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[Retro Roadmap] Derby Racers, Carousels for Thrill-Seekers

Posted on: September 19th, 2014 by Beth Lennon

 

Graduating from the sedate carousel to the thrilling Derby Racer is a rite-of-passage across the decades at Rye Playland.
Graduating from the sedate carousel to the thrilling Derby Racer has been a rite-of-passage across the decades at Rye Playland.

The merry-go-round -- clinging to the brass pole with the horses gliding up and down to the tinkling sounds of the band organ -- is probably the one of the first amusement ride memories one has as a child. With their gentle appeal to riders of all ages, carousels remain a staple at any amusement park or carnival.

But there was a time at the beginning of the twentieth century when a “grown up” version of the carousel was available to the more adventurous. Sometimes thought of as inverted carousels since the poles and mechanisms were tucked underneath the quickly spinning track, they gave riders the opportunity to experience the rush of horse racing. Flying along at speeds twice as fast as the more sedate carousels, these hand-carved horses raced against each other to an imaginary finish line.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.

 

Wildwood Motels - Lolipop Motel Exterior - Retro Roadmap
The brightly colored doors of the Lollipop Motel

The seaside stretch of the New Jersey shore known collectively as The Wildwoods boasts the highest concentration of Midcentury Modern motels in the world.

Located just north of the Victorian Cape May, these fun and futuristic buildings of the 1950s-1960s reflect an important era in our nation’s history -- the post-WWII decades when family vacations meant piling into the station wagon and heading to the shore on the newly constructed interstate highway system.

While this eye-catching enclave has a great many admirers -- from families who have vacationed here for decades to international travelers looking to experience the authentic history of America -- the threat of development still casts a shadow over the future of these boutique motels, despite their resurgence in popularity.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.

 

Stewarts Drive In Burlington NJ Retro Roadmap Mugs. Credit: Beth Lennon

Eating in the car may be a necessity for some busy commuters on-the-go, but to others the excuse to roll down the car window and have a tray of food delivered moments later by a friendly carhop at a root beer stand is an eagerly awaited summertime ritual.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.

 

To close out this round of historic bars, we're traveling to Massachusetts for seaside hospitality. Biergartens are coming up in July, so get your order ready!

Credit: Beth Lennon, Retro Roadmap
The traditional weathered cedar-shingle exterior belies the informal interior.

On an island known for its reserved and decorous New England ways, The Chicken Box is an unpretentious change of pace.

The Chicken Box was the idea of Willie House and his wife, an African-American couple originally from Kentucky, who came to Nantucket in 1948 as domestic servants for one of the many wealthy families that summered on the island. An ambitious man, Willie found a modest shack on a sparsely populated area of the island and opened the original Chicken Box. It was a place where their fellow chauffeurs, maids, and cooks could congregate and relax on their days off, catch up with friends, and enjoy some famous fried chicken -- the meal that gave the place its name.
... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.

 

Credit: Tyler Machado, Flickr
Salvador’s Ice Cream was built in New Bedford, Mass., but the business and physical structure was moved to South Dartmouth in 1935.

During the first half of the 20th century, the towns on the southern coast of Massachusetts had the highest concentration of dairy farms in the entire state. While most of the fertile pasture land has long since been cut up by interstate highways and housing developments, a number of iconic and unusually shaped buildings remain standing from that time, serving as a reminder of when family-owned dairies dotted the then-rural landscape.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.