For decades, architectural critic and photographer John Margolies obsessively documented roadside attractions: vernacular architecture, weird sculpture, odd businesses and amusements. By his death in 2016, his collection consisted of more than 11,000 slides (he published books of his favorites, with annotations).
The Library of Congress purchased the Margolies archive and has released it to the public domain, with hi-rez scans of 11,710 slides.
Almost all of Margolies’ work was done in the interest of preserving images of what would otherwise be lost to time. Even his first book, published in 1981, was elegiacally called The End of the Road: Vanishing Highway Architecture in America. From the start, Margolies knew the quirky motels, miniature golf courses, diners, billboards, and gas stations were being endangered by franchising and changing fashions — not to mention changing patterns of automobile traffic. (For decades now, most drivers have, of course, opted for the high speed-limits of superhighways and the convenience of service areas, leaving the old local highways in the lurch.)
John Margolies’ Photographs of Roadside America [Public Domain Review]
John Margolies [Library of Congress]
Roadside America [Library of Congress/Flickr Commons]
From the 1950s until the 1980s, Randy and Dotti Smith supplied a line of fantastic cast sculptures sold in Disney theme-park gift shops, especially a line of skulls sold in shops associated with the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean rides; these Randotti skulls haven't been sold in decades, you can still find used ones (at high prices) online, as Boing Boing pal and fabulous illustrator Coop discovered when he sourced an impressive collection of Randotti sculpts.
On October 1, Minnesota Public Radio's Cody Nelson published a really important story about student debt; on October 4, I summarized the article and linked to it here, crediting Nelson and MPR.
SCP Foundation is an online shared world whose members create delightful fiction, movies, games and other media. It's a sprawling, global, friendly phenomenon, licensed under Creative Commons.
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