SOCIETY for

COMMERCIAL

ARCHEOLOGY

Advocates for America’s
Roadside Heritage

SOCIETY for

COMMERCIAL

ARCHEOLOGY

Advocates for America’s
Roadside Heritage

SOCIETY for

COMMERCIAL

ARCHEOLOGY

Advocates for
America’s
Roadside Heritage

On the Road Since 1977

Join us as we explore the 20th-century landscape of drive-ins, diners, neon signs and roadside attractions.

An SCA membership buys a world of adventure. A full calendar of tours, conferences and online presentations. Subscriptions to our celebrated semi-annual journal and quarterly newsletter. Free access to our website and vast digital library … and so much more.

Join Now

Bertrand Goldberg Gas Station at Night
Gas, Food & Lodging

Fuel for Bertrand Goldberg’s futuristic architecture.

Read Article

Bertrand Goldberg Gas Station at Night
Gas, Food & Lodging

Fuel for Bertrand Goldberg’s futuristic architecture.

Read Article

On the Road Since 1977

Join us as we explore the 20th-century landscape of drive-ins, diners, neon signs and roadside attractions.

An SCA membership buys a world of adventure.
Join Now

Bertrand Goldberg Gas Station at Night
Gas, Food & Lodging

Fuel for Bertrand Goldberg’s futuristic architecture.

Read Article

SCA EVENTS

Norm’s

MARCH 20: Sexitecture – Feminism and Mid-Century Architecture with CyndeLicious

Zoom Event, Wednesday, March 20, 2024: Join CyndeLicious, lover of all things vintage, kitsch, and architectural, for Sexitecture, a tour of the world’s most seductive Mid-Century Modern architectural wonders and the women who made these fantasies into realities. More Info | Register
Val Verde Park Brochure

RESCHEDULED – MARCH 6: Leslie “Dottie” Van Every – Our Own Paradise: History of Black-Owned American Resorts

Zoom Event: Wednesday, March 6, 8pm EST – You may have heard of the Green Book, a popular travel guide treasured by the Black community for its travel tips during Jim Crow. But have you heard of Black Eden? Or Idlewild? Or American Beach? These are some of the many Black resorts that were popular places many Americans spent their summer vacations. More Info | Register
LA Cocktail Napkin

ZOOM RECORDING: Patrick Quinn – California’s Forgotten Bars and Restaurants

ZOOM EVENT: Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at 8:00pm EST - Join us for a fun and fabulous tour of cocktail culture in the Golden State. Whether you’re the type to visit roadside diners, chic hotels, hidden dives, fancy restaurants, tiki bars, or, ahem, the neighborhood exotic dancer’s nightclub, napkin collector Patrick Quinn, author of Bar Keeps, probably beat you there and found a vintage cocktail napkin as a souvenir. More Info | Register
SCA 2024 Road Trip - A Walk Through Nashville’s Neon Canyon

2024 ROAD TRIP: : A Walk Through Nashville’s Neon Canyon

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN! Get ready for a great time! Announcing the SCA 2024 Road Trip: A Walk Through Nashville’s Neon Canyon. September 20-22, 2024. An amazing 3 days of neon, music, food, fun and history. More Info | Register
<span style="color: red">RECAP:</span> SCA’s 46th Annual Conference and Tour – Amused in the Alleghenies

RECAP: SCA’s 46th Annual Conference and Tour – Amused in the Alleghenies

Whether you were on the bus or not, join tour guide extraordinaire, Kevin Patrick, as he retraces our whacky and wonderful journey along historic U.S. Route 6.

EVENT RECORDINGS

ROADSIDE NEWS

NEW! THE JIM SEELEN MOTEL IMAGES COLLECTION

14,000 MOTELS

SCA member Jim “Motel King” Seelen’s motel images collection is now part of our library. This database contains more than 23,000 images with details on more than 14,000 motels that once operated in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

View Database

NEW! THE JIM SEELEN MOTEL IMAGES COLLECTION

14,000 MOTELS

SCA member Jim “Motel King” Seelen’s motel images collection is part of our library. This database contains more than 23,000 images with details on more than 14,000 motels that once operated in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

View Database

SCA ARTICLES

Gas, Food & Lodging: Fuel for Bertrand Goldberg’s Futuristic Architecture

Gas, Food & Lodging: Fuel for Bertrand Goldberg’s Futuristic Architecture

A common criticism of roadside buildings is that, from an architectural perspective, they’re not impressive creations. That statement, however, is not always valid. Bertrand “Bud” Goldberg is a fascinating example of a famed architect who initially displayed considerable design talents in small-scale commercial structures.
Manning’s: The First Coffee Empire to Emerge from Seattle

Manning’s: The First Coffee Empire to Emerge from Seattle

FULL ARTICLE by Tracey Pemberton and Mike Elmore – In 1908, an elaborate advertisement rose above the others at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Protruding outward from the top of the stall and looming over the heads of shoppers, the Manning brothers promised “Coffee Served Hot,” with small cups of coffee that cost just 2¢ and large cups priced at 4¢. An empire was born.
Literary Pilgrimage - How Anne of Green Gables Transformed an Island Community

Literary Pilgrimage – How Anne of Green Gables Transformed an Island Community

Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908 and achieved instant acclaim. Much of the appeal was the creation of Anne Shirley — a spunky, independent, and intelligent heroine with a fertile imagination. No fictional character has ever contributed so dominantly to a province’s tourism as red-haired, pig-tailed Anne.
Next Exit: Live Bait - Hayward, Wisconsin

Next Exit: Live Bait – Hayward, Wisconsin

Large fish advertise a fishing tackle shop in Hayward, Wisconsin.
Neon Comes Out: San Francisco’s Neon Gay Bar Signs of the 1960s and 1970s

Neon Comes Out: San Francisco’s Neon Gay Bar Signs of the 1960s and 1970s

FULL ARTICLE by Jim Van Buskirk and Al Barna – Gay bars were usually hidden, unmarked enclaves for only those in the know. Marginalized, they were frequently found in underdeveloped or industrial sections of a town or well off the beaten path. Often veiled behind tinted glass, the bars tended to hide the goings-on within from the general public—and the police.
Phoenix’s Mid-Century, Medieval Dining Experience: Green Gables

Phoenix’s Mid-Century, Medieval Dining Experience: Green Gables

By Douglas Towne – Once upon a time, an extraordinary restaurant magically transported a generation of Phoenicians back through time and space to King Arthur’s court in medieval England. Beckoned by flaming torches along stone walls, motorists entered the compound through a gate and were led to the castle door by a knight in shining armor atop a white horse.

Dr. Patrick’s Postcard Roadside

Blue and White Restaurant, Warren, Pennsylvania, vintage postcard

DR. PATRICK’S POSTCARD ROADSIDE: The Blue and White Restaurant

Constantine Spiridon and his two brothers opened the Blue and White Restaurant at 211 Liberty Street in downtown Warren, PA, in 1925. It was one and a half blocks north of US 6, certainly the coast-to-coast reference on this postcard showing its 1937 Art Moderne remodel.
Transatlantic Steamship Terminal postcard

DR. PATRICK’S POSTCARD ROADSIDE: New York City’s West Side Piers

A circa-1960 postcard shows New York City’s Transatlantic Steamship Terminal in the Hudson River between 44th and 54th streets ...
DR. PATRICK’S POSTCARD ROADSIDE: Cedar Tourist Court

DR. PATRICK’S POSTCARD ROADSIDE: Cedar Tourist Court

Westward across the plains of Kansas, US 40 originally split at Manhattan with the south branch following the Victory Highway through Salina (current US 40), and the north branch following the Midland Trail through Clay Center.

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The Society for Commercial Archeology is an all-volunteer road-tripping organization fueled entirely by your support.

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Standard and donation-level memberships available