SCA@40: Editors Word: Digging into Commercial Archeology’s Past

SCA@40: Editors Word: Digging into Commercial Archeology’s Past

By Douglas Towne

MOST OF US have unique stories about how we came to join the SCA. Mine involved an eagle, a birdie, and may have been the only membership linked to golf. At least the course, Valle Vista, was situated just off Route 66 outside of Kingman, Arizona. So that counts for something.

At the nine-hole turn, I went to the locker room and, inside on a table, were some magazines including a copy of the SCA News Journal. The periodical was probably a remnant of some recent Route 66 event. Overlooking the odd name, I found the imagery and articles intriguing. They nailed the topic I was trying to document before it evanesced. I wedged that periodical into my golf bag and never looked back; I had found “my tribe.”

Since that underground discovery in early 1992, commercial archeology has Grown and might even be considered mainstream these days. Product ad campaigns feature vintage roadside backdrops while the adaptive reuse of historic buildings and neon signs is now in the development lexicon.

The exciting early days of discovering new signs and buildings of the roadside are largely in our rear-view mirror. However, the internet provides an easier way to uncover the intriguing history behind our favorite auto-related artifacts.


Did you enjoy this article? Join the SCA and get full access to all the content on this site. This article originally appeared in the SCA Journal, Spring 2017, Vol. 35, No. 1. The SCA Journal is a semi-annual publication and a member benefit of the Society for Commercial Archeology.

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