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When I was at the Mod Weekend event last weekend in Fort Lauderdale, I was talking with other fans of vintage modern and thought it would be great to document these places on a map so other people can find them easily. I have taken out of town guests on tours myself a few times. The map would allow people to guide themselves.
I came home and have explored the idea. The first effort is HERE. Vintage Knoxville. I started it tying it into my website pages, but am expanding to add various cool spots.
If you’d like to help with the project, drop me a line. Do this for your own city! It is not hard, just takes time.
Now if there was a mobile app for this to drop a pin on the map as we drive, that would be super!
Just a bump so you know I finally added images of this fantastic Lustron home here in Knoxville.
The event will be March 15 – 17th and is centered around the Modern design of the Fort Lauderdale area. One of the architects celebrated will be Charles McKirahan. Besides designing several Modern buildings in the area of the event near A1A, he also worked with Bob and Jack Thornton to design the modern primitive Mai-Kai in 1956.
As part of the activities there will be a double-decker bus tour of buildings and the first stop is the Mai-Kai. I will act as docent and lead a tour, highlighting the design elements and designers who left their imprint upon the place and the genre.
I hope you can join us!
If you are heading to Fort Lauderdale for Hukilau next week, you might want to take a little side trip as you drive to the Mai-Kai and see other places designed by Mid-Century master Charles McKirahan. McKirahan worked with the Thornton brothers to design the stunning A-frame of the the original Mai-Kai, and also has many surviving grand designs in the area. A couple of side turns as you go will give you the chance to see these great buildings.
- Premiere Hotel – Just off A1A as you go to the Mai-Kai.
- Sea Chateau, now the Alcazar Resort - Now a gay resort.
- Manhattan Tower – Great neon, so check it at night. Near the Premiere and on your way to teh Mai-Kai
- Birch Towers - Now condos along the way to the Mai-Kai
- Birch House - Also on the way
- The Jolly Roger - now the Ramada Sea Club – On the left as you go
- Coral Ridge Yatch Club - Just past Sunrise on your way
- Coral Ridge Country Club
- Breakwaters Towers - As you come in from the airport
- Ocean Manor - Further up the coast
- Maybury Mansions - Further north
As you can see (if you looked) if you turn in around Bayshore Drive before you get to Sunset, and just cruise around those streets, you’ll see lots of great mid-century places. This area was home to the first Hukilau in 2003, but we outgrew the Holiday Inn very quickly!
History and preservation site to browse: HERE
This little station was in a movie filmed in Knoxville. Anyone recall what movie? October Sky or Box of Moonlight? In the movie, I recall there were like 20 Highway direction signs in front of it.
Great vinatge lines.
A phone? I forgot to see if it had a dial tone.
These lights must have shined on a lot of classic cars getting gas…
I picked up this new card of the Sharp’s Motel at the Clinton Antiques Fair today. For the complete story on this Motel, click here. A big postcard dealer. She will be at the postcard show with her complete collection. It was great to see a stack of just Knoxville cards. Other than my own stack, I’d never seen that before. I’ve had this circled on my calendar for months. I can’t wait to flip through all the cards and see what gems I can find!
OCTOBER 19-20, 2007- East Tennessee Postcard Show, Days Inn Convention Center, Central Ave. Pike at Merchants Dr. Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Milt Hinshilwood, 865-247-5767
I came across this site by accident and looked down the list of motels in my area. I realized it was actually a list of vintage motels that are still open. “Reasonable rates” sure. $39 a night or less. Will the room be awful and totally unacceptable, or will it be a blast from the past? I stayed at one not so long ago that had the coin-op vibrating bed with incredible vintage graphics on the box.
So, next time you are planning a road trip down memory lane, or, well, trying to relive a past you may never have had the chance to experience, this site will steer you in the direction of the survivors.
This post is very cool and I envy the guy. A great set of coincidences that just make your vintage heart melt.
Read the story. Keep vintage hope alive! Way cool!
UCLA has made a library of LA photos from 1920-1990 available and searchable online. I tried the names of some Polynesian Pop locales to see if I got a hit on the Luau or Tropic’s or Latitude or Tiki or Trader, etc. Nothing. This was the only teaser. A 1946 picture of Hilo Hattie (center) hamming it up at a Polynesian Society luau.
And who wouldn’t love to go to this 1949 Swimming Club Luau? I just noticed the lady second to left has a flower that appears to be taped to her chest. No straps on that dress…
No, I am not talking about Dick Cheney’s philosophy, but a great website. Retro Views has many original photographs of motels used for postcards back in the day. You can buy pristine copies from them for outrageous prices! This is some serious eye candy, but the Flash site sucks. Some samples:
Via the PCL
This soda shop is not a place made to look like an old soda shop. It is an old soda shop, vintage 1934. I have been here before, but never got pictures of the awesome interior until this trip.
A wurlitzer juke box has a box at every booth. And they work. The music is a weird mix from about 1978. Disco Duck and country you never heard of.
These doors have seen a lot of use!
When Basement Kahuna visited last weekend, he handed me a postcard for Dobb’s House Luau, with locations in Memphis and Atlanta. I had known there was a Dobb’s House in Memphis at 3135 Poplar (Is the building still there?) and am always on the lookout for items from that long lost tiki place. What was interesting about the card was that it was a Dinkler property. This ties it in with the Dinkler Andrew Jackson Hotel in Nashville, which had in it the “Surf Rider.” I had this card which appears to date from the 1960s.
The Dinkler in Nashville was a noted flop house for country music stars. It was demolished some time ago.
Which came first, the Memphis Dobb’s House or the Surf Rider? I don’t know. If anyone in either city has any knowledge to share, please do. A visit to the library to peek at phone book listings would likely get us further towards the answers. There is a Dobb’s Management Group in Memphis which is owner of the restaurant chain such as it is. I am inquiring to find out more from them.
Also, anyone with knowledge of the Islander which was in the 5th floor of the Uptain Building in Chattanooga, TN, please speak up! Here are better images of the Mahi Mahi postcard from his collection:
My research into the Mahi Mahi and Blue Hawaii in Nashville is here on Tiki Central.
The Tiki Central thread on ads for Polynesian Restaurants had me diggin this out to scan the ad for the Mai Kai. I am also preparing to take a lot of my collection to Hukilau. So, I decided to scan some of the images for this guide. 1957 is really a peak year for vintage style and there are some great views of the time here.
I had to start with this killer restaurant. Somebody tell me Doumar’s is still there and looks just the same! Click the image for the mega view.
A color postcard of Doumar’s Drive Inn. Man I want to see this place at night!
The Bahia Mar, host to Hukilau 2004 and 2005 and where the action will be on Friday night this year.
Yes, you can bank from your car looking just awful like this woman!
Enjoy deep sea fishing!
Mid-winter ice shows!
Causing a Hush when you enter the room!
Here you are arriving by plane!
And maybe stay or dine, etc. at the Yankee Clipper, which is the host hotel for this year’s Hukilau. They had a Polynesian review on the top floor back then.
Enjoy yourself Two Fathoms Down
And of course, visit the newly opened Mai Kai!
I posted this topic earlier and it turns out I was wrong. Mark said he thought the Dwarf was at the corner of Merchants and Clinton Highway. That seemed wrong to me because that building looks nothing like the postcard. A reader on the Swank Forums did the research and it turns out that is one of the locations. It has been very heavily renovated!
Here is the building now.
The poster also gave me an address for the other Dwarf Restaurant on Clinton Highway and a look at Google maps and I knew it was correct. I also recalled the buildings, as I pass the daily and it was all coming together. The address I had on the postcard was just plain wrong and sent me on a wild goose chase.
Here you see on the left, the Dwarf building and right of center, the Tate Motel office building and the cleared lot where the motel rooms were. Luckily, Google maps uses older images so this is pre-junk yard.
Here is the best image showing the two buildings in their prime. This is in the mid-1950s and it appears the Tate did not have the office building yet. You gotta love the sign!
Why a dwarf? It predates that Travelocity thing by a few decades.
Here is a later image of the Tate Motel and it looks like the restaurant is no longer the Dwarf. Also note the office building is there.
And here is a postcard of just the Tate Motel with no office. Look at the size of the trees to see this is an early image.
Here is a very early linen card. The roof sign attracted barn-stormers.
“Chicken in the basket” is a take off of the popular “Chicken in the Rough.”
Here it is today. The Dwarf and the Tate. I didn’t bother (or dare) poke around for remnants of the past. Not much to find I am sure and they would not welcome me.
This is a picture of the sign at the Sands on the day Dean Martin opened for the first time on the main stage. I had a little fun with it and added myself. I love that Martin Denny is in the second room that night. Classic crooner and the king of exotica on the same bill. Awesome! I make note of this for one simple reason. The Sands is destined for the wrecking ball. This home of the Rat Pack and of course the Aku Aku restaurant, which Bamboo Ben’s grandfather helped create, is being torn down so that it can be made ginormous. Go visit while you can.
I recall when I first came across Lileks’ site. I loved it. And then I wondered if people thought I was copying him. Well, I started my site completely independantly. Great minds…
He has posted Tennessee postcards now and has highlighted some places I have researched myself. Check out his images of TN HERE. Those cards of the Monteagle are awesome. Here are my pictures of it now. And the Admiral Benbow research is on my forums HERE. Sadly gone.