Dr. Patrick’s Postcard Roadside

Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where a sign perched at a precarious curve on U.S. 40 seems to challenge motorists to take their cars for a SWIM.

The pool is part of the Old Town Hot Springs, one of several hot springs in the Yampa Valley. The chugging steamboat-like sound of water gurgling from one of the springs is what gave the town its name. Set at the western base of the Park Range, Steamboat Springs became more famous for its ski slopes. Skiing and hot springs, a perfect compliment. Also visible in this westbound postcard view towards Elk Mountain is the Rabbit Ears Motel, an SCA sign-fan favorite. Just to the east, U.S. 40 crosses the Park Range over Rabbit Ears Pass, the motel’s namesake. Amazingly, the neon-lit, big-eared bunny sign survives, as does Old Town Hot Springs. The Large Pool, however, is a little more protected from wayward traffic by an embankment and fence.

The Plank Road

The Plank Road constructed across the Imperial Sand Dunes in 1915 was rebuilt by the California Highway Department a year later.

The narrow, one-track road with turnouts for opposing traffic to pass was difficult to keep clear of drifting sand dunes. It was nonetheless the main road between Yuma and San Diego until 1926 when a wider, paved road was built across the dunes on a high berm for transcontinental U.S. 80. It took a long time for the Plank Road to deteriorate in the arid climate of the Imperial Valley. A 1,500-foot segment of the old wooden road still exists, hobbled together in the 1970s from scattered remnant pieces as an historic landmark located on Grays Wells Road just south of Interstate 8.

The Molly Pitcher Hotel

The Molly Pitcher Hotel

The Molly Pitcher Hotel opened on South Hanover Street in downtown Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1919. It was built tight against the sidewalk and up against the adjacent buildings in the traditional way of the Pennsylvania Dutch towns.

The hotel’s namesake was town heroine Mary Ludwig, known as Molly Pitcher after the she followed her husband to the 1778 Battle of Monmouth and gained fame by dropping the pitcher she used to water the men to man her wounded husband’s cannon. A few steps from the Cumberland County Courthouse, the Molly was Carlisle’s flagship hotel, catering to an upscale clientele that cemented its reputation as the social center of town and place to go for fine dining. The 1940s postcard depicting the dining room and lounge shows a Dutchy-Modern décor with Streamline Moderne chairs and mirrored pillars surrounded by homey plant-painted walls. “The Molly” took on a different connotation in the 1960s and 1970s when it became a single-room occupancy hotel for the poor. Since 2004, it has been upgraded and restored and operates as a senior citizens apartment building.