Northwest Neon V

Welcome back for the next installment of Northwest Neons! It’s hard to believe that time is well on its way to August, but there are still plenty more neat neons to come!

DSCN2058.JPG

Dari-De-Lite; Mount Vernon, Washington

Yes, this sign is no longer a neon, but let’s appreciate it for what it was. Dari-De-Lite opened next to a Shell gas station sometime around 1950. Though all of the neon is gone from both the sign and the building, they look just about the same now as they did 68 years ago. Unfortunately, the sign is in miserable shape, but it surely still lures hungry passersby in with promises of soft serve.

 

savmart-3.jpg

Sav-Mart; Wenatchee, Washington

Sav-Mart has been known for its selection, its customer service, and I would guess it’s signage since 1962. Located off Wenatchee Ave, it is a family-owned appliance business that has somehow been able to compete against big-box retailers. Both the building and its signs still scream 1962 in a very cool way.

 

SavMart 2

Sav-Mart; Wenatchee, Washington

You may be thinking that this isn’t a neon, but before you make that assessment, look way at the top at the atomic spike. That part of the sign happens to be a neon, and a very special neon at that.

This space-age wonder is a Neo-Lectra, one of about 100 jack-shaped neons designed by Oklahoman Jim Henry in the 1960s. Although produced near Tulsa, there are a few samples of these signs remaining across the U.S.

While it may look small, the atomic structure is actually near 13 feet across. Neo-Lectras sold for about $1,000 a piece, which is roughly equivalent to $8,344 today.

 

Advertisements

Northwest Neon IV & Happy Birthday!

Today, there is a lot to celebrate! Not only has summer finally arrived in Western Washington, and not only is it the next installment in Northwest Neon, but yesterday was The Northwest Past’s third birthday!

Thank you to everybody who has taken the time to read, like, and comment over the past three years! With the terrible twos out of the way (and few, irregular posts) I hope year three is a great one!

dscn2013.jpg

Aloha Motel; Bellingham, Washington

In the glory days of Highway 99, before all sections of I-5 were complete, Samish Way served as part of a motel-lined north-south arterial through Bellingham. Coming a little late in the game, but offering many modern amenities, the Aloha Motel opened in the very early 1960s.

Sadly, in recent years, the motel became the site of methamphetamine and murder. The city voted to condemn the building in 2014, and it was torn down the following year. Controversies and permit problems have kept the lot empty, but its tropical neon lives on.

 

dscn2040.jpg

Totem Family Dining; Everett, Washington

Also located off of Highway 99 (at the intersection of Rucker Ave and 44th), Totem Family Dining has been serving great food for over 60 years. Built in 1950 as a drive-in, Totem was a hot hang-out for local teenagers. Long-time owners, Bliss and Joyce Settergren, turned the drive-in into a dine-in.

For almost seven decades, a huge cedar story pole stood at this same intersection, giving the restaurant its name. The totem pole, carved in the 1923 by the talented William Shelton, was removed in 1996 after rot was discovered. The damaged totem pole was returned to the Tulalip people, who hope to restore and someday display it.

 

DSCN2034.JPG

Hillside Motel; Conway, Washington

Like the other two neons seen today, the Hillside Motel was another by-product of Highway 99. The motel’s roots go back to the early 1940s, when a gas station/grocery store began renting out rooms to travelers. A motel and restaurant were built in 1946.

Sometime in the 1950s, old barracks from Whidbey Island were brought to the site for use as additional motel rooms. Hillside began offering monthly rates in the 1960s. The prettier side of the sign, facing I-5, claims that the motel would be “back in 2010,” but it doesn’t seem like the motel was ever revived. A fire ravaged part of the vacant motel in November 2014.

Galen and Debora Johnson of Hillside Enterprises LLC applied for a permit that would allow them to build a new, three-story motel on the site. Their permit request was denied.

Northwest Neon III

Happy Independence Day! While you celebrate 242 years of independence with family, friends, barbeque, and fireworks, check out these neat northwest neons!

dscn2042.jpg

Pacific Stone Company; Everett, Washington

This has to be one of the coolest signs ever! Located off of old Highway 99 in Everett, this is one of the many signs that dots the former major highway.

While the Pacific Stone Company was founded in 1999, this sign and the building date back to the 1950s. Originally designed and installed for Farmer’s Garden Center, the name on the sign was changed to match the new business’ name.

 

DSCN2030.JPG

Cascade Pizza Inn; Bellingham, Washington

This chain has been serving up Greek-style pizza since 1974.

 

dscn2036.jpg

Harvey’s Lounge & Grill; Edmonds, Washington

While some sources claim that Harvey’s Lounge was established in 1910, most seem to agree that Harvey’s (at least at this location) dates back to the 40s or 50s. Located off of Highway 99 in Everett, its building was known as Monroe’s Tavern as early as 1949. Monroe’s was owned by a man named Harvey Robinson, so it is likely that the Lounge rebranded itself sometime in the next decade.

 

Northwest Neon II

Welcome back for the next installment of Northwest Neons! If you missed part one, you can catch up on that here. I also want to say thank you to my friend, Keegan, for helping me gather snapshots of neon signs throughout the state. Some of his pictures will appear today and in the weeks to come.

Ivars 1.JPG

Ivar’s Fish Bar; Seattle, Washington

Ivar’s is probably Washington’s best-known eatery chain. Its roots date back to 1938 when Seattle local, Ivar Haglund, opened the first Seattle aquarium on Pier 54. Children and adults alike flocked to Pier 54 to view local animals such as Patsy the Seal, Barney the Barnacle, and Oscar and Olivia the Octopuses. Outside, Haglund sat on a stool with his guitar and sang songs about the aquarium’s inhabitants.

Before long, Haglund and West Seattleite Roy Buckley opened a fish and chips counter across from the seal cage. Its wild success angered the neighboring Steve’s Restaurant, causing the counter to close after only a year. In 1946, Haglund opened his Acres of Clams Restaurant and accompanying Fish Bar, which remain in business today.

 

ymca-1.jpg

Skagit Valley Family YMCA; Mount Vernon, Washington

The Skagit Valley Family YMCA has served Mount Vernon and its environs for over 100 years. Its white brick building has stood on Fulton Street since 1941.

This sign, sporting the logo the Y used between 1897 and 1967, probably dates to the 40s or 50s. Several years ago, it was removed from the building and placed into storage.

 

naches-tavern.jpg

Naches Tavern; Greenwater, Washington

On the way to Mount Rainier in the tiny town of Greenwater sits the Naches Tavern. Origins of the tavern go back to 1919, but the sign likely dates from the 1950s. The name, likely derived from the nearby Naches Pass, has been associated with the tavern since at least the 1920s. The original 1919 building burned down sometime after 1926, and the current one replaced it.

Summer 2018 Theme

Today is the first day of summer, which also means it is the official start of the summer 2018 series here on The Northwest Past! In 2016 we explored historic motels around the state, and although 2017 saw a hiatus from a summer theme, I’m happy to announce the theme for this summer is… Northwest Neons!

Over the next several weeks, we will explore historical signs around the state and the histories of the places they advertise. So buckle your seat belts and get ready for the first installment in Northwest Neons!

DSCN9858

Apple Cup Cafe; Chelan, Washington

Some of you probably recognize this sign from a few months back on the blog when I attended the Mahogany and Merlot event in Chelan. Named in honor of the hydroplane races hosted on Lake Chelan from 1957-1960, The Apple Cup Cafe has been serving locals and tourists alike for 61 years.

Cocoanut 1.JPG

Cocoanut Grove; Bellingham, Washington

Perched off of Marine View Drive in northern Bellingham, the unique spelling of this bar’s name suggests it, or at least its sign, has been around since the 1940s or 50s. In addition to food and drinks, the Cocoanut Grove  offered live entertainment and dancing as well. The Grove was also the location of a September 1980 meeting of Veronica Lynn Compton, a protegee of strangler Kenneth Bianchi, and victim Kim Breed.

The bar was noted in a June 28, 1953 journal entry of poet Gary Snyder as he described a trip to Gooseberry Point: “We went back by the same road, and by the outskirts of Bellingham Jack pointed out a ratty looking place called Coconut Grove where he said he had spent time drinking with a ‘rough crowd.’”

rainier.jpg

Rainier Beer; Seattle, Washington

Yes, I know a reproduction sign has been placed atop the old Rainier Brewery in Georgetown, but this one is the original, now on display at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI).

Rainier Beer was launched in 1893 by the son of a German immigrant who had run a successful brewery in Wisconsin. 11 years later, Rainier’s producer, the Seattle Brewing and Malting Company, was the largest brewery West of the Mississippi. By 1912, it was the sixth-largest brewery in the world.

Although the brewery’s success was hampered by Prohibition, both it and the Rainier name were purchased in the mid-1930s by Canadian brewer Fritz Sick and his son, Emil. New management brought life back into the company, whose success allowed the Sicks to purchase the Seattle Indians, a local baseball team, and rename them in honor of the beer.

The iconic revolving neon “R” was installed atop the brewery sometime in the 1950s. It greeted millions of people passing through Seattle until 2000, when Rainier beer ceased production. For several years a Tully’s Coffee “T” stood in the same location, but in 2013, a replica Rainier R was constructed and placed atop the old brewery.

 

Parking Palace

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of parking in the city? Parallel parking? Pay-to-park lots? Dark cement parking garages?

How about a groovy parking garage-meets-shopping-center?

Meet the Parkade in Spokane, Washington!

PostC 013
Park in style!

There is no doubt that the automobile’s postwar popularity affected the US in the 1950s, but it affected Spokane, too. At this time of economic prosperity, downtown Spokane, which had been the city’s commercial hub for decades, was turning into a ghost town. As vacant buildings crumbled, they were demolished and turned into parking lots.

In 1961, a group of concerned businessmen joined together with the goal of revitalizing downtown. They hired a New-York based company (Ebasco) to assess the situation and make suggestions.

The report found that downtown suffered from deteriorating buildings, inadequate parking, congestion, and a general unattractiveness. Downtown reportedly suffered from a “general aura of drabness.”

What was Ebasco’s suggested remedy? A $26 million revitalization plan that included the removal of beautification of the riverfront, new buildings, and eight blocks dedicated to pedestrians. However, after two times on the ballot, taxpayers never approved the Ebasco Plan.

PostC 014
SPOKANE, WASHINGTON. The Parkade Plaza–shopping and parking combined with beautiful architecture–Downtown Spokane, The HEART OF THE INLAND EMPIRE.

While the entirety of the Ebasco Plan was rejected, the call for more parking and revitalization was answered in the form of the Parkade Plaza. Built in 1967 to the tune of $3.5 million, the Parkade replaced 6 crumbling buildings with parking for nearly 1,000 cars and eight shops. The dramatic structure receive an award for “excellence in use of concrete” the following year.

The Parkade proved to be popular and useful for the 1974 World’s Fair and is still in use today. Several of its revolutionary and modern features, such as sloped floors, may now be common in parking garages, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s wild design makes it unique.

 

 

A Letter for You

Once more, it has been way too long since I have made a post! I just got back from a vacation to Florida, and have been starting to gather materials for this upcoming summer’s theme. I hope to amass enough to post more regularly this summer!

Since it has also been way too long since I have posted a non-paper artifact on here, check out this 1940s letter from Auburn High School!

DSCN8804.JPG

This letter and its pins were included in a lot of Auburn High School memorabilia I bought off of eBay a couple of years back. The seller stated that all of the items in the lot came from a scrapbook they picked up at an estate sale.

Some of the other items in the lot suggest that the owner of this scrapbook graduated in 1950, the year the new high school was built. It’s likely that the school she attended this year was neither the second Auburn High School, nor the third from 1950. Built in 1910,  the original high school  was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1949, although it was used on occasion as “the annex”at least through the 1960s.

From 1949 to 1951, Auburn Junior High School served as a combined junior and senior high school. This is likely the school the creator of the scrapbook attended this combined school her senior year.

Attached to the green and white letter–Auburn High School’s present-day colors–are three pins: Auburn Hi-School, Homecoming 1949, and an FHA Pin.

DSCN8806

I’m not sure if the pin means to spell “high school” similarly to some versions of “highway” or if it sought to serve as a greeting as well, but this pin seems to belong in the vein of general school spirit.

DSCN8807

This homecoming pin certainly would not have looked out of place at the 1949 Homecoming football game! It’s possible this pin could have been sold as a fundraiser for the homecoming dance, or it could have simply been a fun piece of school spirit.

dscn8810.jpg

The final pin is a difficult-to-photograph relic from the Auburn High School chapter of the Future Homemakers of America (FHA), a national home economics club founded in 1945. Now known as the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), it aims to help junior and senior high school girls (and boys since the 1970s) experience personal growth and develop life skills through community service and other projects.

The 1950 Auburn High School that replaced this student’s school was demolished in 2014. Interestingly, a new brick school was built on the same location as the 1910 school.

Pathway to Recreation

Happy spring! I can’t believe it has been almost four months since the last post! I apologize if I left anybody hanging, and hope to get back to regular updates.

For many living north of Seattle, Highway 2 is the main pathway to summer recreation at places like Leavenworth, Chelan, and Spokane. During the winter, it can also serve as the pathway to skiing at Stevens Pass.

Check out this 1950s postcard of the Skykomish River and Cascade Mountains, taken from the side of Highway 2.

Skykomish.jpg
The roads had potholes back then, too

Originating in Everett, Washington, Highway 2 stretches from Puget Sound to Lake Huron to a total of 2,571 miles. In Washington State, it spans Everett to Spokane.

Like many Washington highways, Highway 2 followed the path of old wagon roads, which eventually became the earliest highways. In 1909, the state began maintaining the section of road from Peshastin to Spokane, calling it State Road 7. Eight years later, this section of road was renamed State Road 2. Stevens Pass Highway, connecting Everett to Leavenworth, opened in 1925 and was named State Road 15 six years later.

A section of US Highway 2 spanning from Idaho to Michigan with a few Washington stretches existed as early as 1926, when the United States Highway System was adopted. The route from Peshastin to Spokane was renamed US 10, and the route from Spokane to Newport was named US 195.

Skykomish 2
Skykomish River and Cascade Mountains, Washington. The Skykomish River winds down the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains into the Snohomish River, through a fertile valley of farms and dairies. U.S. Highway #2

In 1937,  Washington Primary and Secondary State Highway System was adopted, causing State Road 15, US 10, and US 195 to be rechristened as Primary State Highways (PSH). PSH 15 connected Everett to Peshastin, PSH 2 from Peshastin to Spokane, and PSH 6 from Spokane to the Washington-Idaho state line. In January 1946, the American Association of State Highway Officials vetoed a proposition to extend US 2 from Idaho to Everett. The proposition resurfaced at a meeting in December of the same year and was approved.

Starting in January 1963, the Washington State Highway System began renumbering all state highways. The names Interstate, US Route, and State Route replaced all Primary and Secondary Highways.

Highway 2 as we know it today was a result of decades of re-routing starting in the in hopes of easing traffic, beginning in the late 1960s. Within the past decade, the highway has made plans to reshape and widen the route in hopes of making it safer.

It’s Winter!

I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown since the last post! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Exactly one week ago, the seasons officially changed over to winter and the weather has definitely been living up to the season! With the recent snow, winter weather warnings, and plain coldness, who else is ready for summer?

PostC 003
Only six months to go!

In just a matter of months, we’ll once again be able to don our t-shirts and wander through places like Riverside State Park, shown here in this early 1960s postcard.

The Bowl and Pitcher are basalt formations rising from the Spokane River. Located in Spokane’s Riverside State Park, the hike to see them is a mere 2.1 miles roundtrip. The area surrounding the bowl and pitcher was given to the state in 1933 for use as a park. The park was developed from 1933-1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Also included in the park is a one of Spokane County’s oldest cabins, built in 1810.

PostC 004
BOWL AND PITCHER–RIVERSIDE STATE PARK–SPOKANE One of the unusual geological formations of the State of Washington, these two rocks which bear a remarkable resemblance to a bowl and pitcher, attract thousands of visitors each year. In addition to the scenic beauty, the Spokane River and park provide ideal playgrounds for young and old alike. For additional information, write Department of Commerce and Economic Development, Olympia, Washington. Albert D. Rosellini, Governor

Back in the 1960s, somebody used this card as scratch paper for University Realty. Anybody know what area the SK prefix (752) came from and what it stood for?

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have all had a day of rest, family, and delicious food! In case you are still hungry, feast your eyes on this 1950s menu from Busch’s Drive-In!

Food 003.jpg
Check Out Those Cars!

There is very little information to be found about Busch’s. Located at the intersection of 38th Street and South Tacoma Way, the building was originally a Triple XXX Root Beer. Owned by Frank Kruger, it opened in October 1936 after Kruger’s success with a smaller Triple XXX in Tacoma. Only seven years later, Kruger sold the restaurant to Bill and Thelma Busch who re-branded it, removed the rooftop barrels, and erected a huge neon sign.

Food 004
Back of the menu

Offering both dine-in and carhop service, Busch’s remained in business through at least the 1960s. A popular hangout for local youths, the restaurant sponsored local baseball teams and put floats in local parades.

Food 005
Sundaes and Sandwiches

One of this menu’s previous owners dined at Busch’s September 9, 1950 with Dorothy Nylin, Dave N, and Gil J. Apparently, it was a night to remember! That, and the Clubhouse sandwich!

Food 006
Hamburgers, Drinks, and Boring Sundaes

The menu is quite extensive, especially in the realm of beverages and sundaes. Not only did Busch’s offer coffee, but also Sanka (instant decaf), and Postum (a roasted-grain coffee substitute). Fresh fruit flavors were plentiful, including date milkshakes. With the detailed item descriptions, it wouldn’t be hard to recreate a piece of Busch’s in your own kitchen.

Busch's.png
Busch’s today, courtesy of Google Maps

Busch’s still stands today off at 3505 South Tacoma Way. Since 2008, it has operated as a kitchen and bathroom showroom called “Water Concepts.”

What are you waiting for? Go whip up a Pineapple-Orange Delight or Dusty Road Sundae and enjoy the rest of your holiday!