Day 28: Cincinnati to St. Clairsville, OH (but catching up with IA & NE)

Today was the last real day for photo-taking and the roadside gods finally gave me a sunny day.  Of course, it was a day with lots of driving and far fewer stops than normal.  So I don’t have much to show for all those blue skies and clouds.  But it was still just a gorgeous day to wind down, reflect, and get the dogs great expanses of green and water a few more times.

I have two days to catch up on before I can post today’s photos.  And having just gone through the Thursday batch, I have already 20 photos for the blog for Thursday’s Iowa and Nebraska chunk.  Looks like I won’t be catching up tonight since it’s already midnight.  Big day tomorrow — all interstate to home.  I regret not having another two weeks for the Kansas, Missouri, and other stuff I had to skip — but it will be nice to get settled back home.  My normal work schedule is far less strenuous than these road trips.

So let’s get caught up on one day anyway.  The weather was the usual mix of grey and sprinkly rain.  The sun came out in Omaha for about an hour and that was that.  

I stumbled upon this sign in Lincoln, NE just as the day got started.  Who can resist a pouring bottle sign? 

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These signs are from Wahoo, NE:

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Normally, I don’t go out of my way to check out modern churches but this one sounded spectacular — and it was.  I wish I’d had better weather to shoot it in.  From Gretna, NE — the Holy Family Shrine:
http://www.holyfamilyshrineproject.com/index.php

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The CrossRoads Mall in Omaha, NE still has at least one mid-century touch.  This curved wall at the Sears Auto must have had a funkier font when the mall opened in 1960:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossroads_Mall_(Omaha)

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These tents were added during a 1980s renovation:

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This sign is also from Omaha.  I believe it has always been there for Reniers Pianos.  But don’t you think there must have been something more substantial there before the vertical plastic lettered piece?  Any Omahaites, Omahans, remember what it used to look like?

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I’m pretty sure this was/is a Bank of the West (also in Omaha).  Not quite sure how much “in use” this building is.  But it had a sweet old bulb clock display (which I think was working), these neat mushroom columns, and blue and white tile.  Sorry about the hexagonal crap in this photo — forced to shoot into the sun & other angles were worse.

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Under the canopy, a rather depressing scene at the moment.  Some sort of drive-up window, peeling paint, and this “Employee of the Month” sign.  I’ve never worked for a corporation that gave you a better parking spot based on job performance — but I can’t imagine this sort of recognition makes it worth the extra effort.

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More Omaha.  I have no idea how the food is, but the Bohemian Cafe sure provides a feast for the eyes:

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Three other nearby businesses…  I couldn’t tell if the colorful window pieces were glass or plastic — more likely the latter but still neat looking.

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At Midwest Tire. Gotta love any business that puts something giant-sized on its roof.  There must be some cities that forbid it but I seem to see this sort of thing everywhere.  This appeared to be a gigantic, real truck tire.  It would have been bonus points if the tire had been fiberglass or cement, negative points and not included here had it been inflatable.

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And you gotta love a business that coordinates its product with its signage so well.  A sheet metal sign, sheet metal letters, sheet metal trim…

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Still in Omaha.  I really tried to get a decent shot of the dogs in front of the King Kong gorilla display:
http://www.kingkongfastfood.com/

But they were all so exhausted by this point that at least one or two had their eyes shut.  If only I had the photoshop skills to cut and paste the best heads from multiple photos.  Grip for some reason did not want to a) sit or b) be near the other three.  Having Grem perform her “boyfriend” trick gives her something to do — but she still has that scary “I’m sooo outta here” look.

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A giant trompe l’oeil mural — sorry, didn’t catch the name if there was one which might help explain what the heck is going on here.  Lower left is a door which gives you a sense of scale.

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Despite the condition of these signs and the canopy, the business seemed to be doing just fine.  You could smell the BBQ for blocks and there was all kinds of smoke coming from the backside.  The cute little neon sign you can just barely see (litle green one under the yellow one) reads “Waiting Room”.

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Finally into to Iowa photos now.  This from a Stanton gas station where I stocked up on coffee and snacks.  It has become my ritual on this trip to hold off on getting coffee until 4pm which is when I seem to need it most. Before that means I just have to pee more which cuts into shooting time.  This candy I had not seen before and assumed it was an Iowa thing but it looks like from the label it’s actually imported from St. Joseph, MO.
http://www.cherrymash.com/history/

Anyhow, “Cherry Mash” turns out to be a chocholate-covered cherry marshmallow-like stuff.  The sweetest thing I think I have every tasted.  It was definitely a waker-upper and I ate it strictly for that medicinal purpose.  Note to self and audience:  do not set chocolate candy on coffee cup for display purposes even for a few seconds.  Instant melt, hence no close-up.

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A little sign in a little town:  Bedford, IA (population 1,476).

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A neat building in Mount Ayr, IA (population 1,822):

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The reason I stopped in Mount Ayr — a rather unassuming post office.  I had read that their WPA mural inside was incredible — and it was.  There were also other neat interior details — the dark wood paneling, tile floors, post office boxes, counter service — sure nothing like my post office back in Brooklyn with the bullet proof glass!

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For regular followers of this blog or this trip anyway, here’s another Dairy Sweet discovery — another example of the chain with a handpainted boy (rather than the plastic version).  Also in Mount Ayr.

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The Dinky Diner in Decatur was built by Valentine (best known for their diners) in 1967.  There is some resemblance:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/243542597/

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And lastly, this small town, old school Hy-Vee — in Leon, IA.  I haven’t seen any other old signs like this on my trip.  I’ve gotten pretty fond of Hy-Vees as I’ve been to quite a number of them for “supplies”.

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Next catch-up blog I guess will be from home.  Still much to cover:  stuff from Sign Museum day and the stuff from southern Ohio.  I’ll try to wrap things up Sunday night or Monday morning.

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18 Responses to “Day 28: Cincinnati to St. Clairsville, OH (but catching up with IA & NE)”

  1. wow. skeet’s bbq! we used to go there when i was a kid. paper plates full of bbq on top of wonder bread. so delicious.

    i love seeing these pictures of omax from your roadside architecture perspective. being in omaha you just sort of get used to taking this stuff for granted.

    i think that bank with the huge crack (is it on farnam and saddlecreek blvd?) was a bunch of different banks. security national and nbc maybe?

    see you soon debra jane!

    xoxo

    erika

    • Yes — that’s it — Saddlecreek & Dodge. Do you remember what that bank’s name was?

      See you in a couple days — back to the grind — the other grind!

  2. I totally dig the garage building. I’m betting it used to have three overhead doors.

    • Glad you like it. I really lke the lettering and design of it. You’re right, there must have been three doors there. Not sure if they had overhead doors then or if they were some other style.

  3. The bank was not originally a Bank of the West. Predates BOTW’s 2005 acquisition of Commercial Federal Corporation — an Omaha Nebraska banking chain — by a few decades.

    Another wonderful road trip that went by all too soon. I am very relieved that you have a nice sunny day and can take your time on the easy interstates for the drive home. And for once, you’re not pounding back 1200 miles on the last day, thank goodness.

    Best wishes to you, Sparkle and the crew for a safe, uneventful drive home.

    • Thanks for the info re: the bank. Yeah, probably only a teensy percentage of banks have kept their original names/status.

      Just got in a couple hours ago — might make you all wait til tomorrow morning for the blog as I’m pretty winded. PA interstates are killer boring. And I’m still making various To-Deal-With piles.

  4. I have to say I’m kinda sad that this one’s almost over. It’s great fun to start my day reading your blog…

    • I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the blog. I still have at least one more big post coming — but probably not til tomorrow morning. I hope to get some Flickr photos up later tonight though.

  5. army.arch Says:

    That Shrine of the Holy Family in Gretna is spectacular.

    Gretna, NE Shrine of the Holy Family 4

    And that Meats sign in Wahoo is one of my favorite.

  6. Quite a dusty, nowhere road to get there, huh? You sure had better weather that day than I did!

  7. my friend who lived down the street from the bank said it was a Commercial Federal Savings bank — which sounds right. but before that not sure. i can ask her to ask her mom — she might know.

  8. You really got some great photos! My husband Cliff is partial to the Cliff House one for sure :-)

  9. The giant trompe l’oeil mural, of a type that was found all over, was created by professional artists after the Depression. It was to give them paid work, of course, but also to spread the idea of creativity, productivity, the right for all workers to unionise, the dignity of labour.

    I don’t know this particular mural, but you can guess the meaning easily enough: you can see the tree being refined into timber which in turn was used for splendid building projects. Happy healthy children are playing in the green fields.

    Hels
    Art and Architecture, mainly

  10. More fun stuff! Your dogs are quite the characters! Love ‘em with the gorillas!

    • I was more than a little nervous about that shot because the littlest one is a bit unpredictable and there’s a majorly busy road maybe 50 feet away. Giving her a project (like holding onto Nik) helps keep her focused. There’s a ridiculously big section at my website just for the dogs if you want more.

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