Between destinations there are always opportunities to make new roadside discoveries. While I don't claim to be an expert on the American roadside, I do like searching older commercial areas for roadside gems like old gas stations, neon signs, or vintage restaurants. At other points in my life, I thought old commercial strips were rundown and dilapidated. Now I see these roadside relics as windows to the past, a past that is more threatened every day as my state continues to become more developed. So each road trip becomes a mini-treasure hunt and I'm excited to make new discoveries all the time.
I also try to re-photograph signs that I shot in the pre-digital age using my old film camera with my new digital SLR. Photoshop is wonderful tool for helping to enhance roadside images. I am also constantly in search of roadside relics to post to the Society for Commercial Archeology's Facebook page, which I co-administer. It is because of the influence of folks in that organization that I have learned this way of seeing, where a drive down the highway is not a matter of getting from point A to point B, but rather an opportunity to make new discoveries. On this next to last day of the year, I am thankful for this way of seeing and hoping 2011 proves to be a fertile year of new roadside finds.
The first five images are from a short stretch of US 17 in DeLand. When searching for roadside treasures, the pre-interstate US highways are always a great place to start.
Mid-century modern architecture is fun to discover in places you don't expect it. This is the back of the fire department in Palatka.
I'm pretty sure this was a Pure Oil gas station. One can tell it was former gas station by looking for the spot where the pumps used to be – there's usually a patch in the concrete.
Originally in the Ponce de Leon Shopping Center near St. Augustine's town square, this push plate on the door is the only evidence of this site being home to a former Woolworth's.