What is: This store has everything!  Ashtrays, fireworks, keychains, ham, bacon, sausage, peanuts.  Everything imaginable gift and trinket you can think of. It has character…and where I first discovered real (no need to refrigerate) smoked bacon slabs from RM Felds.

What was: roadside stores like this were mostly family run and prospered in the 1950s and 60s as American families (baby boomer children) took to the road for vacations or trips to the local beach. When young American men came back from the war, it was a prosperous time, automobiles affordable and production expanding. It was a time for family road trips to experience America. Before the days of chain restaurants and stores, the character of regional foods and activities permeated through the road side stores. The road trip was as much a part of the vacation and experience as the destination was.

Highway 460, Waverly, Virginia.The abandoned and now destroyed Melody Motel/ Inn. Neighboring Adult Video Store

Its a short story…and in a year since this was taken…It’s gone.

Highway 460, Waverly, Virginia.

The abandoned (and now destroyed) Melody Motel/ Inn.

Neighboring Adult Video Store

What is: a Texaco gas station with a white Pontiac out front, the ghost town of Glenrio, TX

What was: The Texaco station was built by Joseph (Joe) Brownlee in 1950 on Route 66 at a time when Glenrio, TX was often bumper to bumper with traffic. Interstate 40 opened in 1973 and by 1975, Glenrio was on its way to becoming a ghost town as everything closed up.

Roxann Bownlee, daughter of Joe, grew up helping her father at the gas station.  It was a family enterprise.  In 1970, Roxann married Larry Lee Travis.  With the decline of business in Glenrio, Larry rented the Standard Service Station near Adrian, Texas and each day drove the 25 miles to Adrian in his white Pontiac.

At the time, a group of gas, shop and service station owners had banded together as a vigilante force to patrol the streets of Vega and Adrian.  On March 7th a 23-year-old Texan called Lewis Steven Powell entered the Standard Service Station. No-one knows what happened in those few minutes, whether Larry – proud of his hard work – refused to hand over his takings, but Powell made him kneel down and shot him in the back of the head before robbing the till.

Larry never came home, but his Pontiac Catalina did, and it keeps silent sentinel in Glenrio. Roxann still lives in the house behind with family and dogs, one of the few remaining resident of Glenrio.

What is: Family owned, with era restored rooms, 1940s phones that work, a garage attached to your room and amazing neon in the courtyard and signs, the Blue Swallow is a gorgeous and pleasant step back. Guests enjoy a reminder of what it was like to travel across the USA in the “good old days.” Still today, the experience includes sitting out with your neighbors under the warm glow of the neon, or sharing travel stories around a campfire. With hospitality provided by owners (formerly Nancy and Kevin) you will be welcomed like family.

What was: The Blue Swallow has been serving travelers along the Mother Road since 1940. Originally called The Blue Swallow Court it was open and operating with ten rooms. The motel has an L-shaped plan and consists of 12 units with a centrally-located office and manager’s residence. With its pink stucco walls decorated with shell designs and a stepped parapet, the façade reflects a modest use of the Southwest Vernacular style of architecture.

Lillian Redman and her husband bought the Blue Swallow in 1950 and successfully operated it until the 1990s, modernizing it with new, larger neon sign, and using the more up-to-date term, “Motel”. From the start, the Redmans put their customers first. When guests didn’t have enough money for a room, the Redmans accepted personal belongings in trade. She described the special and close connection she had with the Route 66 motorists who came in each night, “I end up traveling the highway in my heart with whoever stops here for the night.”

At the end of the 1960s, Interstate 40, took the place of the old Route 66. When I-40 highway came in, Mrs. Redman said, “I felt just like I had lost an old friend. ” Source and Visit them at #motel #route66 #BlueSwallowmotel #neon #sign #travel #familybusiness