white springs restaurant image

white springs restaurant image

No. 1: White Springs Restaurant

30159 Klein Brewery Road
>McGregor, IA
United States

One of McGregor’s biggest tourist attractions in 1933 was the white sand caves on the Klein Brewery property known today as the White Springs Supper Club.  While the brewery operated, the caves were used for storing and cooling of the brew.  They had been handmade with iron bits chiseling openings into the cliff and widening the rooms into arched chambers.  A little settlement sprouted around the brewery and became known as White Springs.  The owner of the property, Archie C. Fritz in 1933, saw the caves as being an attraction and prepared the site with this in mind.  Residents and visitors have fond memories of White Springs as being “the place to dine,” and have a good time with family and friends.  Today, Bruce Underwood from Richland Center, Wisconsin, is the owner of White Springs that he purchased in 2006.  However, due to ill health, he was only able to operate the restaurant for a year and it is presently listed for sale.  Unless a preservation-minded buyer is found for the property, the interior and exterior deterioration will continue to threaten the property.

Contact: David T. Kneer, (563) 880-2570, mchts@mchsi.com
Photograph courtesy of David T. Kneer, McGregor Historical Preservation Commission

vodies bear alignment signNo. 2: Vodie’s Wheel Alignment & Brakes Shop Sign

9891 Garden Grove Boulevard
Garden Grove, CA

United States


The Vodie’s Wheel Alignment & Brakes Shop Sign was built in 1949 when the current owner’s grandfather opened the shop on Garden Grove Boulevard.  Built in the shape of a large smiling bear, the sign measures approximately thirty feet tall, and is one of only a handful of such signs remaining in the United States.  The sign needs new neon installed and also needs to be repainted, which the owner would like to do.  However, the job must be done with the sign in place, since the city’s code will not allow the sign to be reinstalled if it is taken down.

Contact: Barbara Gossett, (714) 336-2607, babsgossett@sbcglobal.net

Photograph courtesy of Barbara Gossett, Society for Commercial Archeology

the tamale building los angeles imageNo. 3: The Tamale

6421 Whittier Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

United States


The Tamale opened as a roadside restaurant in 1928, offering tamales, hamburgers, ice cream, malted milk, chili and tamale pie.  It is not clear when the structure switched from a restaurant to service based business, but for some years it has contained a hair salon and a dental Iab.  It is a landmark of the East Los Angeles community, with many older residents affectionately recalling its days as a restaurant.  It is the last survivor of at least three programmatic buildings built circa 1930 along this stretch of Whittier Boulevard, and one of the last such uniquely Southern California structures remaining anywhere in Los Angeles.  The tamale-shaped structure and a small house on the back of the lot were recently listed on the market for $459,000.  Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina asking her to help protect this community landmark.  Supervisor Molina has pledged to move forward with enacting a long-discussed County ordinance for historic preservation and tax benefits, and to work with the property owner and my subsequent buyer to make it financially advantageous to preserve the Tamale.  However, it is not clear how long it will take for the Board of Supervisors to consider and pass such an ordinance, and there is no guarantee that the property owner or any new buyer will be interested in taking advantage of its benefits.  The Tamale remains endangered.

On August 28, 2013, the property was removed from the market. For updates, go tohttp://esotouric.com/tamale

Contact: Gloria Molina, (213) 974-4111, Molina@bos.lacounty.gov

Photograph courtesy of Gloria Molina, Los Angeles County Supervisor

circle g ranchNo. 4: Circle G Ranch

5921 Goodman Road
Walls, MS

United States


The Circle G Ranch is historically significant to the local community of Horn Lake, MS, and metropolitan area of Memphis, TN, the state of Mississippi and the United States as having been intimately associated with American singer and actor Elvis Presley, “perhaps the single most influential figure of the 2oth century,” (Smithsonian Institute).  His career lasted over 20 years (1953-1977) and pioneered a cultural revolution in the U.S. and abroad.  In the late 1960s the Circle G Ranch played an important role in Elvis Presley’s history as it was a place that was important to him at a time in his life that was full of change – a newly married man, expectant father and world-famous entertainer at a vital crossroads in his career.  On the 160-acre property Elvis could escape from being “Elvis Presley” for a short while and spend quality time with friends and family, enjoying his love of horses and the outdoors.  Also known as the “honeymoon cottage,” the little ranch house is where he and new wife Priscilla Presley spent the greatest portion of their time together as newlyweds.  Elvis’ time at the ranch afforded peace and quiet, allowing him to give careful consideration to his future both regarding his career and his private life.  The site is currently endangered due to both neglect and development pressure.  Extreme winter weather and overgrowth have elicited the complex’s deterioration and continued neglect will result in further decay.

Contact: Lesley Pilling, Director, The Circle G Foundation,Lesley.pilling@talktalk.net or Sheryl Davis, The Circle G Foundation, sheryladavis@gmail.com

Photograph courtesy of Sheryl Davis, Circle G Foundation

jersey shore after Sandy imageNo. 5: Coastal Commercial Properties damaged by Superstorm Sandy


United States


According to visitnj.org, tourism is the second-largest industry in New Jersey, bringing in $38 billion in revenue in 2011.  Superstorm Sandy brought significant damage to the Jersey Shore, and although some areas have recovered, others have not.  Many historic properties line the shore including many properties on the New Jersey Historic Register and two motels on the National Register in the Wildwoods alone.  New FEMA maps for the area have recommended floor elevations that are approximately ten feet above grade, which is a threat to all historic properties in the area.

Contact: Michael Hirsch, (646) 258-6512, milohirsch@gmail.com

Photo credit: Mark C. Olsen, U.S. Air Force

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