Take a Ride Through America’s Amazing Roadside Architecture With This Fantastic Photo Collection

© John Margolies, Library of Congress

This photo collection is the stuff dreams are made of. For over 30 years, photographer John Margolies traversed the highways and back roads of America, documenting examples of roadside architecture that we drive by every day, but most of the time fail to notice.

Margolies was not interested in documenting big, grand structures, but rather mom and pop shops, restaurants, movie theaters, and other everyday structures that dotted the landscape.

I can already think of a few of these great shops I pass by every time I drive to my grandparents place!

The rise of the automobile meant that business owners across America competed for customers along the nation’s highway systems. These folks realized you only had one chance to make an impression on passing motorists looking for a bite to eat, some entertainment, or a place to rest their head for the night. So they went big.

This mindset led to amazing examples of roadside architecture across the country. The bigger and more ostentatious, the better.

John Margolies died in 2016 and donated over 11,000 of his roadside architecture photos to the Library of Congress, thus putting this amazing collection into the public domain for writers and historians to use. Margolies’ photos serve as a time capsule from a lost era.

Sadly, many of these structures have been torn down, heavily damaged, or drastically altered from their original state.

Here are some more examples of Margolies’ great photos.

h/t: Hyperallergic

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