CREATEVINTAGE ST. PETE: Aloha from beautiful, exotic Tiki Gardens

This 10-foot tiki of Kahona, the Water God, stood at the entrance to Tiki Gardens. Like most of the large tikis, Kahuna was hollow – sculpted of wood, chicken wire and stucco. Photo: Florida Memory Project.

From the St. Pete Catalyst: On a narrow stretch of sand in the town of Indian Shores, the earth has reclaimed Tiki Gardens. The tidy footpaths that meandered past neatly-manicured palm trees and flowering bushes, grass huts and painted stucco Tiki statues are covered now with greenbrier vines, scrub palmetto and 30 years of the matted, decayed detritus of palm, pine and invasive Brazilian pepper trees.

Once, this was paradise.

The lagoon and canals dredged in the early 1960s are still there, but they’re muddy and formless, their limerock borders having caved in long ago. The wooden footbridges are gone. The tide still comes in from Boca Ciega Bay, at the back of the site, but the mangroves and sea grapes, long unchecked, have created a thick and impenetrable wall.

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The Best Anti-Racist Monuments to Visit in America

Once the Lorraine Motel, now part of the National Civil Rights Museum. Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America, Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America

From BNN Bloomberg: The Black Lives Matter movement has forced Americans to reckon with the country’s whitewashed history—and its problematic monuments.

In recent weeks, the push to remove statues honoring Confederate leaders has accelerated in response to nationwide protests about police brutality and civil rights. In Richmond, Va., a prominent memorial to General Robert E. Lee along Monument Avenue is slated for removal, and in Manhattan, the American Museum of Natural History will lose the iconic statue at its entrance that depicts President Theodore Roosevelt towering over African and American Indian men.

The National Register of Historic Places contains nearly 100,000 places of significance to U.S. history; according to the New Yorker, only 2% of them reflect the enormous contributions of Black Americans. But though it’s a small percentage, it still amounts to about 2,000 sites to visit from coast to coast, all catalogued geographically through such organizations as (These don’t include larger institutions such as the revelatory National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall.) Just like the 30-foot stone depiction of Martin Luther King Jr. that stands along Washington’s iconic Tidal Basin—right near statues of Lincoln and Jefferson—a large number of these homages are inside major cities or within easy driving distance of one. Unlike the more famous effigies, many portray figures of history that are given short shrift in high school textbooks.

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The latest US food trend is 1950s nostalgia with the return of carhops

Carhop dining: The popularity of carhop dining evolved in America in tandem with the popularity of the automobile itself, predating the fast-food drive-through and reaching a peak in the years following World War II. PhotoQuest/Getty Images

From CNN: When the coronavirus pandemic shut down his restaurants, Colton Weiss knew that to survive, he would need a creative (and safe) solution to keep serving his customers.
So he started thinking like his grandfather.
Weiss’ grandfather, Mel Weiss, was the first to bring carhop dining — in which waiters bring a restaurant order directly to people in their cars — to San Francisco in 1947.
The popularity of carhop dining evolved in America in tandem with the popularity of the automobile itself, predating the fast-food drive-through and reaching a peak in the years following World War II. The elder Weiss had seen the roller-skating, poodle-skirt-clad waitresses delivering trays of burgers and shakes to diners seated in their Buick Roadmasters and Chevy Aerosedans at eateries across Los Angeles.

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The Other Las Vegas

Former gas station at 400 W. Owens, architect unknown, 1963. CREDIT: Kirsten Clarke Photography

From Docomomo: The Other Las Vegas is part of the Docomomo US Regional Spotlight on Modernism Series which was launched to help you explore modern places throughout the country without leaving your home. In this edition, we’re heading to Vegas!

What will you find if you wander off the Las Vegas “Strip”? Longtime residents and preservation advocates Dave Cornoyer and Heidi Swank will introduce you to “the other Las Vegas,” full of midcentury charm that visitors don’t commonly see. Swank, the director of Nevada Preservation Foundation, introduces some of the misconceptions that exist around preservation in Las Vegas and shares a project the organization spearheaded to highlight the city’s “uncommon” modernism. Cornoyer takes readers through a variety of the midcentury residential neighborhoods that helped shaped the city and discusses how they’ve fared over time.

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Catoosa’s Iconic Route 66 Blue Whale Gets TLC With New Owner

From Oklahoma’s Own 6: CATOOSA, Okla. – The Blue Whale in Catoosa has been around for about 50 years, and now the Route 66 icon has a new owner.

The City of Catoosa is giving the Blue Whale some TLC. That’s because the city bought the mother road attraction and its surrounding 24 acres about 4 months ago for nearly $2 million.

“This is humongous, this is fantastic,” said Jyr, a Blue Whale visitor.

Jyr is from Dallas and is stopping at various route 66 landmarks with his wife. He said the Blue Whale was high on his list.

“I was told highly recommended the statue behind me, the Blue Whale is one of the must-sees, so here I am with my wife today,” Jyr said.

The City manager said they’ve worked to clean up the pond area and plan to build bigger bathrooms to accommodate all the visitors who travel along America’s main street through Catoosa every year, tourists like Jyr.

“It’s such a beautiful park here, the city is doing a good job,” he said.

The city also plans to build a path around the pond for travelers to take a short walk and stretch their legs. Jyr hopes more people come to see the Blue Whale and enjoy it as much as he did.

“I think this is such a big iconic part of the Route 66, so they should do more promotions, attract more tourists, either local or international tourists, to come here and visit,” he said.

Some locals might remember when you could swim in the pond, but the city said that’s not allowed and there are no plans to change that.

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