Holiday Getaway: Day 1 (CT & RI)

The dogs and I are thrilled to sneak away for a few days — Bostonland, here we come!   I’m working way too many hours at my “real job” and also pounding away at the website.  I’m only halfway through inserting this summer’s Midwest photos.  But if you want to see what I’ve been up to, here’s the link:
http://www.agilitynut.com/whatsnew.html

I always try to get away for the holidays.   My birthday falls on Xmas so there’s no better gift to myself than a little roadtrip.  But usually the weather is pretty crummy and, so far, this year is no exception.  Grey.  All day.  So accept my apologies for the dreary photos and white sky.  A flickering of sun around 4pm — just as it was too dark to shoot.  Better luck tomorrow.  There are rumors of snow this weekend so I’m not sure if I’ll be up here for 3 or 4 days.

Let’s start off in New Haven.  This sign is sort of a plastic appliqué (don’t know the right terminology but it’s neat).  This is at the Owl Shop, a tobacco shop that opened here in 1934:
http://owlshopcigars.com/
There’s also an Owl Shop in Worcester, MA with the same style owl but in a neon sign.  That store opened in 1946 — but I’ve never been able to find mention anywhere of these stores’ relationship:
http://www.owlshop.com/

Also in New Haven.  This one came as a complete surprise — which in itself is surprising since I’ve been all over New Haven and have been there thousands of times for various things.  Since it’s winter, I didn’t have leafy branches to block the sign too much (close-up over at flickr tonight).  Since 1876 and still going strong!

 

Rubber stamps have special appeal to me since I was actually in the biz for a few years.  A girlfriend and I had a store / mail order / wholesale company called “Detailed Rubber Stamps” back in the late 1980s (or was it early 1990s?).  I was a slave in a cold, dark basement cranking the stamps out of the vulcanizer and sawing all the mounts.  Luckily, I still have all 10 fingers and didn’t die of toxic fumes.  We barely broke even since we clung to our standards of producing “art stamps” rather than stamps for kids.  I got tired of the 80 hour weeks and poverty and went back to my “real job” as office slave.  Anyhow, more than you wanted to know.

On to Providence.  A wonderfully ancient parking sign.  I don’t know which came or went first:  the neon or the spotlight bulbs.  The fixtures look pretty old as well.  This guy still points to a parking lot.

The other Axelrod Music sign declares “since 1910″ — but the space below is vacant.  Hopefully, there are plans to keep this crusty sign.  I have a feeling the next tenant will strip and repaint this one though.  A nudge to shoot those signs & buildings while you can folks!

I’ve shot this neat dome in Warwick, RI before –

but I never went under it before.  Neat-o!  The edges are kinda banged up by trucks.  I believe it’s used as one of those winter road-salt cover thingies.

A brand new building going up at Brown University in Providence.  It didn’t have a name on it yet – but I’ve done my homework just now.  ‘Twill be an arts center:
http://www.projo.com/art/content/artsun-Brown-arts-center31_05-31-09_MKEGKVP_v18.1b63344.html
http://www.archicentral.com/creative-art-center-brown-university-providence-ri-diller-scofifio-renfro-10091/

Still in Providence, but back in time.  1930s? 1940s?  One Park Row.  The woman closing up the coffee shop said it was Fain’s Carpeting and also a nightclub at one time.  So, more homework.  Sure enough “Fain’s Fine Carpet and Rugs” was here.  But all I can find is the build date of 1873 and nothing about the ground floor remodeling.  Vitrolite with metal — all appears vintage to me and not some later fake.  Maybe some Providencians will chime in with the scoop on this one.

Here are just two of the reasons that I didn’t wear my coat today when shooting in freezing temps. and now have the beginnings of a full-blown cold.  How could I possibly disturb them?  [That's Fix & Nik for my newbie blog visitors -- two outta four dogs that accompany me on all these adventures.]

Finally, here comes a little sun.  North Providence.   A close-up of the Christiansen’s Dairy sign over at Flickr tonight.  Thanks to flickr-ite 63vwdriver, I’m able to identify their cool delivery trucks as Divco Milk Trucks.  Cute as hell.  A fleet of maybe 10 of these guys sitting on the lot — a bit of rust but still in use!  This website takes awhile to open but has some great photos of these trucks:
http://oldcarandtruckpictures.com/Divco/

A stare-down on the roof of Christiansen’s:

For a break from the grey, let’s end with some color.  A brand I’ve never heard of.  And a bit cheaper than what I’d paid earlier in the day ($3.33 — Merry Xmas from the oil cos.).

Back at it tomorrow — moving on to Massachusetts.  Happy holidays & safe travels if you’re heading off yourself.

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16 Responses to “Holiday Getaway: Day 1 (CT & RI)”

  1. Update: looks like Fain’s might have been the one that built this glorious storefront:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gardenmuppet/1122097183/

  2. Love the Divco milk trucks.

    • They’re adorable! I wonder if there are any other dairies still using them.

      • Bill Slone Says:

        They haven’t been built in several years so I would guess that most of them have been retired -plus, home delivery has pretty much gone away. So, to answer your question, I’m guessing they are pretty scarce. I’m no Divco expert, but I was surprised that you found these trucks still in service, but that holds out the hope that there may be others.

  3. You’re going to be in my ol neck of the woods – can’t wait to see what you discover! Best of holiday/ birthday weekends to you!

  4. Hi again, DJ
    So, no jacket. And no hat or gloves either, eh? May I recommend getting some Cold-Eeze right away?
    Let me be the first to wish you Happy Bir…wait, did that already.
    Love the dairy sign & trucks. Classic cool.
    The Brown U’s art center: From the front: EH. I think the left side shot may be interesting though.
    Bet the Perkins neon still works.
    OK. Even though you may not have the sun you want, hopefully it won’t start snowing yet.
    Hope you feel better (Get that Cold_Eeze!)
    Gerald

    • Sneezing tonight. Oh well. I will hang coat over the top of seat tomorrow so I have access. Hat & gloves just for park. Not out of the van long enough during shooting for fussing with all that. I don’t trust the forecasters re: the snow — esp. after they said sun today.

  5. Wow, Debra, you were right in my work neighborhood (the Providence Journal). I’m a two-minute walk from that Axelrod sign and have been meaning to shoot it forever. I’ll go 4 hours out of my way to shoot something on a roadtrip but won’t bring my camera with me for a 2-minute walk. Have a great trip and happy birthday!

    • I’ve been to Providence countless times and always passed on the Axelrod sign myself. It was time! Didn’t realize you were in Rhode Island. It’s a fun and interesting place. Lots of skanky waterfront for the dogs there which is always fun — but not this time of year!

  6. Not my musical genre — but thanks. Feeling better. Had the heat cranking all day and I think the dryness killed the bugs in my body.

  7. [...] This is a photo of Fains Carpet Store in Providence RI taken some time between 1987-89. Roadwarrior Debra Jane Seltzer posted some photos of this striking storefront in her Roadside Architecture blog …, and I knew I had a photo when it was still Fains. Love the Art Deco [...]

  8. DJS- just happened across my photo of Fain’s in Providence circa 1987+ and posted it on RetroRoadmap.com, http://retroroadmap.com/2011/01/07/a-visit-to-the-retro-roadmap-photo-archives-photos-from-the-american-roadside/

    Thanks for reminding me about that lovely Art Deco facade – too bad they took the letters down.

    • Thanks — yes, I added this one to my website — 3rd clump down at this page:
      http://agilitynut.com/deco/ri.html

      Most of the time the blog is for non-site-worthy stuff. But in this case, I changed my mind and added it to the site after all. I wish I knew more about Fain’s remodeling. They might have been there since the ’30s but that facade looks more ’40s to me.

  9. [...] This is a photo of Fains Carpet Store in Providence RI taken some time between 1987-89. Roadwarrior Debra Jane Seltzer posted some photos of this striking storefront in her Roadside Architecture blog …, and I knew I had a photo when it was still Fains. Love the Art Deco [...]

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