Dr. Patrick’s Postcard Roadside

‘Greyhound Blue’ Bus Terminals

A quick message scribbled on this 1940 postcard and mailed off to family in Ohio depicts what to the transient sender was just the Greyhound bus station in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

To us of the future, it is a Streamline Moderne gem, one of more than 50 “Greyhound blue” porcelain enamel bus terminals designed by William Arrasmith and scattered across the line’s nationwide system. The Fort Wayne depot opened in 1938 replacing a Berry Street bus stop that required passengers to load and unload at the curb. The new station had a second story restaurant and loading stalls for buses screened from the street by a glass block pierced wing wall. The station closed in 1977, survived the 1980s in a neglected state of abandonment, and despite hopeful ideas for adaptive reuse was demolished in 1992. A Marriott Courtyard now stands on the site adjacent to Parkview Field built in 2009 for the Ft. Wayne Tin Caps, farm team for the San Diego Padres.

FINDING PARADISE ON THE SOUTH SLOPE OF MOUNT RAINIER

After a deal made with the Northern Pacific Railroad that traded worthless mountain top rock and ice for valuable timber lands, Mount Rainier became the nation’s fifth national park in 1899.

It was nearly inaccessible until 1910 when a road was hacked up the south slope from the Puget Lowland to a wildflower-filled meadow just beyond the end of the glaciers known as Paradise Valley. The auto tourists that followed required accommodations, which when built attracted more auto tourists needing accommodations.

The rustic lodge “parkitecture” favored at all the early national parks was the inspiration for Mt. Rainier’s Paradise Inn opened for the 1917 season soon after the formation of the National Park Service. The hotel was operated by the Rainier National Park Company who bought five Kenworth “red jammers” in 1937 to inaugurate bus service to the park from Seattle and Tacoma that lasted until 1962.

Happy Depression-era campers had to be more well-off than people who at the same time were camping in their cars because they were homeless. The Rainier National Park Company, Mt. Rainier’s sole concessionaire, built the Paradise Camp and its Community Kitchen in 1931.

The Rainier National Park Company built 275 “housekeeping cabins” at Mt. Rainier’s Paradise Camp in 1931, the year this postcard depiction of the new camp was published

Auto tourists to Mt. Rainier National Park filled the Paradise Campground to overflowing on summer weekends as depicted in this 1935 postcard view.

Mary Meyers

Could this be Mary Meyers and her dog? Random postcard people are rarely random and more typically known to the businesses they frame.

Two years after their 1947 marriage, Jim and Mary Meyers bought Beasley’s Seafood Restaurant on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi City, Mississippi, renaming it the Friendship House. Beasley’s had just recently opened in Dinty Moore’s Corner restaurant, the sign of which is partially visible behind the live oak branch in this 1950 postcard. The vacation tourist trade from New Orleans through Biloxi, Mississippi, and Mobile, Alabama, to Panama City, Florida, would explode in the postwar era laying the foundation for what would be marketed as the Emerald Coast, but more commonly known as the “Redneck Riviera.” The Friendship House thrived too, famous for seafood and big meals for bargain basement prices. The Meyers family sold the restaurant in 1963 and later opened the Log House restaurant nearby. The Friendship House closed in 1980, sat abandoned for years and was finally torn down. The Meyers’ time in the tourist trade done, the Log House would follow their Friendship House into roadside oblivion in 2003.