Monday, August 27, 2007

"Having a great time, wish you were here..."

One of my "net-auction-addicted" wife's saved searches on eBay is for "postcards - Oklahoma."

You would think she'd get relatively few hits on these particular keywords in conjunction with each other, but nary a day goes by when her email box doesn't contain at least one notification of an auction matching her search string parameters.

In fact, it was on one of her hard won auctions that we found a 1912 photograph postcard of our town - our street - our snow covered house, providing evidence that our house was actually older than the 1920 construction date listed on our abstract.

Our small town in particular, once a thriving frontier city almost 3x it's current size and population, has provided a plethora of postcards over the years.

Scenes of downtown businesses, to rising flood waters on Main Street, the red light district that sat north of town past the creek, a bottling works, Anheuser-Busch distribution center, churches, post offices, courthouse and tons more, are all fully documented as penny postcards which are now being bought and sold in flea markets and online auctions for ridiculous prices.

Every now and again, S stumbles upon a postcard auction that is too good to be true, and catches other eBayers off guard, when she gets it for next to nothing. Her recent bundle came in the mail the other day and we had more than a couple hoots and hollars as we perused through her treasure trove.

This will probably take more than one post to cover, but let's begin with some fun on the Mother Road...

Some of our favorite postcards deal with Road Trip Americana, which must include motor hotels along Route 66. I'm not sure if this wonder is still around, but a quick Google of it revealed nothing relevant.

Southwestern Motel
Highway 66, Phone 687 Weatherford, Okla.
"Enjoy real western hospitality - your home away from home. Free T.V. in every room - Restaurant next door - Refrigeratged Air - Furnace heat - Wall to Wall Carpet - Tile Baths. J.E. Tankersley, Owner

This one wasn't sent, so it has no postmark to date it, but the car looks to be an early-50's model. And dig that awesome sign.

This next one is just classic Americana marketing at it's finest. The address on the back just states, "State Highway 66, Oklahoma City," with no further details listed. Apparently these places are still around, and very popular with retro Americana road travelers.

Capitalizing on the popularity and image of a known historical landmark must go back to the ancient Egyptians, when some guy in Cairo built his inn to resemble a pyramid in an effort to attract customers. The Choeps Do-Drop-Inn -- free camel parking out back and a loaf of date bread on every pillow.Finally, we come to the Habana Inn, whose name and architecture must have surely been inspired by that wonderfully wacky little island off the Floridian coast.

Written in 1970, this fella's "wish you were here" notation seemed a little too enthusiastic for a long distance trucker taking a quick stop at what amounted to a Best Western with an attached night club. Face it, to formulate the word, "fabulous" to describe a motor hotel, must have come from the freewheeling mind of a flexible flyer down America's post-Hippie/soon to be disco-fied roads, circa 1970.

Then Google led me to the Habana Inn's website and it's modern day incarnation, which led me to the question of whether the Inn swung THAT way back when Lou found it so "fabulous" as well.

At the very least, I'm glad he had a "fabulous" time here in the Panhandle state.

Up next, a few postcards from those wild and crazy Native Americans!


flintysooner said...

My mom and dad spent the first night of their honeymoon in the Alamo Plaza in Oklahoma City. That was 1947.

Much later I remember several times our family eating lunch at the restaurant. It had refrigerated air conditioning and was worth a stop if only for that reason. I thought it was so modern. It had the individual juke boxes at the tables as I recall.

Darren said...

Those are great to look at. We don't even have a lot of hotels like that here in CT--probably because we don't even have long stretches of highway.