Monday, October 31, 2011


Fading Glory by William 74
Fading Glory, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

A 1952 or 3 Packard sedan. I think it's a 300 or maybe a Patrician, but there were no badges to suggest this. It was sporting an Ultramatic automatic transmission, though.

I found this car in a tiny rural town in Illinois, parked in front of a rundown repair shop amidst a complex of grain silos. I don't know how long it sat there but I went by a few weeks later and it was gone. I've said it before, it's best to just stop and look when you get the chance.


Friday, October 28, 2011

The Berghoff

The Berghoff

Chicago's historic Berghoff restaurant closed in 2006, after 107 years of being in business. A classic German restaurant, the Berghoff brewed it's own beer (which is still available and is pretty good), and was granted liquor license #1 when Prohibition was repealed.

The restaurant's basement cafe reopened a year later, owned and run by the owners' daughter, and the upstairs dining room converted to a private banquet hall. In 2007, the Berghoff reopened, continuing a Chicago tradition.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Nashville by William 74
Nashville, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Nashville, as seen from the historic Shelby Avenue Bridge.

I like this shot, even though it doesn't show the AT&T building's distinctive silhouette. It has it all-newer, modern buildings (the AT&T and the Bridgestone Arena), as well as the classic 1957 vintage Life and Casualty Building (with it's neon "L&C" sign on the top.) But, you can also see a corner of historic Broadway, and the vintage storefronts along 1st Avenue North. It represents both sides of Nashville's personality-the modern, efficient city of tomorrow and the rowdy, countrified town of yesterday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sprague's Super Service

Sprague's  by William 74
Sprague's , a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Opened in 1931, Sprague's Super Service was a large gas station and cafe along Route 66, on what was then the outskirts of Normal, Illinois. It housed several different restaurants and stations, and was used until 1976. This old sign is the only one that remains, although the building is still in very nice condition.

Now on the National Register of Historic Places, there are hopes that this Route 66 classic can be reopened.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Edsel by William 74
Edsel, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Ford's Edsel was meant to be a separate, all new brand to compete with GM's midpriced Oldsmobile and Chrysler's DeSoto. It was a spectacular failure. Popular belief is that the car's styling-mostly conventional but with that unusual vertical grille up front-did the Edsel in, along with it's weird name. In reality, it was a combination of things, including poor build quality, pricing that didn't quite slot between Ford and Mercury, and marketing that promised more than the cars delivered. In addition, a recession in 1957 and '58 hampered sales of midpriced cars-Studebaker eliminated the Packard brand, AMC focused on economy cars instead of larger Nashes, and Chrysler saw sales of it's DeSoto brand fall drastically. The Edsel didn't have much of a chance, and was gone within three years.

That said, I've always kinda liked the Edsel. Stylewise, I think it compares favorably with most other American cars of the period. This one's a '58, and I believe it's an unrestored example as well.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Oasis

Oasis Drive-In by William 74
Oasis Drive-In, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Located on the outskirts of Lexington, Illinois, is the remains of the Oasis Drive-In. Literally by the side of Route 66, it was a popular burger joint for decades.

The building is still standing, and is in pretty decent shape, although I have no idea what it's used for. The old canopy provides cover for a few old cars, and the old sign is still there, missing letters and all.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kitchen Made Pies

Kitchen Made Pies by William 74
Kitchen Made Pies, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Vintage trailer from the Kitchen Made Pies company. Best I can tell, this was a regional bakery from the 50's through to the 80's, at which point the company went out of business. A friend of mine came up with a bunch of mentions of this firm in various business case studies, so whatever they did it must have been noteworthy, at least at the time.

I would guess this trailer is from the sixties-it has that really old look to it. Spotted in the town of Towanda, Illinois, along old Route 66.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Burlington by William 74
Burlington, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

A classic Baldwin 4-6-4 steam locomotive, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. Dating from 1930, this big boy served with the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy.

I like this shot. It really has that analogue, TtV look to it, and encapsulates everything I like about this technique.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Car Of Tomorrow....

Corvair by William 74
Corvair, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

...yesterday! A rusty and crusty Chevrolet Corvair. Trusty, too, as this was a runner-I think the owner was preserving it as found, in a state of arrested decay.


Friday, October 14, 2011


Lexington by William 74
Lexington, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Pointing the way to Lexington, Illinois, along historic Route 66. Originally a station stop on the Chicago and Alton, Lexington became a popular stopping point along Route 66. Now mostly bypassed by the interstate, the old road can still be driven.

I can't find out the history behind this sign, if it originally hung on a local business and has been repurposed. It's in pretty good shape, and I think it lights up.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Action Road

The Action Road by William 74
The Action Road, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Originally formed as a narrow-gauge road running south from Denver, the Denver and Rio Grande Western grew to be one of the major railroads of the western United States. The Rio Grande became known for it's mountainous routes, which were used to good effect on it's passenger trains. The Rio Grande was also one of the few railroads not to join Amtrak in 1971, continuing to run it's Rio Grande Zephyr between Denver and Ogden, Utah, until 1983. The Zephyr was the last private, intercity train in the United States.

Eventually, the Rio Grande was absorbed into the Union Pacific monolith, along with it's partner the Southern Pacific. DRGW stuff is rare in the system now-a few locomotives are still running around, as well as some old freight cars. This is an old coal hopper, one of a string I spotted parked up in rural Illinois.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011


Corvette by William 74
Corvette, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Hard to believe, but the Chevrolet Corvette wasn't a successful car when it was introduced in 1953. Rushed into production after making the rounds of various auto shows as a concept, the Corvette received mixed reviews. It looked fantastic, and the first examples sold well, but it soon became apparent that GM's new sports car was more of a cruiser than a racer. It was slower than people expected, and it was beset with quality issues such as water leaks and body panel fit due in part to GM's use of fiberglass for the outer body panels.


These issues were fairly quickly resolved, and the '54 model year cars were better built, and offered more colors to boot. But the Corvette was still a modest performer with it's six cylinder sedan engine, not the sort of powerplant that enthusiasts expected. This changed in 1955, when GM introduced it's new V-8 engine, which naturally found it's way into it's sports car as well. Sales perked up, and did so even more in 1956 when the car gained new styling, roll up windows, and other refinements.

This slightly down at heel example is a '55, with a V-8. I photographed it at a show-it is completely original, having been put in a garage in 1966 and not taken out till recently.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Oregon Theater

Oregon Theater by William 74
Oregon Theater, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
A former movie theater marquee in Oregon, Illinois. I have no idea how this sign looked originally-I think it probably said "Oregon", as the holes for the neon tubes seem to match up nicely. Clearly it had some extra decoration at one time, though, and it appears to be hand painted.

The theater has long since closed-the storefront is now home to an appliance store.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

North Western

North Western by William 74
North Western, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Bi-level gallery cars first started to appear in the 1950's on Chicago's commuter lines. A double decker design, they featured an open space between both sides of the upper level, allowing conductors to collect tickets from the lower level. It's a pretty efficient design, and one that is still in use on Metra today.

This is a former Chicago and North Western car, and was made by the St. Louis Car company in 1955.