Felix, Little Man and other beloved Los Angeles logos

The famous Felix the Cat Chevrolet sign, erected in the 1950s, is considered a historic cultural landmark. Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

From the Los Angeles Times: Western Truck Exchange’s smiling retro trio of Wayne, Dan and Mark make up one of Los Angeles’ best-known company logos, traversing the city on the mudflaps of thousands of trucks.

But there are other local businesses with beloved designs. Here are a few, along with their back stories, from one nearly a century old to a more current symbol of the social media era.

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South Jersey’s Mid-Century Modern Motels, in All Their Neon Glory

Many of the motels were inspired by Miami’s Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels, icons of mid-century modernism.

From Wired: From the 1950s to ’70s, hundreds of motels were built in The Wildwoods. Now, in the age of Airbnb, only half of them are still in operation.

The Wildwoods is the collective name for a cluster of small shore towns spread across a five-mile-long barrier island in southern New Jersey. The area first developed into a major summer tourism destination in the 1950s when brothers Lou and Will Morey, inspired by a visit to Miami’s South Beach, started building motels on the island. The Jersey Shore destination got another big bump in 1957 with the completion of the Garden State Parkway, which channeled an estimated 350,000 additional cars to the region every year. By 1970, more than 300 new motels had been built in The Wildwoods, many of them owned by the Moreys.

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Historic sign is back

Fred Lewis recreated the sign that once hung outside the Lyric Theater. This photography courtesy of Jeffcoat Photography dates back to 1932 and shows the original sign. Courtesy Jeffcoat Photography

From Abilene-RC.com: The new owner of Holt Motors, Fred Lewis, has begun to recreate the history of the old Lyric Theater with some recent additions.

The Lyric Theater that was once where Holt Motor lies today was a small, single screen movie theater. Notes from June 1909 show that the Lyric Theater was open and ecstatic to announce its new projector.

The last movie that Fred recalls being shown there was in 1952 after the flood, which he proves with a picture from his collection in the lobby. After the flood occurred, the owners had fixed up the theater but unfortunately the wear and tear of two previous floods had created a smell. The theater was shut down and by the 1960s a body shop arose in its place.

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This antique Texas gas station has transformed into a happening cafe

Magnolia Filling Station Magnolia Filling Station

From Click2Houston.com: Even before US 90 linked the remote farming towns west of San Antonio in the 1960s, travelers could count on finding a place to rest and refuel in Castroville.

Magnolia Filling Station opened on the corner of Fiorella and Lafayette streets in the 1920s, after automobiles displaced horse-drawn carts. In the years since, the station has supplied everything from new tires to bus tickets in “the little Alsace of Texas.”

French diplomat Henri Castro founded Castroville in 1844. (Castroville celebrated its 175th birthday in September.) Settlers from the Alsace region of northeastern France built the town, which mimics a charming European village in a Texas landscape. Visitors take walking tours of the historic homes—especially in spring when the poppies are blooming—and go antiquing, fishing, or floating on the Medina River. But not before filling up on coffee and sandwiches.

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Why Petrified Forest National Park Is Preserving Route 66 Trash

A vintage license plate recovered alongside the old Route 66 in Petrified Forest National Park. Petrified Forest/National Park Service

From KJXX: As the old phrase goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. If that’s really true, then the Petrified Forest has a lot of treasure from 50 years or more ago.

The National Park Service is preserving a lot of what Route 66 drivers and passengers threw out the windows in the mid-20th century and is trying to put it into historical perspective.

William Parker is a paleontologist at Petrified Forest National Park.

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