• Gas

    Gas stations, auto repair, tire shops, and car care …

    gasoline-graveyard-wide
  • Food

    Fast food, drive-ins, diners, and hot dog stands …

    Neely's Barbecue Sandwiches
  • Lodging

    Hotels, motels, tourist courts, inns, and cabins …

    holiday-inn-motel-florida
  • Attractions

    Trading posts, amusement parks, shrines, and oddities …

    Airstream Vacation

Gas

Fill up your tank with gas station history and filling station folklore—past and present. It’s all here, from America’s first visible register pumps to the mega convenience stores of today.

Food

It's breakfast, lunch, and dinner to go as we head out on a culinary road trip to sample the food at America’s best—and worst—roadside restaurants, drive-ins, diners, and cafes.

Lodging

As night falls and the neon “Vacancy” signs flicker to life, load up your bags in the trunk as we hit the road in search of America’s most memorable hotels, cheap motels, and tourist courts.

Attractions

Let's take a detour from the ordinary and ride the fringe—as we gaze in wonder at the amazing amusements, diversions, and oddities found along the coast-to-coast sideshow.

05th Feb
The Quarter-pounder with cheese

Birthplace of the Hamburger

Sure, history books tell of the Tartar’s fondness for raw meat and how sailors from Germany loved to order Hamburg Style Steak upon their arrival in the New World. The real question is: Who created America’s first all-beef patty, ancestral prototype of today’s Quarter Pounder, Big Mac, and Whopper? Pinpointing the origination of the hamburger …

08th Nov
Beaumont Pig Stand

The Texas Pig Stands Drive-In

“People in their cars are so lazy that they don’t want to get out of them to eat!” The proclamation still rings as true today as it did when candy and tobacco magnate Jessie G. Kirby first uttered the words in 1921. At the time, he was trying to interest Rueben W. Jackson, a Dallas, Texas physician to invest in a new idea for a roadside restaurant …

07th Nov
flying_a_patch

Al Bell’s Flying A Service Station

During World War II, Allen P. Bell was transferred to the Air Base in Kingman, Arizona to work his tour of duty as an aircraft mechanic. On his 21st birthday he stepped off the train, walked down old Route 66 a ways, and observed the desolation. “What is this God forsaken place? he asked himself. […]

04th Nov
Bob's Double-Deck Big Boy Cheeseburger

Bob Wian’s Big Boy Burger

Robert Wian learned the restaurant business the hard way. When his father’s furniture business faltered during the early thirties, he took a job washing dishes at the White Log Tavern to help out. Although fresh from high-school, it didn’t take long for him to become manager. His experience was soon rolled over into a better […]

01st Sep
McDonalds Golden Arches (circa 1950s)

Fable of the Golden Arches

Richard and Maurice McDonald were planning to franchise their successful burger system in 1952. To stand above the visual noise created by miles of drive-ins, motels, car washes, bowling alleys, service stations, and coffee-shops—they decided a new structural style was needed. Without a unique design, nationwide recognition for their walk-up stand was an impossibility. With […]

22nd Jun
The Quarter-pounder with cheese

Hamburger Architecture

Hamburgers made their debut on the food scene as irregular lumps of chopped beef, hand shaped according to the improvisational jazz of lunch counter short order. During the early years, long before the cookie-cutter aesthetics of the Big Mac came into vogue, concerns over circular uniformity and ingredients were minimal. When fry by the seat of […]

28th May
baker_hotel

Crazy Water in Mineral Wells, Texas

Today, the remnants of a once booming mineral water business can still be seen in the town of Mineral Wells, Texas. Originally built as a seven-story luxury resort, the Crazy Hotel is now a retirement home; the Milling Sanitarium a VFW hall, and the towering Baker Hotel—once the playground of screen stars, crooners, and oilmen—sits […]

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