Roadside America vintage photos show signs of Southeastern MA, Business


A giant Mr. Peanut. The piano of the Polish princess. Several gargantuan milk bottles.

Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, right? Not enough.

In fact, it’s probably something that stuck out from your childhood memories. How many of these unusual buildings, or kitschy signs, do you remember?

They are all from the John Margolies Roadside America Photo Archive at the Library of Congress. Photographed over a 40-year period (1969-2008) by architecture critic and curator John Margolies, the collection consists of 11,710 color slides (35mm transparencies). Common topics include restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters, motels, signage, miniature golf courses, and beach and mountain resorts.

After:From the Archives: Take a look at photos of Fall River

According to her biography on the Library of Congress website: “The work of Margolies Roadside America recounted a period in American history defined by the automobile and the ease of travel it allowed. Emerging with the prosperity of the post-WWII era, highway and commercial structures spread with the suburban boom and the expansion of paved roads across the United States. Yet in many cases the only remaining record of these buildings is on Margolies’ film, as tourist architecture has been endangered by the expansion of the interstate system and the change in travel desires. “

After:The Newbie: As single as Salty the Seahorse

Which one do you miss the most? Click here or scroll down to view our survey.

Some were signs that it was just hard to miss.

Getmor Gas sign, Dighton.
Dee's Hot Dogs sign, New Bedford, Massachusetts (2005).
Byron Seafood Restaurant Sign, Wareham, Massachusetts (1984).

And who can forget the drive-in theaters that were so popular back then?

Bay State Drive-in, Seekonk.
Seekonk Twin Drive-in.
Dartmouth Automobile Theater, Dartmouth, Massachusetts (1984).

Some of the photographs capture unusual buildings and architecture that dotted the area.

Log cabin stand, Swansea.
Gary's hair salon, Seekonk.
Mark You Restaurant, Fall River, Massachusetts (1978).

Of course, nothing is more unusual than giant milk bottles and milk cans.

Milk Bottle Restaurant, Raynham.
Salvatore's, Dartmouth.
Frates Dairy Milk Bottle, New Bedford, Massachusetts (1984).
Golden Bucket, Seekonk, Massachusetts (1984).

And some of the photos just capture some of our favorite places to visit, at the time.

Jolly Cholly, North Attleboro.
Diner, Pleasant Street, Fall River, Massachusetts (1984).
Pink Octopus, Putter's Paradise Mini Golf, Route 28, Yarmouth, Massachusetts (1984).

And some just defy explanation – these are just really cool sites to see.

Piano statue of the Polish Princess, Swansea.
Sea horse statue, Mattapoisett, Massachusetts (1984).
Wareham Town Gate, Wareham, Massachusetts (1984).

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