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January to March 2004

News from: Current | 2003 | 2002 | Main

Wednesday - February 25, 2004

Whittier, CA - Fate of the Midas Man in Whittier solved.

Unfortunately, it's not all good news for roadside fans. Rumor is the Midas Man took him down last year because they wanted an "updated" look. However, the good news is, just got a word from a relative of the owner of the Midas property that the Midas Man is now safe in storage.

The owner of the Midas Man is now considering selling him to a good owner. If you're interested and can provide a good home, please email Tara Lohse or phone her at (909)851-9887.


Tulsa, OK - Urgent Action Alert! The historic Meadow Gold rooftop sign on Route 66 in Tulsa needs a new home. The businessman who purchased the building on which this sign is located has donated the sign to historic preservationists and graciously put his expansion plans on hold to allow time for the move to take place.

However, moving this huge sign will be time consuming and expensive. The OK Route 66 Association is asking you to assist the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture with its efforts to relocate the sign by sending a donation TODAY — in any amount you can afford. Please see visit the Friends of the Mother Road website for more information or Preservation Alley for info on how to assist.

Many thanks to Emily Priddy for alert.

Tuesday - February 24, 2004

Sapulpa, OK -Just got a nice note from Lynda George, the new owner of Norma's Diamond Cafe off Route 66 in Sapulpa, OK. It goes like this:

Hi There Route 66 People

My name is Lynda George and I just want to let you know I have Norma's Diamond Cafe, and we are open for business so you can still come in for that cup of coffee! Bob Hall, Norma's husband is in everyday and he helped me put the cafe back to how Norma had it. We are cooking like she did...I knew Norma and I hope to honor her memory. Please stop by and share your story's with us. We still have Norma Wow breakfast and it's still $1.99! We are wanting to get the sign redone back to it's beauty....=}

Your Route 66 member

It's nice to hear that the memory of Norma's will be carried on at the Diamond Cafe and best of luck with your business Lynda.


St. Petersburg, FL - Just heard that the 28th Street Drive-in Theater in St. Petersburg closed down back in June of 2000 and has since been crushed by a bulldozer. Many thanks to Maria R. for this update.

Monday - February 2, 2004

Treasure Island, Florida - Herb Dowling's 1956 masterwork, The Surf Motel, is in danger of demolition! This motel is located in the city of Treasure Island, Florida near St. Petersburg. The area features about a dozen mid-century motels that are in various states of preservation.

The Surf will be destroyed on the first of May if nothing is done now. If you're interested in helping this cause, please see the Save Treasure Island page.

Sunday - January 25, 2004

Las Vegas, Nevada - Shocking many Las Vegas downtown regulars and tourists alike, the historic 52 year old Binion's Horseshoe casino closed down on January 10, 2004. Hopefully the doors won't be closed for long as Harrah's has purchased the company. We'd hate to see this casino meet the fate of the Pioneer Club nearby which is now a gift shop. Check out the Las Vegas Sun article here.

Las Vegas, Nevada - First the Glass Pool, La Concha, and El Morocco. Here we go again. The Tam O'Shanter Motel which was built in 1959 has closed, impending demolition. Soon, the site will be home to the Venetian's addition to its hotel casino. Word is the Tam O'Shanter's sign will be displayed at the Vegas Neon Museum.

Saturday - January 24, 2004

As posted in Wednesday's news, the City of Downey Planning Department hearing that day included an agenda item proposing a revoking of the an allowance for the Johnie's Broiler huge marquee. Let's see... in this case they would like to pave paradise and put up a used car lot!!! What's wrong with this picture? Please see below for a request for support from our friends at the Modern Committee.



State Landmark Threatened!

On January 21, 2004, the City of Downey Planning Commission revoked the 1990 sign variance which allows Johnie's signage to exceed the allowable limits in a C-2 zone. This means that Johnie's historic neon signage is severely threatened with removal. The Commission received only one letter of support from our appeal last week.

We're now at a critical point and greatly need your help! Please show your support for this State-designated historic resource by sending a few words of support TODAY. You can e-mail the Mayor and Downey City Councilmembers at

The L.A. Times has covered this issue twice in the past week -- see

"Planners Say No to Historic Neon"

"Downey's Landmark Neon Sign May Lose Its Sparkle"

Johnie's Broiler was designed in 1958 by architect Paul Clayton and opened as Harvey's Broiler. Designed in the classic 50's drive-in restaurant style, its fabulous signage is an integral part of its architecture. Johnie's is an important Southern California car culture landmark and was officially declared eligible for the California State Register of Historical Resources in 2002. During its heyday, Johnie's was a major cruising destination, clocking over 5,000 cars on a weekend. To view vintage photos of Johnie's, please visit

Thank you for supporting this famous landmark! If you have any questions, please contact Adriene Biondo, Commercial Council Chair at

Many thanks to Adriene Biondo for update.

Wednesday - January 21, 2004

Roadside Peek was just informed that the City of Downey Planning Department's agenda for tonight's (Wednesday, January 21) public hearing and the recommended action listed is to REVOKE the variance that allows Johnie Broiler's historic signage to remain in place. See attachment to the Planning Department's agenda here.

Despite the last minute notice, please try to attend the hearing in support of Johnie's Broiler. This is the 11th hour for this roadside treasure.

For more information, please contact the Modern Committee of the Los Angeles Conservancy.

Many thanks to Adriene Biondo for update.

Tuesday - January 13, 2004

On a sad day for movie fans in Seattle, the Lewis & Clark Theatre in Tukwila closed on Thursday 01/08/04, after being in operation continuously since 1956.

Many thanks to Matt Lutthans for info.

Friday - January 9, 2004

This just in from Monday 1/5. Apparently, the Circus Liquor sign in North Hollywood, CA has lost one of its faces! (The north-facing one). However, the head portion of the sign is intact, with the lights present and visible where the face is missing. The southerly-facing face is still there.

Many thanks to Kari Fowler for above info.

Meanwhile, a few sad stories to report. Over the last couple of months, the La Concha Hotel and Glass Pool Inn in Las Vegas were either demolished or fenced off for a future demolition. More Vegas icons are leaving town.

The Highway 99 town of Atwater in California also lost two of its roadside treasures located within a block of each other. The 99 Motel removed its vintage sign and the Peter N' Rae's Cafe was leveled. With the loss of the huge Tulare Inn sign off the road and others, the alarming trend continues.




News from: Current | 2003 | 2002 | Main



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Page Last Updated April 21, 2004