Lessons From the Rise and Fall of the Pedestrian Mall


Boston’s Downtown Crossing pedestrian mall was installed in September 1979. Photographer: Janet Knott/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

From Bloomberg CityLab: Car-free shopping streets swept many U.S. cities in the 1960s and ’70s, but few examples survived. Those that did could be models for today’s “open streets.”

One of the few bright spots of the pandemic was a renewed appreciation of the importance of outdoor public space for social interaction. In many cities around the world, popular streets were closed to vehicular traffic to create room for recreation and dining. Alternatively referred to as slow, open, shared or active streets, many of these pandemic-inspired closures were successful, and several cities opted to continue these street changes over the course of the summer.

But as summer ends and cities continue to reopen, local officials will need to decide whether to revert to the status quo or make the often-popular pedestrianized corridors permanent. It is a complicated choice. Advocates for shared streets can point to the many benefits for small businesses, social interaction and individual well-being. However, commuters may balk at detours as traffic picks back up.

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A Road Trip In Time: Pacific Northwest MCM Gas Stations


The Signal Tower Gas Station in Portland, OR is a striking example of the Streamline Moderne style around the start of the mid century period. Photo by Ian Poellet/CC BY-SA 3.0.

From Atomic Ranch: Did you know that there are some beautiful old gas stations from the mid century period in the Pacific Northwest? Join us for a tour of a few Pacific Northwest MCM gas stations. But first, a little background.

Picture the last gas station where you stopped to fill up. Chances are good that you are visualizing a fairly utilitarian structure—and that is if you can even remember it at all. While you were pumping your gas, you probably were paying little or no attention to the station itself.

But gas stations were not always so blandly devoid of aesthetic considerations. In fact, quite a few early gas stations were architectural gems. Frank Lloyd Wright even once designed one called the R. W. Lindholm Service Station in Cloquet, Minnesota in 1927. This station was something of a predecessor to the iconic gas stations of the mid century period.

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Story of a brand: the cult of In-N-Out Burger


Photo by Maggie Shannon

From Courier: The quintessential California brand started as the state’s first drive-through hamburger stand in 1948. The founder, Harry Snyder, would visit local meat and produce markets to hand-pick fresh ingredients each morning.

Customers caught on to the quality of Harry’s burgers as well as his commitment to maintaining a spotless environment in restaurants as the brand grew. There’s been a sense of community around In-N-Out since its beginnings, cultivated by Harry’s desire for team members to be treated as family. That same sentiment spilled over to customers, who were always greeted warmly.

Harry also paid close attention to customers’ requests, which played a big part in crafting the In-N-Out menu that rarely changes. The first Animal Style burger appeared in 1961 and the Double-Double followed in 1963, both in response to customer requests. The off-menu items arrived later.

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Famous Morton Salt Sign To Be ‘Revitalized’ As Building Is Transformed Into A Music Venue

The old Morton Salt warehouse on Elston Ave., which is being redeveloped into a music venue and office space. Quinn Myers/Block Club Chicago

From Block Club Chicago: GOOSE ISLAND — If you glance east from the Kennedy Expressway near Goose Island this week, you might notice something missing.

The old Morton Salt warehouse sign, long a fixture of the Chicago skyline, is being replaced.

Developers are putting in a new roof at the site, which is set to become a music venue and office space. That will include an updated version of the iconic Morton Salt branding and logo.

In a news release, Morton said the roof and sign enhancements will “modernize” the brand.

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8 Drive-In Movie Theatres That Evoke the Golden Age of the Automobile


Ford Wyoming Drive-In, Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Jaros/Neutral Zone Video Productions

From Preservation Magazine: During the pandemic, the drive-in movie theater has been one of the few types of entertainment venues that have been able to stay open. Fortunately, this classic American experience has managed to survive in scattered pockets through the decades, despite technological upheavals and land development—providing an instant nostalgia trip for those who seek it out.

“I like to go early and sit there and enjoy the ambience,” says enthusiast Charles Bruss, who is working on a book about all 78 of Wisconsin’s past and present drive-ins. “I watch the sun set behind the screen tower and soak in the history of the place.”

After World War II, drive-ins flourished as part of a new lifestyle that, for many, included an automobile and a house in the suburbs (and, increasingly, a television). “Drive-ins allowed audiences to experience the new pastimes in a familiar, cheaper, and more public context,” wrote Mary Morley Cohen in her 1994 article “Forgotten Audiences in the Passion Pits: Drive-In Theatres and Changing Spectator Practices in Post-War America,” published in the academic journal Film History.

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