Dr. Patrick’s Postcard Roadside

Lemon Grove’s Giant Lemon

In the roadside world of Big Food, California has giant citrus lying around all over the place including Lemon Grove’s Giant Lemon.

Once surrounded by lemon groves, this San Diego suburb first rolled out its giant lemon for a 4th of July parade in 1928. It was weather-proofed and set up at the intersection of Broadway & Main depicted on this 1950s postcard where it still sits today emblazoned with the town’s slogan, “Best Climate on Earth.”

Vulcan in Birmingham

World’s Fair Refugee: Vulcan in Birmingham, Alabama.

Although World’s Fairs are designed as temporary expositions to be demolished at their conclusions, landmark pieces nearly always survive as cherished civic mementos of the fair: New York’s Unisphere, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge high atop Birmingham’s Red Mountain. Surrounded by iron ore, coal and limestone, Birmingham developed as the steel-making “Pittsburgh of the South.” Fittingly, the city’s mills fabricated a giant, cast-iron Vulcan examining a newly forged spear tip for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Vulcan was brough back to Birmingham and in 1939 was set on his towering stone pedestal as part of the W.P.A. Vulcan Park project. On this moonlit postcard, Vulcan holds a road safety beacon that replaced his spear tip in 1946, which turned from green to red any time there was a Birmingham traffic fatality. The spear tip was returned to Vulcan’s hand in 2004.

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.