Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels by William 74
Hot Wheels, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
This combines two of my favorite things-muscle cars and pop culture. This is the Chevrolet Camaro Hot Wheels special edition. I especially dig the alloys that look like the toy wheels, and the red line tires.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tivoli Lanes

Tivoli Lanes by William 74
Tivoli Lanes, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
When I rule the world, I will enact a law making it mandatory for all bowling alleys to have cool neon signs out front.

Tivoli Lanes, Downers Grove, IL

Monday, February 18, 2013

Farm Fresh

Chevrolet by William 74
Chevrolet, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
The term "barn find" has come to mean some sort of old car that's been sitting, forgotten, for a number of years, to the point where nobody's sure where it is or how long it's been sitting. But they're not always in barns anymore-garages, warehouses, old gas stations, and garden sheds are all typical hiding places.

Sometimes, though, you get a literal barn find. This '62-ish Chevrolet coupe has been sitting for a good long time, in a ramshackle grain crib in rural Illinois. I have no idea if this is a rare car, with a big block and a four speed or something, but the skinny tires sort of make me think it's packing a straight six and a three on the tree. Nevertheless, this would be a neat car, restored. Whether it could be I don't know.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

G.C. Murphy

G.C. Murphy by William 74
G.C. Murphy, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
G.C. Murphy was a chain of five-and-dimes, founded in 1906 in McKeesburg, PA by George Clinton Murphy, and within three years had expanded to a dozen area locations. As the company expanded through the 1920's they became popular, particularly because of their locations in small and medium sized towns. Often, these towns were under-served for retail locations, and the well designed Murphy's stores, complete with lunch counters, would be a frequent and popular destination.

G.C. Murphy began to experiment with other types of store, eventually opening Murphy's Mart stores in suburban shopping centers to compete with Woolworth's and KMart type stores. These proved popular as well, and the company had grown to over 500 stores by the 1970's. In 1985, the company was purchased by Ames, which rebranded many older G.C. Murphy and Murphy's Mart stores, but a large number remained with the original names. McCrory's purchased the chain in the late 80's, but by the mid 90's had declared bankruptcy and closed many of their locations. By 2001, it was all over.

This G.C. Murphy tile entryway is in a former location in Streator, Illinois, just the sort of medium-sized town these kinds of stores flourished in.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Plymouth Valiant #1 by William 74
Plymouth Valiant #1, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
Originally it's own make within Chrysler, the Plymouth Valiant was the company's entry level range, and had a full range of models. Originally available only with a six cylinder engine, the Valiant was Chrysler's first unit-construction car since the pre-war Airflow.

I spotted this one on a side street in Chicago a few years ago. It was clearly still in regular use-I only saw it the one time in my neighborhood-and I never did get a decent shot of the whole car.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wheaton Grand Theater

Wheaton Grand Theater by William 74
Wheaton Grand Theater, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
The Wheaton Grand Theater (or just the Grand) opened in 1925, with one screen and 1,000 seats. It first closed in the late 90's as a second run theater, but new owners re-opened and ran classic films, concerts, and other shows until 2006. The Grand has sat empty since, although a new owner is in the process of renovating and hopes to re-open in 2014.

I think this sign has been lightly refurbished in the last year or so-the paint looks nice and bright, even though the glass is mostly broken and missing. I hope the restoration of this cool old theater is successful-the exterior is still in nice shape and has lots of great period detail. It should look great.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fresh Snow and Monochrome

Winter Quiet by William 74
Winter Quiet, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
I'm about to institute iPhone Wednesdays around here. I seem to be doing more phoneography than usual. Anyway, this is the Japanese garden at the Fabyan Forest Preserve in Batavia, Illinois. Fresh snow and monochrome!