The Playbill: SCA in the Motor City

The Playbill: SCA in the Motor City

By Keith A. Sculle

MY INTRODUCTION to the Society for Commercial Archeology was at the second conference held at Columbia University in 1978, where I was a graduate student majoring in historical preservation.

In the mid-1970s, I had been active in the Main Street design movement in the Midwest and was a great fan of commercial architecture, both on the street and the road.

I had driven across most of the Midwest during a four-year period photographing and documenting the roadside. These trips also included visits to local antique and book stores to expand my collection of vintage postcards, architectural trade catalogs, maps, and other paper ephemera.

All of these interests connected me to the multiple roles of preservation architect, archivist, and travel junkie. So far, this should sound like a similar profile to other SCA members.

I served on the SCA board from 1984-85 and was president from 1986-88. During this period, I remember quite a few meetings in Newark, the hub for People’s Express, a discount outfit that served as the organization’s unofficial airline.

The SCA’s efforts during this period included the SCA News Journal and various advocacy efforts. I was directly involved in the failed effort to save the Coral Court Motel on Route 66 in Marlborough Mo., a St. Louis suburb. On this topic, I recall working with Arthur Krim, who was researching U.S. Highway 1 and suggesting he expand his studies to include the Mother Road before its mass popularity. At that time, I was traveling Route 66 in Illinois and documenting its early gas stations and motels.


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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