USA Yesterday and TODAY

Old Sites along the roads of the USA

This is my ongoing project to try to capture a part of American culture that is forever changing. It's hard to pinpoint just what it is that I'm trying to capture, but for lack of a better explanation, I'm trying to capture what we see when we drive on the highways of the U.S.A. Mostly these are old things, I guess to remind me of the way things used to look when I rode with my parents in the late 50s and throughout the 60s, but also I want to capture the interesting things we see today on the highways. Surprising as it may seem, what we see now on the Interstate may be changed beyond our imagination in ten years or so, and what we see today will be tomorrow's nostalgia. So I'm including some of that as well.

I began my travels in the late 1950s with my parents. In those days things were quite different and there were no Interstate highways, just endless blue two-lane highways dotted by many towns and curious roadside places. Snake farms, rock shops, gas stations and restaurants dressed up like animals or even cowboy boots, were all meant to attract the driving public.
Going to the bathroom meant stopping at a gas station and borrowing the keys. No fancy rest areas or superstations to make a pit stop. Roadside parks consisted of a few picnic tables, a litter can, and maybe a few trees. Eating on the road was different too. No stopping in a filling station for a microwave sandwich. If they had anything at all it was Lance peanuts or crackers. Eating on the road meant stopping at a diner or cafe and going inside and waiting to be waited on. Later, there were things like Sonic and A&W which were nice because you were served in your car.

Things have changed today, mostly in the name of speed and efficiency, and most of the older establishments are gone forever. But occasionally we discover a gem still in operation, and those are what inspire me to add new things to the collection.

I hope you'll enjoy my photographic journeys across the U.S!

Click on a thumbnail photo to see the full image of your choice.
The sites are listed alphabetically by name.

The still-playing 13-24 Drive-In Theatre on Indiana 13 just north of U.S. 24, Wabash Indiana.
2000 photo.

Another view of the 13-24 Drive-In Theatre.
2000 photo.

Arth Drug at 616 W. Stadium and Allen near Purdue in West Lafayette, IN.
In business from 1940s to 1995.
Postcard Photo probably 1960s. Now a Snow Bear ice cream/Folletts Books.

The still-playing Auburn-Garrett Drive-In Theatre on Indiana 8 just west of Indiana 327 north of Garrett, Indiana.
2000 photo.

Another view of the Auburn-Garrett Drive-In Theatre.
2000 photo.

The closed ABC Drive-In Theatre on Cumberland Road in Noblesville, Indiana (1997 photo) A note found in ticket booth shows electricity was disconnected in Oct 1996. Theater was demolished sometime in 1997 or 1998.

Another shot of the ABC Drive-In

The Astro Tri-screen Drive-In on S.W. Walton Walker (Loop 12) in Dallas. (1993 photo) (Note: main building burned in 1998, sceens torn down in 1999)

Another view of the Astro. (1993 photo)

An ancient Drive-In found one mile west of Atwood, Kansas on US 36. The screen and snack bar/control room can be seen in this farmer's ploughed field. Photo taken in 1997.

The B&K Root Beer drive-in in Logansport, Indiana. Many B&K restaurants can be found throughout the region.
2000 photo

Big Boy restaurant still operating in Heath, Ohio. This one is owned by Frisch's. (2001 photo)

The famous water tower in Collinsville, IL Shaped like a Brooks catsup bottle. (1997 photo)

Old gas station in Chandler, Oklahoma along historic Route 66 (1997 photo)

Clabber Girl billboard on US 40 just east of Terre Haute, Indiana, the home of Clabber Girl baking powder. (2001 photo)

The closed Cleveland Lakeside Drive-in on US 64 southeast of Cleveland, OK. (1997 photo)

Another shot of the Cleveland Lakeside Drive-in. Kiddyland and a lone speaker stand can be seen. (1997 photo)

Nice old Coca-Cola sign in Glen Rose, TX (1997 photo)

Abandoned DX station south of Wynnewood, Oklahoma on hwy 77, about to be demolished. (1997 photo)

Classic Dairy Queen in Huntington, IN. (1995)

Dairy Queen on Davis Blvd., North Richland Hills, TX. 2000 photo
2005 update from Kenneth McCall:
Location is now a Chicken Express.

Another view of the former Dairy Queen on Davis Blvd., North Richland Hills, TX.
2000 photo.

The Dog'n'Suds drive-in on hwy 52 in Lafayette, Indiana. Many of these can be seen throughout the region.
2000 photo

Davies' Diner at 1500 W. Colfax in Denver, CO Still serving great food as of 1997. You'll think you went thru a time warp to the 50s. Complete with a juke box control at every table!

Closer view of Davies' Diner

The Duck-In Diner on Hwy 52, 12 miles south of Lafayette, Indiana, has been operating since the early 1950s. (1996 photo). The diner has closed and reopened under different names between 1995-2004 such as Hiway 52, Oasis. Currently open (2005) as "Sit'n Bull Cafe."

Inside view of the Duck-In Diner.

Abandoned Riverside Motor-Vu Drive-In Theatre in Evanston, Wyoming in 1971. (Now demolished)

G & L Oil Co. gas station with oil derrick. On hwy 81/287 near Alvord, Texas. This photo was taken in 1967.

G & L location again, taken in 1997.

The 24 hour gas station... A modern oasis for the highway traveler. This and the following two photos taken in 1997, somewhere on the road.

Another 24 hour gas station... photo taken in 1997.

Yet another 24 hour gas station... photo taken in 1997.

Gulf sign on I-35 at Adams in Temple, Texas. around 1984

Hilltop Grocery and Apco near Ardmore, OK on hwy 77. Still in operation in this 1997 photo.

Four photos of the still-operating Drive-In Theatre in Huntington, Indiana.

Irby Drug in downtown Pawhuska, OK. A Rexall-style drugstore still in operation. 1997 photo

Jack In The Box with Jack the Clown figure. Camp Wisdom at Polk, Dallas Texas (1973) Photo by Mike Cirillo

Remains of Jefferson Drive-In Theatre screen and marquee. 4506 West Jefferson at Cockrell Hill Road, Dallas Texas (1997)

Jerry's Drive-In Restaurant. Check the burger prices!! 5603 Delridge Way in West Seattle, WA. Also a nice shot of a vintage phone booth. (1962 photo by Glen Whiteley)

Interior of Jerry's Drive-In Restaurant. (1962 photo by Glen Whiteley)

Jonesy's Standard Station in Lafayette, Indiana. Closed some years ago and used as a storage facility by the city library for a time, it has been restored and is now a museum of petro memorabilia. (1995 photo by John Cirillo)

Another view of Jonesy's Standard Station in Lafayette, Indiana. (1995 photo by John Cirillo) Click Here For more photos of Jonesy's

A familiar nighttime sight in the 60s and 70s was the car lot lighted by strings of incandescent lamps. Kinson's Used Car lot on Clarendon in Dallas, TX is a perfect example. (1977 photo by Marcia Cirillo)

Ladd Drugs at McConnell and Justus in Oxford, IN. Still operating when photo taken 4-27-2003. Closed in 2007. (John Cirillo).

The Lemon Drop Drive In Restaurant in Anderson, Indiana. Still operating in 2000 when photo was taken.

Maler's Texaco in West, Texas in 1997. An old-style corner station still in use.

Old McDonald's sign outside Lebanon, Indiana. Sign was originally located in Lafayette, IN and slated to be demolished when the Lebanon McDonald's owner grabbed it before it was too late. (1995 photo). 2000: Where did it go?? The McDonalds rebuilt across the highway and this arch is now gone.

New McDonald's Diner in Lafayette, Indiana. This is one of several test diners in the Indiana area. Located at US 52 and Teal, this one opened Dec. 2002. Photos taken 1-4-2003. Note: In July of 2004, McDonald's announced they have discontinued the Diner program.

Mike's Flying 'A' station on Ambaum Road in the Burien area of Seattle, WA. Photo taken in 1961. That's my dad in the photo.

This photo of Oscoda, MI, taken in 1964 by Lucy Gridley, is from a postcard. Ben Franklin is gone, but Gilbert's Rexall is still in operation. From the personal collection of Bobby Peacock.

Abandoned gas station/store in Peru, Kansas. 1990 photo

Pete's Motel and Sinclair on Highway 191 in West Yellowstone, Montana. A few blocks north of the West Entrance to Yellowstone Park. From a postcard obtained in the motel lobby. Photo taken around 1960.
Potter's Bridge, Noblesville, Indiana
Potter's Bridge in Noblesville, Indiana. No longer accessible by car, this bridge is now part of a roadside park. 2000 photo by Sonya Cirillo.

The old Round Barn on US 66 in Arcadia, Oklahoma. The place has been renovated and is a cross between a museum and giftshop. 1997 photo.

Examples of Route 66 signs as seen in Oklahoma in 1997

Couldn't resist including this photo. This is a section of an older alignment of US Rt. 66 in Oklahoma. It is still accessible but leads to a ravine ahead. The new hwy is seen at the left. 1997 photo.

Rusting gasoline pumps of another era. Found at an antique store near Waco, Texas. 1997 photo.

Shamrock Truck Stop in New Mexico, 1965 Source: Shamrock company publications. From the collection of Les Cobb.

Shot of a classic Sinclair station, taken in 1997. New and old signs and even dinosaurs! I found this station in Ardmore, OK on US 77. Glad I caught this. They tore it down around 2003 and put in a Convenience Store.
Star Structures in Miami, Oklahoma
Some strange star structures on Route 66 just north of Miami, Oklahoma. I am including several shots of these interesting roadside structures.

Remember Stuckey's? This photo is of an older store that has been renovated. Location: Altamont, Illinois on I-70 at exit 82A (1997 photo).

Swadley Drug in Attica, Indiana, taken 2001. Still in operation as of 2003

Taco Bell with original sign at I-35 and Adams, Temple Texas (around 1984)

Another corner Texaco, this one at Clarendon and Edgefield in Dallas, Texas. Photo taken in 1985.

The Diner on US 40 just east of Plainfield, IN (CR 1050E at US 40). 2001 photo.

Triple XXX Root Beer on State St at Salisbury, West Lafayette, IN. has been serving up great food since 1929.

More photos to come!

Don't miss our Fort Worth Yesterday page or the Gasoline Signs page for other travel and memorabilia sites not included here!

Other great links:

Twig Gravely's Lendy's Restaurants page.

Twig Gravely's Kenney's Drive-In Restaurants page.

Syd Nagoshi's Roadside Peek pages.

A complete list of favorite Other Links of motoring and memorabilia stuff.

All photos Copyright © 1997,2000,2002,2004,2005 by John and Sonya Cirillo unless otherwise noted.
(Uncredited photos prior to 1997 were taken by John, 1997 and thereafter mostly by Sonya.)

Thanks to John Nightingale for some touch-up work on the Jack In The Box photo!

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This page last updated on November 22, 2007.

Note: Background photo was taken on US 87 in New Mexico eastbound from Raton. Capulin volcano is seen on the horizon.

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