence of Minnesota's Gold star Mothers and veterans of World Wars , II, and Korea.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Jolly Green Giant

The Minnesota River valley is known as the "Valley of the Jolly Green Giant."

The Jolly Green Giant is the mascot of the Green Giant food company. The company was founded in 1903 in Le Sueur, Minnesota, as the Minnesota Valley Canning Company. The name Green Giant was introduced in 1925 to help market an unusually large pea. In 1950 the company officially became the Green Giant Company. In 1973, the Green Giant got a little assistant called "Little Green Sprout." The Jolly Green Giant was ranked by Advertising Age magazine as the third most recognizable advertising character of the century's top 10 ad icons behind only Ronald McDonald and the Marlboro Man.

In 1979 Green Giant merged with another Minnesota company, Pillsbury.In 2001 General Mills acquired Pillsbury and Green Giant.

For more information on the Green Giant Company, including recipes and history, visit the Green Giant web pages at

Mascot trivia can be found at and

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Holiday Inn's Great Sign

The traditional, Holiday Inn roadside sign used during 1950s-1970s era was known as “The Great Sign.” The signs were large, eye-catching, and were an American icon as recognizable to the highway traveler as the golden arches of McDonald’s.The signs were also expensive which led to their phase-out in 1982. It is doubtful that any of the old classic signs remain today.

My favorite Holiday Inn postcards are these generic artist-drawn designs of the 1960s. These postcards illustrate and promote the 1960s version of the idealized American family on vacation.

The postcard with the poolside scene also shows a Gulf Oil sign in the background, an instance of co-branding. In 1963, Holiday Inn signed an agreement with Gulf Oil Corporation to accept Gulf credit cards at its hotels. In return, Gulf would build service stations on the premises of many Holiday Inns, especially those on or near major highways.

For more information on Holiday Inn and its sign:

Wikipedia — Holiday Inn Great Sign

Wal-Mart of the Hospitality World

Come Inn Off the Highway

The Holiday Inn Sign

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Good Food, Good Prices at San Gorgonio Inn

The San Gorgonio Inn is located in Banning, California.

Variations of this postcard appear to be quite common — I saw five on eBay today. There are several variations in the prices shown on the sign, the wording on the bottom of the sign, and the colors of the sky.

According to an entry in Wikipedia, the original San Gorgonio Inn was built in 1883 and served as a stagecoach stop until 1920 when a fire destroyed most of the guest rooms. The inn flourished with the coming of both U.S. Highway 99 (now known as Ramsey Street) and of Interstate 10. It remained a popular, low-cost coffee shop until 1984 when the owners died. There have been several changes in ownership since then.

The most recent information that I could find on the Internet indicates that the restaurant is closed, but the sign is still there.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Vegas Vic at Pioneer Club

The back of this postcard states that this cowboy sign was the largest mechanical neon lighted sign in the world. The Howdy Podner of Las Vegas greeted visitors to the famous Pioneer Club, complete with 24 hour gaming and the comfortable cocktail lounge and saloon.

Information from Wikipedia:

Vegas Vic is the unofficial, yet most widely used name for the Las Vegas neon sign that resembles a cowboy. The sign was a departure in graphic design from typeface based neon signs, to a friendly and welcoming human form of a cowboy. His human like abilities of talking and waving his arm constituted an immediate acceptance as the unofficial welcoming sign reproduced thousand of times over the years and all over the world. It was constructed in 1951 and stood over the Pioneer Club on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, replacing a neon sign which simply read Pioneer Club accompanied by a cowboy hat.

The Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) built a 75-foot tall neon version of a sign used by the Chamber of Commerce in 1947, designed by Salt Lake City graphic artist Partrick Denner and consisting of a cowboy in blue jeans with a yellow-checked shirt and red bandanna. It was complete with a waving arm, a moving cigarette, and a recording of "howdy pardner!" every 15 minutes, by the then president of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, Maxwell Kelch.

The recording was turned off in 1966, when Lee Marvin, a guest at The Mint Hotel & Casino, complained that he was too loud. It was replaced in the 1980s, but as of 2006 no longer works. The arm stopped waving in 1991. When the Fremont Street Experience was under construction in 1994, part of his hat was cut off in construction to make room for the roof.

This postcard was mailed in 1954.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Motel Sign -- Pine To Palm

This is a 1957 postcard by Curt Teich. It is the prettiest postcard view of a motel and its sign that I have seen. It isn't the prettiest motel or the prettiest sign -- just the prettiest card with good lighting, color, and composition.

The Pine to Palm Motel was located in Crookston, Minnesota.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Affordable Housing

This postcard advertises model houses by Merickel Lumber Mills of Wadena, Minnesota. The card is not dated--I would guess it is from mid to late 1950s. The prices seem really astounding today:

"Miss A-Miracle" -- 2 Bed Room Home -- $2100.00
"Merickel Senior" -- 3 Bed Room Home -- $3150.00
Garage and Breezeway Extra -- $800.00

It is not clear what these prices include, but they are not the prices for finished houses. Merickel Lumber Mills has been in business since 1934 and currently has a website, The website displays their current model homes along with pricing. Prices are shown for shell materials, material to finish the interior, and more costly options. Prices do not include wiring, plumbing, or fixtures. Free 400 mile delivery is offered.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gas For Less

Record high gas prices have been in the news lately. Here is a reminder of the good old days. This postcard of a Hicks gas station in Canton, Illinois displays a price of 27.9 for regular on the sign.

According to the description on the back of the postcard, this is the "NEW LOOK" in HICKSATOMIC stations.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

For The Graduate

This postcard illustrates vintage 1908 topcoats for fashionable young men. The name of this model is "Graduate." The coats are by Becker, Mayer & Co. of Chicago, makers of "Viking System" Clothes.

The message on the back reads "from his teacher."

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in St. Petersburg

This Krispy Kreme postcard is interesting for several reasons.

First, this is a carefully composed iconic image of mid twentieth America which manages to capture both the the interior and exterior of the coffee shop. It also includes a good view of a googie style sign and a color coordinated 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon. Although photographed in daytime, the interior has an eery resemblance to Edward Hopper's famous painting, Nighthawks.

Second is the style of the Krispy Kreme sign which does not include or resemble the Krispy Kreme logo. Even the word "donuts" on the sign and in the description on the postcard back does not match the Krispy Kreme way of spelling "doughnuts." Roadside Peek's Donut Delights has another example of a different looking Krispy Kreme "donuts" sign, plus some other good examples of doughnut signs.

In researching the address (3441 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, Fla.) I discovered an article, a day in dough business, about the donut shop at this address. This article was apparently written in 2001 when there was a Fray's Donuts shop at the location. A longtime employee informed the reporter that the shop was built in 1947 as a Krispy Kreme shop and the sign (reading Fray's Donuts) was the first or second big business sign on Central Ave. At the time of the article, the place had changed owners four times since 1947. Current directories list this address as St. Pete Donut House.

Another interesting thing about my Krispy Kreme postcard is that it was mailed in 1957 to Cadillac Showcase of The Price is Right TV show. According to Wikipedia, The Price is Right frequently featured a home viewer "showcase," for which home viewers were invited to submit their bids via postcard. I wonder how many other postcards survived from this and other sweepstakes and are now in postcard collections. My postcard came from a lot of advertising cards in a 1980s Barr's Postcard News auction.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Beginning U.S. Route 1 Sign

I am starting a new topic for postcard signs today. I am planning to include postcards of all types of outdoor signs. Most, but not all, will be chrome postcards of roadside signs: highway signs, billboards, historical markers, welcome signs, advertising signs, etc.

I have been accumulating these cards for many years. Most have been found when I am not really looking for them. Postcard dealers are unlikely to have a signs topic — most dealers don't even have a roadside category.

U.S. Route 1 seems like a good place to start. Here is some information on U.S. Route 1 and Florida signs from Wikipedia:

U.S. Route 1 (also called U.S. Highway 1, and abbreviated US 1) is a United States highway which parallels the east coast of the United States. It runs 2,390 miles (3,846 km) from Key West, Florida in the south, to Fort Kent, Maine at the Canadian border in the north. US 1 generally parallels Interstate 95, though it is significantly farther inland (west) between Jacksonville, Florida and Petersburg, Virginia. It connects the major cities of the east coast, including: Miami, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; Washington, DC; Baltimore,Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York, New York; New Haven, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts and Portland, Maine.

In Florida, where signs for U.S. Highways formerly had different colors for each highway, the "shield" for US 1 was red. Florida began using the colored shields in 1956, but during the 1980s the MUTCD was revised to specify only a black and white color scheme for U.S. Highway shields. As such, Federal funds were no longer available to maintain the colored signs. On August 27, 1993, the decision was made to no longer produce colored signs. Since then, the remaining colored signs have gradually been replaced by black-and-white signs; at present, there are a few rare colored ones still in place.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Roadside America Postcard

Question: What is Roadside America?
Answer: A miniature village located in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania!*

* So "Roadside America" is not just a term describing popular culture of the American roadside.
As described on the back of the postcard (in very small type):

The greatest spectacle man has ever seen in miniature.
Which is titled as Roadside America which tells the story of life in America
from the cabin days to this period. It all started in June 1903 by two brothers
who climbed to the top of Mt. Penn at Reading, Penna. and reaching the crest
they say a beautiful panorama of 200 years of American Life laid before them. It
sure had the appearance of miniatures at 800 ft. above seal level. Lawrence said
to his brother Paul, "Let us start to build little houses as they look from here
to tell the life of the individual home live of America to the coming
generations." After all these years as a hobby, Roadside America is credited as
a shrine to American Life the world over.

Be prepared to see more than you expect. You will be amazed. Every true red-blooded American should see this display. Especially the children who will someday carry the flag and torch of destiny for Freedom.

The Roadside America, Inc. website gives a somewhat different story.

The indoor view of Roadside America, showing the builder making train adjustments, includes some additional information about the attraction — that the village then covered over 4000 square feet and was nearly 50 years in the making by Laurence T. Gieringer.

Friday, May 11, 2007

SPAM Postcards

I am a postcard collector and graphic designer. I also like free stuff and popular culture, so I was thrilled when I found this Spam Museum brochure on a rack with ordinary brochures and flyers. It is printed on cardstock with perforations for removing the three postcards that make up the bottom 2/3 of this clever brochure.
This is the 70th anniversary of SPAM. You can learn about SPAM at . And there is a SPAM STORE with some more conventional SPAM postcards, as well as an awesome variety of other SPAM merchandise.

About "Postcards Magazine"

"Postcards Magazine" is not about postcards! Actually, I discovered that there is more than one "Postcards Magazine," and they are devoted to travel, not postcards.

Postcards Magazine #1 — Carlson Wagonlit Travel magazine with articles about U.S. and world travel destinations.

Postcards Magazine #2 — Guide to travel, dining and lifestyle in Victoria, Australia.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...