I'm heading down a new road, so to speak. Instead of the long articles relating a roadtrip down a complete highway, I'll now be posting much shorter articles. And the scope will be wider, covering just about everything from the year 1962. This should allow me to post more often, and allow you to have more fun reading. I'm not sure just how often I will post something, but this page will always show the five most recent articles, with the newest at the top. Older articles will be archived at the Blog Archives page. I may even include articles from other people, so if you have something to say about 1962, please let me know. Topics will cover:
- 1962 News of the World
- 1962 News of the Nation
- 1962 Local News
- 1962 in Sports
- 1962 in Entertainment and the Arts (including movies, TV, music, art, fashion, architecture, design, books, comics, and more)
- 1962 in Science
- Cars of 1962
- Consumer Products and Retail in 1962 (including just about anything you could buy, plus the stores you could buy it in)
- On the Road in 1962 (road and roadtrip topics, including things I typically covered on my long journeys)
- More Fun From 1962! (everything else that sounds like fun, like special events and more pop culture)
A Gallery of 1962 Magazines
July 7, 2020
This week, Roadtrip-'62 ™ gets off the road and looks at the magazines of 1962. As I’ll show below, the variety of magazines available was huge. There were many general interest mass market magazines, something we don’t have anymore, and even more specialty magazines. No well-established magazines failed in 1962, though some had problems: Curtis Publishing lost over $15,000,000. But a recent change in postal rates was not as severe as suspected, helping the bottom line of most magazines. The Audit Bureau of Circulations estimated there were 3,250 different magazines available, with a combined circulation of over 311,000,000! I won’t be discussing all of these, but let’s take a look at some of both the mass market and specialty magazines.
Some of the about 40 new magazines introduced that year were Automobile Quarterly, Rx Health, Eros, Discount Store News, and Rental Housing. Eros was perhaps the most unusual, marketing itself as “the magazine of sexual candor” and presumably going beyond what one could find in Playboy. Magazines were a very important venue for advertising, and revenues totaled $880 million, beating the 1960 record. Some of the increase was due to a new plan of regional editions for some mass market magazines. This allowed the publisher to present the same content across the nation but to swap out advertising in various markets, and advertisers paid for the privilege of targeting different markets. This may have been the beginning of targeted advertising, a practice which has reach a peak over the internet.
In the past few years, magazines had been engaged in a subscription-price war, to try to claw back mass market advertising from television. This was somewhat successful, as subscriptions boomed. But some magazines could not cover their costs despite the new subscriptions, such as Coronet, which failed in 1961. Though subscriptions were booming, single-copy newsstand sales continued a multi-year slump. In order to remain profitable, some publishers diversified by buying other publishers or even broadcast media. Cowles, publisher of Look magazine, bought an encyclopedia publisher. They also purchased a newspaper publisher. Time Inc., publisher of Time, Life and other magazines, purchased its fifth broadcasting station and a textbook publisher. The company also began publishing foreign language magazines. On the flip side, the Washington Post, a newspaper publisher purchased Newsweek in 1961 and continued buying in 1962
Life, Look, and the Saturday Evening Post were the big three of the general interest mass market. All featured extensive photo layouts, including some color, as a reason to buy. All three magazines died within a couple of years of each other: Saturday Evening Post in February 1969, Look in October 1971, and Life in December 1972. Look and Better Homes & Gardens were published in Des Moines, Iowa and you can find out more about them in my page about that city along US-6. Reader's Digest was another magazine for the mass market audience, but without the photojournalism. It specialized in fiction, humor, and in-depth reporting and was a handy size that could fit in your coat pocket. It is still publishing. Another mass market magazine was also a specialty magazine, TV Guide. It of course focused on entertainment, but a large percentage of homes subscribed because of the daily guide to show times. It is still being published.
A particular type of specialty magazine was aimed at what was then known as the negro market. There were negro-oriented entertainment magazines, news magazines, literary magazines, and confession magazines, among others. The most successful of these magazines, Ebony, had been published since 1945 as a negro-oriented Life clone. Being aimed at the general interest mass market, it is not surprising that it was tops in circulation. It is still publishing, but apparently in a digital format only since 2019.
In my research, I’ve uncovered 209 magazines published in the United States during 1962: only a fraction of the 3,250 available. Individual large businesses and many trade organizations have always published in house magazines, but I have only discovered a handful of these. Other categories that are poorly represented in my research are Business and Finance, Literary and Writing, Politics and News, Fiction, and Religion. For each of these, I’m certain there were more than the 2-3 titles I found so far. On the other hand the following catagories had dozens of titles being published: Automotive, Sports, Men’s, Women’s, Entertainment, Do-it-Yourself, and Negro. I may seem odd today that Negro interest magazines was a separate category, but in 1962 it allowed advertisers to leave black people out of their usual advertising so as not to offend the mostly white audiences of the major General Interest magazines. Companies would then create separate ads just for the Negro publications. There is a great discussion of this phenomenon with lots of examples at the Messy Nessy Chic blog.
My personal collection comprises an issue or two of each of the following titles, so let’s lake a closer look at those. I’ve already done an in-depth review of Boys’ Life at ‘Fun with the Boy Scouts’.
- Life (2 issues)
- Saturday Evening Post
- McCall’s (2 issues)
- Boys’ Life
- Popular Mechanics
- Sports Afield
- Ellery Queen’s Mystery
- Model Railroader
- Humpty Dumpty
- Life and Health
Life and Saturday Evening Post were two of the largest circulation general interest magazines of the period. Look was the third big one, but I do not yet have a copy of that. These magazines featured articles based on current events, some fiction, lots of color photographs, and plenty of advertising. These were all weekly magazines, allowing them to feature slightly more current articles than monthlies. The two issues of Life that I have both include articles about people moving to California, as this was the period when that state overtook New York as the most populous. People all over the country wanted to know more about that momentous change even if they were not moving themselves! Other articles included one about young women diplomats in Washington, DC, sports articles about the New York Yankees and Mets, Richard Nixon’s campaign for Governor of California, and a fashion layout…all with lots of full page photos, many in color. The Saturday Evening Post had a little different formula, with articles about the Salvation Army, director Alfred Hitchcock, college basketball, and some fiction.
McCall’s was more directly aimed at women, even billing itself as the “First Magazine for Women”. Their focus on women started with models on the covers. Articles cover fashion, housework, patterns for sewing clothes, movie celebrities, decorating, marriage problems, and page after page of recipes. Like the Saturday Evening Post, McCall’s includes some fiction. McCall’s stopped publishing in 2002. On the flip side, Popular Mechanics, Sports Afield, and True were aimed a male audiences. Each took a different piece instead of trying to lump several interests together like McCall’s. Popular Mechanics was one of several do-it-yourself magazines, with ideas on how to improve or build your home, tools to buy, model building, and an occasional article about one of the wars of the past 30 years. Ads were often for tools or career improvement.
True positioned itself as more high-testosterone publication, with articles on war, big game hunting and fishing, corporate success, and historical derring-do. It also had many cartoons, with punch lines often at the expense of women. Beer and cigarette ads dominated, along with career improvement, and hunting equipment. Sports Afield took the hunting interest even farther, being almost exclusively hunting stories. But it also looped back to Popular Mechanics-style articles about building hunting lodges, boat repair and such. Some of the stories were true accounts and other fiction. As with the other men’s magazines, ads for career improvement, hunting and fishing equipment and cigarettes predominated. All three of these publications also carried many pages of small, classified style ads for equipment, self-improvement, hobbies, vacation property (the famous swampland in Florida and desert in California scams), men’s health concerns, and shoes. Popular Mechanics and Sports Afield are still being published, but True closed in 1975.
Of course, as a 9-year old during 1962, my interests ran more to Humpty Dumpty, Boys’ Life, and MAD. I was just on the edge of a kid’s magazine like Humpty Dumpty; its mix of easy-to-read stories, crafts and other activities, and games no longer very interesting. I didn’t help that pages were printed in cheap one color plus black with cartoony artwork. I still made a few of the projects, but seldom read much of the book at this stage. What began to capture my interest were comic books and MAD. An older boy on the block gave my family a box of comics he was no longer interested in, and there were two issues from 1962 in it. The satire and irreverent humor just grabbed this pre-teen. I’m sure one of these was issue #71, which included “Don Martin in Sherwood Forest”. I still find that to be one of the best Robin Hood spoofs ever. And “The Birth of a Madison Avenue Brand Name” gave the most improbable reasons for how common household products I recognized, like Lava Soap and Comet Cleanser, were named. There was enough fun stuff in the few issues I got hold of to get me to subscribe by 1964! Humpty Dumpty is currently published by the Saturday Evening Post Society Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization. MAD is also still being published, despite a rumor in recent years that it was folding.
The last four magazines I have are kind of mixed bag of genres. These were all specialty magazines of types I never saw as a kid. Ellery Queen’s Mystery was a magazine of short stories and installments of longer stories in the genre of mysteries. They were by both new authors and established authors, and the issue I have even included a reprint of an original Sherlock Holmes mystery installment. Advertisements were limited to other offerings from the publisher, the same system used by MAD magazine. Life and Health covered a wide range of health subjects. The cover story featured astronaut John Glenn and his good foundation of health that allowed him to be selected for the astronaut program. There were also articles on diaper rash, chickenpox, coffee and tea, and healthy recipes. The advertising was for various health-related products like home a yogurt maker, various juicers, herbs, spices, and supplements, and books on health. Ellery Queen’s Mystery is still being published. Life and Health disappeared long ago but I cannot find when: perhaps it merged into some other health magazine.
Model Railroader was specifically for folks who liked to build models of railroads. I had a model railroad later in life and subscribed to the magazine then. The 1962 version appears very similar in format and topics. It contained reviews of new equipment on the market, photo of real railroads for modeling reference, a complete track layout of someone’s model, articles on how to build models from scratch, and how to best use model kits. There are two major differences from more recent issues though: much more emphasis on the metal machining and woodworking to build your own models, and a complete lack of color photos. Trains magazine seems to be a hybrid between a magazine for people just generally interested in trains and railroading, and a trade magazine for people in the business. This issue includes articles on what railroad companies are doing in areas such as switching to diesel power, food service, and locomotive repair. The ads seem more oriented to drumming up passenger business for the railroads, which means they are for the railroad fan, though there are also ads for actual railroad equipment targeted to managers. Though there are plenty of photographs, none are in color. Trains and Model Railroader are both from the same publisher and are still published monthly: it appears they tried to cover the railroad market.
Well, I’m off to read a magazine until the next installment of Roadtrip-'62 ™, maybe Readers’ Digest. My mother had a subscription to that when I was young. I think I mostly read the food advertisements because the coupons fascinated me.
National Road Trip Day and History on US-27
May 19, 2020
Today Roadtrip-'62 ™ is celebrating National Road Trip Day, which falls on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, or May 24th in 2020. The holiday was created by Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America. The company was started by James A. "Jim" Haslam II in 1958 in Gate City, Virginia and now covers 44 states. Pilot Flying J has research to back up why National Road Trip Day is a great idea. They found the top reasons people take road trips are: it’s more affordable than any other forms of transportation, they have more control over the trip and plans, and they like being able to stop whenever they want along the way. I agree with all of that! They also found Americans' must-haves for a successful trip include having good snacks and drinks for the road, finding great places to eat on the way, and finding clean bathrooms to use while traveling. To that, I would add having good music, in our case, from 1962!
“Do You Wanna Dance”, 1962, by Cliff Richard and The Shadows
The Memorial Day weekend was selected for two reasons. First, it is kind of a traditional first day of the summer season, and second, the first coast-to-coast road trip in an automobile began on May 23, 1903, when Horatio Nelson Jackson and Sewall Crocker set off from San Francisco, California on a drive to New York City to settle a wager. They faced frequent breakdowns, waiting a week or more for parts to be sent by railroad or stagecoach, unmarked roads of rock and mud, and even a lack of gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, and motels in most places. Still, they managed to make the trip in a 20-horsepower Winton touring car in 63½ days, winning the bet, but spending over $8000 dollars to do so. The publicity they created all along the way began the great American pastime of roadtripping and set the network of modern gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, and motels on it way to developing.
For this virtual roadtrip, we’re heading south down US-27. This route began for many years along with US-23 and US-31 at the Michigan State Auto Ferry Dock in Mackinaw City, Michigan. When the I-75 freeway was opened across the Mackinac Bridge in 1961, US-27 was shortened by about 90 miles, back to Grayling, Michigan. That’s where we would have found the beginning in 1962. It then ran south 1660 miles to Miami, Florida. Today, it has been shortened even more on the north end, beginning in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The distance between Fort Wayne and Grayling is now covered by a combination of I-69 and US-127, and there is no longer any part of US-27 within Michigan. The south end is still in Miami.
So let’s begin in Grayling, where we could have in 1962. My favorite sightseeing in the area is at Hartwick Pines State Park, about 4 miles north of US-27. The low, rolling hills you see are sand and gravel, hundreds of feet deep, and were left behind by glaciers nearly 18,000 years ago. Many are long, thin hills of gravel known as moraines. These glacial moraines are excellent for growing pine trees, particularly the white pine, which formerly grew to majestic size. Hartwick Pines State Park holds one of the last remaining stands of these trees that were not cut down when this area was the heart of the logging industry, in the late 1800’s. The usual place to start a tour of the park is the Visitor Center, and we’ll play the typical tourist today. The Visitor Center has exhibits which tell the story of the forest, and of the lumbering days. The park began as just 85 acres of the old growth white pine, purchased in 1927 by Mrs. Karen Michelson Hartwick and donated to the State of Michigan. A Logging Museum was constructed in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and we’ll visit that on one of the trails.
Just walking from your car to the Visitor Center places you in the proper state of mind to enjoy the forest. The center is a two-story building in a low area; you are parked on a hill and will enter on the second story. You walk across an aluminum-planked bridge between the two, as the hill drops away below you, and you are soon 20 feet up into the trees, looking down at their bases. It gives a new appreciation of how tall the trees are, to see them both above and below you; and these aren’t even the big ones yet! Just stand there a moment and enjoy the feeling of tree climbing without the work. You can easily spend over half an hour at the center, if you care to learn from the exhibits. And, be sure to allow additional time to watch the birds and squirrels at the huge feeding area at the rear. Depending on the time of year and time of day, you may see any of a dozen different birds, including the bright yellow, white and black Evening Grosbeak or the upside-down-feeding Nuthatch. The squirrels may be black, smaller red ground squirrels, or the even smaller chipmunks.
Then grab a brochure and wander down the Old Growth Forest Trail. It’s a beautiful woods any time of year: noisy with birds in the spring, and wonderfully quiet in the winter. The trail is open for cross-country skiing in the winter. Of course the main attraction is the old growth white pines, the tallest of which was known as the Monarch. This tree was over 300 years old and 155 feet tall when winds broke off the top in 1992. Nature is slowly reducing this entire old growth forest: hurricane force winds blew down almost half the area in 1940. Now you can see only about 49 acres of the big trees. Farther down the trail is the Logging Museum; a reconstructed bunkhouse and shop building. You can understand just a little of the hard life and work of the lumberjacks if you ponder the displays for awhile. Many of the tools they used are on display, including one of the most unusual; the Big Wheels. These appear to oversized wagon wheels, and were used for hauling logs. Some specimens are taller than you! Besides this most popular of park trails, there are many others. If you are up for a long hike, any of the cross-country ski/mountain biking trails, or the Au Sable River Trail are long enough to give you a workout. There’s also a gravel road scenic drive along the east edge of the park for those who don’t want to leave their cars. The Bright & Glory Nature Trail takes you down to two small lakes in a wetland. On a recent visit, my wife and I flushed out a turkey from a pine tree and ducked as it flew just overhead and landed only about 20 feet away! Whatever trails you choose, don’t forget to pick up a trail brochure at the Visitor Center before you leave.
Heading back to Grayling on M-93, cross the freeway and head all the way through town for a shorter walk in the woods. Not back at Hartwick Pines; instead we’re going to the Beal Plantation. It’s just east of town on Industrial Street. Use M-72 and cross under the freeway, and turn right at the first street. The plantation is a 7-acre patch of woods on the left. The Beal Plantation is what remains of 80 acres planted by Professor William Beal of Michigan State University in 1888. It appears to be the oldest tree plantation in North America. He was attempting research on what species of trees could best be replanted on the cutover lands of this area. A short trail with interpretive signs tells more about the effort. At that time huge expanses of the area were nothing but pine stumps on sandy land. It was not suitable for farming. Some areas of pine stumps can still be seen along various roads, including along old US-27, and on a trail back in Hartwick Pines running directly north from the campground. Professor Beal’s research and the work of others helped establish the red pine stands that were eventually planted over northern Michigan. Today, lumber is still very important to this part of Michigan; you may have noticed the lumber products factory adjacent to the Beal Plantation as you drove here.
Inside the kitchen at Jon’s Country Burgers, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
The drive south from here along old US-27 is mostly relaxing, as this 2-lane road experiences little traffic. Sometimes its replacement, the I-75 freeway, is less than a half mile away though. Most of the drive to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan is in forests, though an extensive marsh exists near Houghton Lake. We’re stopping for lunch in Mt. Pleasant, at Jon’s Country Burgers. It’s a delightful, real old-fashioned, drive-in that features carhops to deliver your orders and carside speakers to take your orders. Or, you can eat inside at their clean, bright booths…booths for all, no tables here! Both indoors and out, it still looks like 1962 because the only makeovers have been to keep the place shiny and new. I found the food tasty and plentiful. It was served by a very perky waitress, and it was fast! I’ve waited longer at an Arby’s than here. I had a smelt dinner, which comes with fries, coleslaw, and a nice chunk of toast. All was top notch, with crispy smelt and a hint of celery seed in the coleslaw. The toast was sliced from a stick of an Italian style bread, buttered, and then grilled golden brown. Of course, I had to try a milkshake, which turned out to be the best butterscotch shake I’ve ever had. They serve it with a spoon and I instantly discovered why: you simply cannot drink it through a straw. And it was overflowing with butterscotch flavor, with extra syrup stuck on the sides of the cup! Jon’s opened in 1957 and was probably one of the first on the strip, just a few blocks from Central Michigan University. Outdoors, they have plenty of stalls with speakers, all under a canopy to keep everyone dry. Indoors, you walk right past the kitchen to get to the restrooms, so you can see all the action. I should go back sometime, because a detailed reading of the menu found other wonders that should be tried. For example, their signature Countryburger is 3 patties high with 2 slices of cheese. Dessert should be fun also, if I try the donut sundae. Yes, you heard right; a sundae built on top of a donut! How could that be bad?
Jumping ahead some on old US-27, you might stop at Michigan’s state capitol in Lansing. It’s one of two capitols along the route, along with Tallahassee, Florida. The capitol building opened in 1879 and was designed by architect Elijah E. Myers. It was one of the first state capitols to be topped by a cast iron dome. The building is Michigan’s third capitol, the first having been in Detroit and the second here in Lansing. The decoration is unusual, in that all of the wood appears to be walnut, though none of it is. And to top it off, the building’s supporting columns are cast iron and pilasters are plaster, both painted to look like marble: none are really marble. While this originally saved money, it raised the cost of the restoration completed in 1992. Today, the Michigan Capitol ranks as one of the finest examples of this ancient art in the nation. There are three floors, though the basement was originally just store rooms and an armory. Government growth over the years later turned them into offices and now the building only houses the Senate and House leadership, the legislative chambers, and ceremonial offices for the governor and lieutenant governor. Tours are available.
From Lansing south to Fort Wayne, Indiana, US-27 has been replaced by the I-69 freeway. We cross our US-6 journey at Waterloo, Indiana. Shortly after Fort Wayne, highway US-27 becomes a mostly 2-lane road through farm fields again after Fort Wayne, all the way to Cincinnati, Ohio. We visited Cincinnati on our short review of US-22, and have a good list of attractions in town on that page. Cincinnati is also the home of McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish, invented in 1962 by a local franchisee. Continuing south, US-27 is mostly a 2-lane highway again through Kentucky. At Lexington, Kentucky, we can see the sights of the official “the Horse Capital of the World ®”. The 88th Kentucky Derby was held here on May 5th, 1962. Jockey Bill Hartack, riding Decidedly, won in 2:00.4 minutes. This was a new record time and was Hartack’s 3rd Derby win. The horse was the son of the 1954 Derby winner, Determine. There are many horse-related attractions in the area, including Keeneland Race Course. Keeneland has hosted live horse racing in April and October since 1936. It actually has two tracks, a 1 1⁄16 mile dirt oval and a 7/8 mile turf oval. There is a prep area where visitors can view horses up-close just before a race.
Ashland, the house and estate of Henry Clay, is also in Lexington. Henry Clay was an early American attorney and statesman who was the seventh Speaker of the House in Congress and the ninth Secretary of State. He ran for President in three elections between 1824 and 1844 and received electoral votes. The center part of Clay’s Ashland was completed in 1809 and by 1812 the home was a full five-part Federal style structure including a center block, two hyphens (connecting pieces), and two end blocks. Clay and his wife, Lucretia Hart, lived here when he was not in Washington, DC, until his death in 1852. Within a few years his son James found the home in such disrepair that he had the house demolished. He then rebuilt it, using much of the old material and incorporating more current styles such as Italianate, Greek Revival, and Victorian details. The rebuilding was completed by 1857. Since 1950, Ashland has been open to the public as a historic house museum with tours available. There is no charge to wander the gardens or estate.
Once again, US-27 crosses Kentucky and Tennessee on a mostly 2-lane road unbothered by freeways. At the bottom of Tennessee, in Chattanooga, we find several old time tourist attractions. Many are on or around Lookout Mountain, which has enough tourist sites to fill a 2-day visit to the city! Lookout Mountain even has its own website, just like a Chamber of Commerce would, so you can find all the attractions. First, let’s head under the mountain to Ruby Falls. This is a 145-foot high waterfall under the mountain. The rock of Lookout Mountain is limestone and the stream is 1120 feet underground. It’s fed by both rainwater and natural springs and after the falls, the stream flows out into the Tennessee River just across US-72. The falls were not discovered until 1928, when an entrepreneur was attempting to re-open the nearby Lookout Mountain Cave. That cave once had a natural entrance that was closed due to railroad tunnel construction. He successfully reopened Lookout Mountain Caverns in 1929 and Ruby Falls the following year. In 1954, a new pathway was cut around the base of the falls inside the mountain, to allow more scenic views.
Still at the bottom of the mountain, we find the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. It opened in 1895 and is about one mile long, with one end at Point Park at the mountain’s summit. The Incline Railway is the world's steepest passenger railway, even outdoing some in Switzerland. If you’ve never experienced an incline railway, you should try this one. It’s a lot like sitting on a staircase that moves up and down the mountain. Besides the view out the side windows, you can look through the roof and see Chattanooga as we ride uphill to get to The Battles for Chattanooga Museum, which was known as Confederama in 1962. This attraction was built in 1957 at the bottom of the mountain and operated there into the 1990s. I last visited in the 1970s, when it still had scale dioramas depicting the various Civil War battles using painted lead soldiers. After the death of the original owner, it was purchased by another local businessman and completely refurbished, still using the original figures. The entire exhibit was later moved to a new building at the top of the mountain in Point Park, and in 2016 a new, digital projection-mapped show with digital soundtrack and 3-D modeling software was installed, providing a new multi-media experience. The old Confederama building is now a Blockbuster Video store. Point Park also has actual cannons in the actual locations where the battles occurred. You can see where they were firing at! The story told is of the Civil War battles fought here in November of 1863. These battles were so devastating for the Confederacy that they became the final turning point that lead to the Union victory, as the next spring General Sherman used Chattanooga for his base to begin his march to Atlanta and the sea.
Finally, we need to drive around and then up the mountain into Georgia to see Rock City Gardens. When I think of Rock City, I can’t help thinking of their barn advertising. Almost since I started driving, I’ve seen their name painted on barns, signs, and birdhouses all over the eastern United States. The first of the painted barn roofs was created in 1935 by Clark Byers, who continued to paint these advertisements until 1969, eventually being responsible for over 900! Rock City is the creation of Garnet and Frieda Carter who designed a trail over, around, through, and even under the natural rock formations to complement an inn and residential development on top of Lookout Mountain. Rock City opened in 1932 and complemented their Tom Thumb miniature golf course that had opened six years earlier. You can read more about their Tom Thumb course on the Roadtrip-'62 ™ miniature golf page. At Rock City, the Enchanted Trail winds through rocks, across the Swing-A-Long bridge, past a 140-foot high man-made waterfall and dioramas of classic childhood fairy tales and gnomes, through the Hall of the Mountain King and Needle's Eye, past Mushroom Rock, and out to the edge of the cliff at Lover's Leap. Here, on a clear day, they advertise you can “See 7 states”.
If you decide to see it all, you can buy a combo ticket that includes Ruby Falls, the Incline Railway, and Rock City. A final attraction around Lookout Mountain is the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. This site, run by the National Park Service, shows the battlefields and history of the battles in the Chattanooga area, including nearby Chickamauga, Georgia. The park was authorized in 1890 and dedicated five years later. It was the first military park in the country. There are five areas comprising the park other than the Lookout Mountain Battlefield. The Chickamauga Battlefield was the site of a Confederate victory a couple of months before the main battles. It now includes a separate museum and visitor center. Missionary Ridge, in the center of Chattanooga, has eight monuments commemorating the battle fought there. Moccasin Bend, lying north of Lookout Mountain, was used as a supply base by Union forces and also includes an active archeological district that investigates over 12,000 years of Native American history. Signal Point was the main communications position of the Union forces, as it had commanding views of the area and all along the Tennessee River. Finally, Orchard Knob was the site of one of the earliest battles in the area.
Resuming the journey, through Georgia we would have again found US-27 to be a largely rural, 2-lane highway down to Tallahassee, Florida in 1962. However, virtually the entire road through Georgia has since been widened to a divided highway. You had a choice of how to get through the state in 1962, with both US-27 and US-27ALT traveling from Carrollton to Columbus, Georgia. As previously mentioned, Tallahassee is the site of the other state capitol on US-27. Tallahassee was chosen as the capital of the territory of American Florida in 1824, primarily because it was midway between the two principal cities of the time of St. Augustine and Pensacola. Three log cabins constituted Florida's first capitol. In 1826, a two-story masonry building was constructed. Just prior to Florida achieving statehood, the US Congress appropriated $20,000 for the erection of a new capitol. The new brick capitol was completed in 1845, just prior to the installation of the new state government. This structure remains the core of the Old Capitol today. The first major alteration to the Old Capitol was in 1902, when two new wings and the dome were added. This was the last time Florida's government operated under one roof. Further additions to the Capitol were made in 1923, 1936, and 1947, and additional buildings were acquired. A completely new Capitol Complex including a twenty-two-story executive office building was constructed in 1977. Restoration of the Old Capitol was accomplished in the face of calls to demolish it, and it was opened to the public in 1982 as the Florida Historic Capitol Museum, showcasing the state's political history. Tours are available.
The section of US-27 from Perry to Williston, Florida is the only 2-lane section of the highway remaining in the state. There is a US-27ALT that covers the same distance, paired with US-19 on a divided highway. Another shorter section of US-27ALT used to travel next to the main route from Haines City to Sebring, Florida, but has been renumbered to FL-17. Everything else has been upgraded to divided highways, all the way to Miami, Florida. In this section, I recently visited Cypress Gardens, about 4 miles west off US-27 near Winter Haven, Florida. You can read more about it on the my Roadtrip Down US-17, the Coastal Highway page. The most interesting thing I found was that when the adjacent Legoland was built in 2010, they did not tear out Cypress Gardens, but still offer it as a quiet zone behind the main amusement park. The water skiing shows still wow the crowds. The Southern Belles in their period costumes are gone, but there are a couple of Lego substitutes to take photos with!
A great place to visit near the south end of US-27 is Miami Beach, across Biscayne Bay from Miami, Florida. Many old, art deco hotels that were here in 1962 have been refurbished today to their original glory. Exteriors with pleasing curves and porthole windows abound. And interiors have beautiful details like the curved balconies, pipe railings, and the wood-and-metal bar of the Netherland Hotel, as seen below. The nine-story Netherland was built in 1936 and is now a condo, and both the age and use are typical for many of these old buildings, which also enjoy ocean views from the upper stories. Since this is now a condo, I’ll have to choose someplace else to stay the night and get ready for the next Roadtrip-'62 ™ journey. I hope you have an enjoyable National Road Trip Day and I’ll see you next time here!
Eating Local in 1962 – Saginaw, Michigan
April 21, 2020
Welcome again to a Roadtrip-'62 ™ discussion of things from 1962! My name is Don Milne and I’m your guide on this virtual tour of history. Today, we’ll be discussing local or regional brands of foods that you could purchase at the supermarket. Back in 1962, more food was packaged and sold locally, before the Interstate freeways improved distribution. Every larger city or region needed its local bakers, meat packers, brewers, canneries, dairies, potato chip factories, soda bottlers, etc. My hometown of Saginaw, Michigan was no exception, as we’ll see below. For purposes of my discussion, I’ll define local as the City of Saginaw and any of the 5 adjacent townships. This metropolitan had a population of about 144,000 in the 1960 census, which could support a robust market for food.
Let’s begin by looking at bread. Like many products at the time, there were nationwide or regional brands and local brands co-existing. Rainbo Bread comes to mind as the primary national brand, and Saginaw had a Rainbo bakery. It also had a Holsum Bread bakery and a Sunshine Crackers bakery to round out national brands produced locally. But Saginaw also had a couple of local bread bakers that have lasted beyond that period and expanded to regional distribution today. My favorite and the largest is Spatz Bread, still produced in what appears to be a small corner bakery. And they are still a small corner bakery in some respects, as you can buy the usual assortment of cookies and donuts at the shop. The shop and bakery is located right on old US-10, State St., about a mile west of the Saginaw River. It was established in 1854, is one of the oldest bakeries in the Midwest, and the current owner is still a Spatz family member. He still uses the original German recipe of only a handful of natural ingredients with no preservatives. Over the years Spatz has expanded its distribution and is now sold all over Mid-Michigan, but natives living elsewhere sometimes buy it on eBay! The bread freezes well, so people from farther away in Michigan stock up when they come to Saginaw. But the bakery closes for two weeks every July, so don’t bother to stop by then.
Spatz Bread bakery operation
My favorite use of Spatz bread is for peanut butter sandwiches. The texture, airy with real holes from the bread rising, goes perfectly with the smoothness of peanut butter. I also find it great for toast and jelly, as you cannot destroy the bread by spreading the jelly. And of course, it makes great BLT sandwiches. I’m also a big fan of their glazed donuts. I grew up on them and still think they’re some of the best ever. The video above shows Spatz baking operation where everything is still done by hand. Until just a couple of years ago they still wrapped each loaf in wax paper sold it in paper bags instead of plastic.
Other old-fashioned bakeries in Saginaw are the Napolitano Bakery and Vargas Corn Tortillas. Napolitano has been here since 1915 and specializes in Italian bread. It’s used by local restaurants and sold at stores. Today, the bakery is located about a mile further west from Spatz Bakery, also on State St., but it was originally on the City of Saginaw’s northeast side. Vargas was around in the 1940s as Vasquez Mexican Bakery, located near the east city limits. It was purchased by the Vargas family in 1962. Vargas Tortillas, a corn tortilla, are their main product. Mr. Vargas built his business by driving all over Mid-Michigan in his station wagon, delivering to stores and restaurants. The bakery moved to a larger building in downtown Saginaw a few years ago. Just like Spatz, ex-Michiganders come from out of state to stock up and locals ship the product to families all over the country.
Saginaw is located in an extensive farming area, so you might expect some food canning or packing businesses here. Pickles are the main product of this type for the area and Hausbeck Pickles is the last remaining operation of several that we would have found in 1962. National brands were well represented at that time. There was a Heinz Pickle plant that has since closed and been demolished. A Dailey Pickle plant was also here then, but was closed when that company eventually became part of the Vlassic Pickle company. Hausbeck was formed in 1923 and is still family-owned and operated. The company was a relatively small, local pickle supplier until the mid-1970s, when the original owner died and control was split among his sons. A grandson soon received his degree in food science from Michigan State University and came back to try to expand the company. He also introduced new food science principles, improving the quality and yield of the product. And he moved the company from strictly retail sales to fast food restaurant supply. You may never have heard of Hausbeck Pickles or seen a jar at the store but if you have ever eaten at Dominos, Burger King, or Subway, you have probably eaten some of their pickles or peppers. Their first restaurant contract was selling to local Burger Kings in 1980, and that business soon grew at 30 to 40 percent a year. They still sell to supermarkets and I enjoy their Midget Dill pickles. Today, they occupy a brand new plant in the City of Saginaw, ironically on the site of the former Heinz plant.
Nearly every city of 50,000 or more seems to have had local soda pop bottlers in 1962. Saginaw had several, though none are still around. Shay Water & Beverage grew out a company that supplied clean drinking water in the early 1920s, when much of Saginaw still relied on street corner water pumps that were supplied from the Saginaw River. Shay transported artesian spring water from farther west in the state, founding his company in 1929. The plant was originally located just west of the Saginaw River, and has since moved about a mile north. Currently, they are back in their original business of providing bottled water. But for decades, including the 1960s, they also bottled pop. Many companies bottled national brands and I recall Shay as the local bottler of Hires Root Beer, Mission fruit flavors, and Squirt, though they probably bottled other national brands too.
Others produced only their own flavors, such as Saginaw’s National Bottling Company. They had no connection to today’s National Beverage Company, bottler of Faygo, Shasta, Everfresh Juices, and LaCroix Waters. National was one of the many beer brewers that was forced to find a new business during Prohibition, when the manufacture and sale of alcohol was illegal. You can find more stories of what breweries did during that period on my trip along US-18 through Wisconsin. National Brewery began in 1885 along E. Genesee Ave, which would become US-10 / US-23, in Saginaw. After the repeal of prohibition the brewery began making beer again in 1933, but quit in 1941 and switched back to soda because competition from larger regional brewers was too steep. They built a newer bottling plant farther east, just out of the city. They bottled their own National flavors but no truly national brands and closed in the 1980s. One more bottler of the 1962 period was Chapman’s Beverages: I drank a lot of their orange pop as a kid! I could not find when the company began, but bottles date-stamped 1928 have been seen for sale online. They were located about a half mile north of the city limits. They also bottled their own Chapman’s flavors but no national brands and went out of business in 1978.
Most cities also had dairies, as milk was not generally shipped long distances to groceries. In fact, home delivery of milk, cream, and butter was still the most common way to buy dairy products. Saginaw had several, including the nationally advertised Borden’s. All are gone today, with Superior Dairies being the last to close. It was located in the southwest part of the City of Saginaw. They tried to cut costs by converting their old delivery trucks to run on natural gas, but eventually that was not enough. They were the last home delivery dairy in Saginaw, and near the end of their run in the 2000s they may have been only a distributor. It appears their Golden Guernsey milk may have come from a diary in Northville, Michigan.
Hoff’s Farm Dairy (aka. Walter Hoff Dairy) was a much larger operation that I cannot find a starting date for. As a larger operation, it attracted the attention of a regional company that was purchasing local dairies to create a nationwide network. Bowman, based in the Chicago, Illinois area, was such a company, buying dairies all over the Midwest throughout the 1940s and 1950s. In 1955 Bowman purchased two dairies in Saginaw, Michigan: Walter Hoff Dairy and Huebner Quality Dairy. Bowman Dairy proved to be too aggressive, however, and by 1959 it began to lose money. It remained unprofitable until its sale to the Dean Foods Company in 1966. So while the dairy was still in operation in 1962, the bottles and other signage probably was for Bowman. I remember that for a short time when I was a kid, we had Bowman milk delivered instead of Borden’s. Eventually, my parents settled on Superior Dairies because the milk had a higher milkfat content, and my dad liked that. The dairy was located in Buena Vista Township, about 3 miles east of old US-23. There is still a farm there owned by a Hoff family, but no dairy.
Dairies means ice cream too, and Saginaw had it’s share of creameries. M&B Ice Cream was a small ice cream manufacturer that appears to have formed about 1910. Borden’s offered to buy the business in 1950, but the offer was turned down. I could not find when they closed, but while I remember their signs, I don’t remember ever having M&B Ice Cream. I do remember having Mooney’s Ice Cream many times! Money’s was originally founded as a butter plant in 1927 before expanding to sell ice cream throughout northern and mid-Michigan. They had a great ice cream parlor at the front of their plant in mid-Saginaw. We went there on many warm summer nights and that’s where I discovered that ice cream came in more flavors than vanilla and chocolate! My favorite was the butterscotch ripple. My father worked at the original Mooney’s when he was in high school. He always told a story of how he and some of the other guys in the ice cream plant would take partially frozen, circular containers of ice cream off the filling line and squeeze the still-liquid center up and out to eat. The company was sold after the death of the owner in 1986 to Stroh Brewery of Detroit, Michigan, which had an ice cream subsidiary. It was then sold again to Dean Foods in 2005. The Mooney brand is still made somewhere and sold in at least Saginaw and Gaylord, Michigan, but I was unable to find out who makes it. It does not appear on the Dean Foods website. The building, on Saginaw’s west side, was demolished in 1997 but the great neon sign from the front was saved and remains lighted at night on the new Ippel building in Saginaw. One of the places you can still buy the ice cream is at a new Mooney’s about 2½ miles west of Saginaw on old US-10. Other than the ice cream brand, there is no connection with the original company.
One type of food processor that few cities have is a sugar refinery. But the Saginaw area had one at the Michigan Sugar plant in adjacent Carrollton Township. Michigan Sugar processed sugar beets into Pioneer Sugar. Sugar beet processing began in Michigan in 1898 with a plant in Essexville. The Saginaw Valley Sugar Company of Carrollton soon followed. The Michigan Sugar Company was formed by merging six smaller companies in 1906. Consolidation and closings continued over the years and by 1954, only two of Michigan’s original 24 companies remained: one of them was Michigan Sugar. The other was Monitor Sugar Company in Bay City, Michigan. New owners in 1962 worked on legislation and researching the best methods from European sugar beet refineries to help grow the business and make it more efficient. After several corporate buyouts of both companies in the 1980s and bankruptcies in the early 2000s, Monitor Sugar Company and Michigan Sugar Company were joined by their grower-owner associations and the two companies became a single grower-owned cooperative. Today, Michigan Sugar Company is the only remaining sugar company in the state and the third largest in the United States. Its combined factories have a beet slicing capacity of 22,000 tons per day and an ability to produce more than 1.1 billion pounds of sugar each year, which it markets under the Pioneer Sugar and Big Chief Sugar brand names.
Saginaw is missing some types of food processors that you usually find in large cities: a potato chip company and a meat packer. Made-Rite Potato Chips was located in Bay City, Michigan, just 13 miles north, so that probably functioned as the local supplier in a larger metro area. They have since closed. There was a local meat packer farther south in Saginaw County that probably also functioned as if it were part of the Saginaw metro area. Farmer Peet Meats of Chesaning, Michigan was well known throughout the state and sold its products in Saginaw. It has also since closed.
Finally, a processor of dry beans was located in the center of Saginaw in 1962: Jack Rabbit Beans. Sometime in the late 1920s, Al Reidel began bagging the country’s first brand of packaged beans and named them Jack Rabbit after a rabbit his daughter had received from magician Harry Houdini. But Mr. Reidel’s Michigan Bean Company is probably more famous locally for the giant neon bunny at the top of his bean elevator than for the beans! The sign was built in 1947 and at 50 feet wide by 35 feet tall it is the largest figural neon sign in the United States. The sign went dark in 1985 when the elevator was sold but was relit after a public fundraising campaign began in 1997 and continued through 2007. In 2006, the building was sold again but the new owner not only allowed the sign to stay, but for several years he donated the electricity to light it. Of course, all good things come to an end and the sign has gone dark again in recent years.
As for the beans, after passing through several owners, the brand is now owned by Trinidad Benham. They are the leading independent US packager of edible dry beans. Jack Rabbit Beans are no longer packaged in Saginaw. In fact, you can’t even buy them at a store in Saginaw. When I checked the company’s website, it said the closest location is more than 100 miles from here! Most retailers seem to be in the New York City / Washington D.C. corridor.
If you know of any other food processors that were in business in Saginaw in 1962, I would love to be reminded of them! Please go to our Contact page and send me a message.
Roadtrip Highlights Along US-26
March 24, 2020
Next up on the Roadtrip-'62 ™ review of US-numbered routes, is US-26. This route runs 1,510 miles from Ogallala, Nebraska to Cannon Beach Jct., Oregon, though in 1962 it ran an extra 47 miles west to the Pacific Ocean at Astoria, Oregon. There, it ended at the same point as US-30, which I find interesting because it also began at US-30 back in Nebraska! In Nebraska and Wyoming, much of the route follows the North Platte River and tributaries, which presented a convenient route to the west coast during pioneer days. Both the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail followed the river, with the Oregon Trail on the south bank and the Mormon Trail on the north bank. Highway US-26 bounces back and forth from one side of the river to the other. Near Guernsey State Park in Wyoming, the Oregon Trail Ruts are actual wagon ruts that have been carved into the soft sandstone.
So let’s begin at Ogallala and follow the old wagon route west! Very quickly, we come to Chimney Rock National Historic Site, near Bayard, Nebraska. Chimney Rock is a prominent geological rock formation that was a landmark for settlers traveling the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Mormon Trail. The spire 480 rises about 480 feet above the North Platte River Valley. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1956, though some of the land was given by the Frank Durnal family to the Nebraska State Historical Society in 1940. Today there is a visitor center, but in its early years there was only a picnic site. At the Chimney Rock Gift Shop you can buy a piece of local rock to take with you.
About 18 miles west, in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, is another prominent rock formation, Scotts Bluff National Monument. This site was designated a National Monument in 1919 and protects over 3,000 acres of historic overland trail remnants and the bluffs, along with some mixed-grass prairie, badlands, and area along the North Platte River. The visitor center at the base of the bluff serves as a starting point for hiking tours of the bluffs. There is also a roadway leading to the top of the 800-foot high Scotts Bluff, which was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The road goes through three tunnels on its way to the top and provides easy access to the summit, where there is another trailhead. As Nebraska is generally only a rolling landscape, these are the only three vehicular tunnels in the state. Also within the monument is the reconstructed Rodidoux Trading Post, a reproduction of the trading post that was located here in the early 1850s. You can see an exhibit of the furs, traps, beads, and cookware that was sold from the trading post. Wagon trails and several markers show the original path of the trail within the park.
Video tour of Fort Laramie, Wyoming
Another important site along the famous westward trails is Fort Laramie National Historic Site, near the town of the same name. Originally established as a private fur trading fort in 1834 known as Fort William, the fort evolved into the largest post on the Northern Plains before its abandonment in 1890. It was located at an advantageous spot at confluence of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers, just east of the long climb to the best and lowest crossing point of the Rocky Mountains at South Pass, Wyoming. The post originally did good business trading commercial goods for beaver pelts and buffalo hides, but by the 1840s it began doing a seasonal business catering to the needs of emigrants heading west to Utah and the west coast. By 1849 these travelers were estimated to number between 20,000 and 40,000. The fort was sold several times, and that year, the U.S. Army purchased the fort as part of a plan to establish a military presence along the emigrant trails and renamed it Fort Laramie. It next became the primary hub for transportation and communication through the central Rocky Mountain region. Emigrant trails, stagecoach lines, the Pony Express, and even the transcontinental telegraph all passed through the post. After 1869, when the first transcontinental railroad was completed through Utah, wagon traffic past the fort began decreasing. As the Indian Wars eventually ended, Fort Laramie's importance diminished, so it was abandoned and sold piecemeal at public auction in 1890.
Over the next 48 years, the buildings deteriorated but future preservation of the site was secured in 1938 when Fort Laramie became part of the National Park System. Today, you can see the visitor center located in the restored 1884 Commissary Storehouse, tour a museum, and explore the grounds including some remaining ruins. Many buildings have been restored to the period from 1849 to the late 1880s. During summer months, staff members and volunteers appear in period dress to bring history alive on the grounds. There is also a hiking trail that leads to the confluence of the Platte and Laramie Rivers.
Highway US-26 continues to follow the North Platte River through an agricultural area to the industrial city of Casper, Wyoming. There are several other Oregon Trail historical sites along this portion of the road, including museums in Douglas and Glenrock, Wyoming. At Guernsey, Wyoming are Oregon Trail Ruts and Register Cliff. The cliffs in Guernsey State Park have inscriptions of the names of the people making the journey; a museum offers information on the trail. Wagon ruts carved into the sandstone on The Oregon Trail can still be seen just 1/2 mile south of Guernsey while the ruts are actual wagon ruts that have carved into the soft sandstone. From 1841-1869, the constant travel of people, their wagons, and their animals wore the trail from two to six feet down into a sandstone ridge here, creating the best-preserved set of Oregon Trail ruts anywhere along its former length. Register Cliff is only two miles southeast of town and was used by pioneers to carve their names into the soft sandstone as a record for those who followed. The landmark still remains much the way it looked to pioneers on the wagon trains heading west. Further down the road, we meet US-20 at Orin, Wyoming and travel with it for 162 miles to Shoshoni, Wyoming, as highlighted on our US-20 roadtrip
Casper is an industrial town that grew with the oil industry. It’s nicknamed "The Oil City" and first bloomed during an oil boom on the nearby Salt Creek Oil Field in 1889. As recently as the early 1980s, the city and nearby area was home to three refineries, though only one remains. Today, Casper holds 11 museums but most were founded after 1962, so we won’t be stopping. If you stop, you will find something for every taste, including an art museum, the Tate Geological Museum, a planetarium, science museum, veterans museum, and some history museums. From here, the trip through mid-Wyoming crosses cattle rangeland and badlands on the way to Riverton. You may see livestock alongside the highway and if you look closely, you will notice cattle guards at the crossroads along the way. These are intended to reduce hazards by keeping the cows off the main highway. Riverton had its major growth spurt in the 1950s as uranium mining in the surrounding Gas Hills boomed. However, the closure of those mines resulted in a downturn in the area. In addition to livestock ranching and some retained uranium activity, there is also oil and gas production in the area.
Highway US-20 leaves us at Riverton and heads north, downstream through the Wind River Canyon. From Riverton, US-26 travels upstream along the Wind River towards Grand Teton National Park. It’s uphill all the way, first through more rangeland and later through very scenic, red and yellow sandstone canyons that are broader and shallower than their big brother to the north. The road twists and turns through the scenery with the river often beside you, so drive carefully and enjoy it. You can see parts of the highway on webcams operated by the Wyoming DOT. Here’s their webcam on US-26 at Togwotte Pass over the Continental Divide, east of Grand Teton National Park. Snowfall on the ground here often exceeds 25 feet and reports of over 50 feet are known. The road is shut down for days at a time during blizzards. Grand Teton National Park was established in its present form in 1950, consolidating several Federal land holdings and providing a winter range for the elk that inhabit the high country in Yellowstone National Park. Route US-26 runs along the length of the park on the east side, providing wonderful views of the highest mountains of the Teton Range. If you would rather see the bottom of the valley, you can take float trips on the Snake River from Jackson, Wyoming. Either way, the park is beautiful. Besides enjoying nature, you can enjoy history at several sites in the park, including Menors Ferry Historic District. For an extra treat, you can see moose right along the side of the road at twilight! We took a back road out of Jackson, Wyoming a couple of years ago and got photos like this.
From here, US-26 follows the Snake River to Idaho Falls, Idaho, where the river flows over the falls that give the city its name. Originally, the falls were only some rapids over loose rocks in the river, but sometime after 1891 a retaining wall was constructed for a hydroelectric power plant, which changed the rapids into falls. The city was a growing agricultural area at the time, and in 1895 the Great Feeder canal diverted water from the Snake River to irrigate land, converting tens of thousands more acres of desert into farmland. In addition to agriculture, the city grew after the opening of what became the Idaho National Laboratory in the desert west of town in 1949. Soon after leaving Idaho Falls, we again meet US-20 and travel together with it through Atomic City and Arco, Idaho, and Craters of the Moon National Monument. This area and the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory were discussed on my US-20 roadtrip page.
Route US-26 also goes through the capital city of Boise, Idaho. The first capital of the Idaho Territory was Lewiston as it was the largest city in the territory in 1863. This original territory was larger than Texas, but after the Montana Territory was removed, Boise was made the capital of a much smaller Idaho Territory. The capitol building was constructed in two stages, with the dome and central parts constructed between 1905-1912. This first phase included only the rotunda, dome, the north wing housing the Supreme Court, and some offices in short east and west corridors. The main wings, housing the agency offices and the House and Senate chambers, were constructed during 1919-1920. The Idaho Capitol Building rises 208 feet from the first floor to the eagle atop the dome. It is the only state capitol heated by geothermal water. This hot water is tapped and pumped from a source 3,000 feet underground. Most of the superstructure is made of local sandstone, with four types of marble used for the interior. Tours are available, where you can see permanent and temporary exhibits of some of the more than 1,000 artifacts and historic furnishings in the capitol collection. You can also see the George Washington Equestrian statue carved by Charles L. Ostner out of yellow pine wood in 1869. It originally stood outside of the Territorial Capitol in Boise until that building was removed to make way for the current capitol building. The statue was restored and gilded in 1966 and is now on display in the 2nd floor rotunda.
Boise is also home to the Boise Art Museum. This museum dates back to 1932, when the Boise Art Association began displaying art in the local Carnegie Public Library. They constructed their own gallery in 1937 in Julia Davis Park, and expanded the building in 1972, 1986, and 1997. The present scope of their 4,000-plus work collection is American art with additional emphasis on Asian art, European Art, and ethnographic collections from several continents. The collection includes prints, drawings, watercolors and photographs, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, textiles, mixed-media works, and even video. Works date from antiquity through the 21st centuries.
Our trip on US-26 enters Oregon through more rangeland and crosses the Blue Mountains through Malheur National Forest. The Malheur National Forest contains the largest known organism (by area) in the world: an Armillaria solidipes fungus that spans 2,200 acres! This cream-brown fungus grows and spreads primarily underground, so the bulk of the organism lies in the ground, out of sight. However, in the autumn this organism blooms what are called "honey mushrooms" as surface fruits. The forest was established in 1908 and is managed for cattle grazing, lumber harvesting, and recreation. It includes two wilderness areas.
After we descend from the forest, we enter a desert and make a stop at the John Day National Fossil Beds. People have been studying the fossils in the region since 1864. The National Monument was not declared until 1975, though Oregon purchased the land in the 1930s for state parks. In 1962, we would have visited the sites at Sheep Rock and the Painted Hills as state parks. The Sheep Rock Unit is just off US-26 and includes the Thomas Condon Paleontology and Visitor Center, which is a working lab, and hiking trails. Fossils of plants and animals are found in a number of geological layers dating from 33-7 million years ago in this area. The Painted Hills Unit is located farther west along US-26 and about 9 miles northwest of Mitchell, Oregon. These scenic hills show varied stripes of red, tan, orange, and black sediments and preserve a sequence of past climate change. There are more hiking trails in this area. Remember, this is a real desert, so if you hike, take plenty of water and some portable shade. As a bonus, US-26 runs through the Picture Gorge on the John Day River between these two parts of the National Monument.
We finally leave the desert after the Painted Hills area and then pass through a mixed landscape of irrigated farmland, scrub grassland and pine forests on our way to Mt. Hood. The mountain is an active volcano and while it had its last major eruption in 1782, it also had a minor eruptive event in August 1907. There are still active fumaroles and hot springs on the mountain. Mt. Hood has several active glaciers, so that it has some snow cover year round. Highway US-26 passes the south flank of the mountain through Government Camp. The village of Government Camp has been a winter sports base since the US Forest Service built nearby Timberline Lodge in 1937. The lodge is a National Historic Landmark. The Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum is located here and while it was only incorporated in 1998, it’s still a great place to stop for views of the mountain and more local information. Mt. Hood has been called the second most climbed mountain in the world. It hosts several ski areas and is home to the only year-round ski resort in North America. From here to Portland, Oregon, US-26 is part of the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway. We’ll see a lot of the mountain beside and behind us as we head to Portland through the Mt. Hood National Forest, which was formed by merging several smaller national forests in 1924.
Portland prides itself on public art and has dozens of public fountains of every different style, constructed during many different eras. Most are in or near the downtown and the city offers a walking tour map. Some we could have seen in 1962 are Elk Fountain, with its elk statue; Skidmore Fountain, Portland’s oldest commissioned public art; and Shemanski Fountain, also known as Rebecca at the Well. Portland is known as "The City of Roses" and I always enjoy a visit to the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park when I travel through the city. Washington Park is right on US-26, so it’s easy to find. The garden is the oldest official continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States, featuring more than 10,000 roses. The garden was conceived by Jesse A. Currey in 1915 and approved by Portland Parks in 1917. It’s open daily and admission is free to view its over 650 varieties of roses. Roses do very well here due to the weather, and bloom from April through October. And if you want to enjoy some other flowers, try the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Crystal Springs was founded in 1950 as a rhododendron test garden and now contains more than 2,500 rhododendrons and azaleas.
From here Roadtrip-'62 ™ heads west to the Pacific Ocean and the end of US-26. Back in 1962, the west end of the highway was at the junction with US-101 at the 14th Street Ferry Terminal, because the Astoria-Megler Bridge over the Columbia River was not built until 1966. When the bridge was completed, the ferry ceased operation and US-26, along with US-30, were relocated to the end of the bridge, still in Astoria. The highway now ends about 20 miles farther south near Cannon Beach, Oregon. Oregon beaches on the Pacific Ocean are spectacular, with scenic rock formations at many. A good string of beaches begins at Tolovana Beach State Recreation Site just south of the town of Cannon Beach, and heads south. Haystack Rock is typical of the formations you can see at the beaches, and the park also has miles of sandy beach for walking, tide pools for wildlife viewing, and nesting birds. You might see common murres, pigeon guillemots, or tufted puffins like my friend in the photo. You might even have a chance to watch the gray whales migrate offshore in either December or March!
5 Weather Stories from 1962
February 3, 2020
As I noted on a previous Roadtrip-'62 ™ page, three Tiros weather satellites were launched by the United States in 1962. This gave a total of six in orbit and their benefits began to be felt this year. Information from the Tiros satellites was used to help land the Mercury space capsules. It was also used to analyze the origins and progress of hurricanes by sending data to hurricane warning centers in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Miami, Florida, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Data also allowed meteorologists, for the first time, to determine that the reason hurricanes dissipated upon landfall was because of their loss of the heat source of open water, not because of friction caused by structures and vegetation. This was the beginning of our current constant, 24-7 information from weather satellites that blanket the world.
Out in the Pacific Ocean, nearly half the island of Guam was devastated by Typhoon Karen in November, 1962. Approximately 7,000 homes over 500 commercial buildings were destroyed, communications came to a halt, and the island's power and water systems shut down for several months before they could be repaired. It was the most powerful tropical cyclone to strike the island of Guam, with winds of 185 mph. But despite the extensive damage, only 11 people were killed. This was largely due to the fact that the island had three days notice of the storm’s approach. Buildings were boarded up, emergency supplies were distributed, and all personnel on the island were ordered to evacuate to typhoon-proof shelters. Some evacuated to Wake Island. Naval ships left port to rest far out to sea and Air Force planes stationed on the island were relocated.
Aftermath of Typhoon Karen in Guam, 1962
Great Britain experienced its third coldest winter ever beginning in December 1962, known as The Big Freeze. Going all the way back to 1659, only the winters of 1683–84 and 1739–40 are recorded as being colder! Over the winter of The Big Freeze, over 120,000 people died; something seldom seen in modern developed countries. Snows began on December 12-13 and on December 29-30 a blizzard covered southwest England and Wales with drifts up to 20 feet deep in places. And because the temperatures stayed so low, the snow cover lasted for more than two months in some areas. By January, 1963 it had been cold for so long that the sea froze for a mile off shore at Herne Bay, Kent. It also froze 4 miles out to sea from Dunkirk. And the upper reaches of the River Thames froze over thickly enough that someone drove a car across it at Oxford!
In February 1962, the North Sea flooded low coastal areas of Germany, destroying the homes of about 60,000 people and killing 315 people in the City of Hamburg alone. A windstorm with peak speeds of over 120 mph pushed water against the coast, leading to a water surge that dikes could not withstand. Sea dikes were breached in some 50 locations. The winds also pushed the water upstream on the rivers Elbe and Weser, which led to widespread flooding away from the coast. Hamburg, on the river Elbe, but 60 miles away from the coast, suffered the worst. Authorities requested help from any sources they could, including Germany’s NATO allies. The situation was so bad that Hamburg’s Police Senator even requested help from the German Army, ignoring the German constitution's prohibition on using the army for "internal affairs". This prompted adding a clause to the constitution which allowed using the army during disasters, though it was not added until 1968.
Another severe storm of 1962 was Tropical Storm Harriet, which hit Nakhon Si Thammarat Province of Thailand in October 1962. It wiped out entire villages, leaving over 10,000 people homeless and approximately 935 dead, according to the Thai Meteorological Department. Another storm of the same type and strength would hit the same area of Thailand in 2019. Elsewhere in Asia, Typhoon Wanda hit Hong Kong on September 1, killing 434 and leaving over 80,000 homeless. And in August 1962, the Dongchun River in Sunchon, South Korea burst a dike during a storm and the resulting wall of water killed 163 people.
One of the worst weather events in the United States was the Ash Wednesday Storm of March 7, 1962, which affected the coast from Florida to New England. Another was the Columbus Day Storm of October 12, 1962, which ravaged Oregon and Washington. You can read more about both events on our National Headlines from 1962 page. Hopefully, neither you nor Roadtrip-'62 ™ will encounter any of these disastrous weather events as we travel to our next destination.
Roadtrip Highlights Along US-25
January 13, 2020
I titled my Roadtrip-'62 ™ journey down US-23 “From Sea to Inland Sea” because that highway ran from the inland sea of the Great Lakes to the sea at an Atlantic Ocean harbor. Well, US-25 does the same thing! Or at least it did back in 1962. Many US-numbered routes were shortened because they duplicated the route of the new interstate freeways. For US-25, that meant the Michigan and Ohio portions were deleted in 1974, due to paralleling interstate routes I-75 and I-94. A short piece in Virginia was also later eliminated. The old route was 1151 miles whereas the new distance is only 750 miles, passing through six states instead of nine. Highway US-25 is also one of the routes that splits into two parts for a portion of its distance. In this case, US-25W travels the distance from Corbin, Kentucky to Newport, Tennessee, via Knoxville and Jellico, Tennessee and travels along with I-75. The US-25E portion covers this distance by heading southeast out of Kentucky and entering Tennessee through the Cumberland Gap.
The beginning of US-25 in 1962 was at Port Austin, Michigan and it traveled the scenic shore of Lake Huron for the next 85 miles. Though the road seldom is near the lake, there are numerous local parks and even Lakeport State Park on the shore, just off US-25. It’s a great place for a leisurely drive and a picnic with a view. After crossing from Lake Huron through some farmland, the road also traveled through downtown Detroit, Michigan providing big city contrast to the beginning of the trip. From there, it headed in an almost straight line into Ohio at Toledo, where it crossed our US-23 trip. There was also a US-25 Bypass around the north and west sides of Toledo, near the line of the present day I-475 freeway.
Our other cross continent roadtrip, down US-6, crosses US-25 in Bowling Green, Ohio, not far south of Toledo. From Toledo to Cincinnati, Ohio most of US-25 was already obsolete by 1962, as most of the I-75 freeway was complete. You could bypass Findlay and Lima, but not yet Dayton, Ohio. Cincinnati is a major junction point of the US-numbered routes, where US-25 meets US-22, US-27, US-42, US-50, and US-52. It’s also a major river port, handling barge traffic from the Mississippi River deep into the industrial heart of the country, all the way east to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When there, I recommend the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. It lies just few blocks west of old US-25, now US-42, in the middle of town. The zoo has been here since 1875, which makes it the second oldest zoo in the United States. My wife and I like to linger at the Gibbon Islands to watch the gibbons gliding along from branch to branch. A relatively small zoo, it nonetheless has nice displays of gorillas, giraffes, and hippos. Large and colorful floral plantings throughout the grounds round out the zoo nicely.
At Corbin, Kentucky, US-25 splits into two routes, US-25E and US-25W. The west leg goes through Corbin, mid-Tennessee including Knoxville, and rejoins US-25E at Newport, Tennessee. The east leg goes through the Cumberland Gap, which I will talk more of later. At Corbin, I often stop and have lunch at the original Harland Sanders Café, birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken! It’s a unique dining room with old-fashioned wooden kitchen tables and chairs, plank floors, and ceiling light fixtures like 1960s kitchen colonial revival style. Harland Sanders had a long career operating a gas station, café, and motel at this location, beginning in 1930. The current building dates to 1940 and is where he developed Kentucky Fried Chicken and its secret eleven herbs and spices coating and pressure cooking method. Colonel Sanders, as he became known, sold the café in 1956 and began selling franchises for his chicken. One franchisee operated here at the original café, so we could have had our chicken here in 1962. It closed in 1988 and the Harland Sanders Café was renovated and reopened in the fall of 1990 as a museum. The museum is still connected to a new KFC restaurant and I’ve eaten in the restored dining room. In addition to the dining room, the museum includes a lot of KFC memorabilia and displays including the original kitchen, a model motel room interior of Sanders’ motel, and the Colonel’s office. The memorabilia includes paperwork, advertising, kitchen utensils, and even "Bertha," his original chicken pressure cooker.
The US-25E leg, as mentioned, goes through the Cumberland Gap. It was somewhat easier but less scenic to visit the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in 1962, because US-25E actually traveled on or near the historic Wilderness Road through the gap. This even involved a short travel through Virginia. But in 2000, the road was rerouted through the new Cumberland Gap Tunnel. The tunnel replaces a dangerous, 2.3-mile stretch of US-25E, which had earned the unpleasant nickname of Massacre Mountain. That old alignment on the former roadbed has been restored by the National Park Service to its appearance as an early 19th-century wagon path. The park was established in 1940 and was formally dedicated in 1959 by then Vice President Richard Nixon. Besides walking the old wagon path, you can take tours of Gap Cave (formerly known as Cudjo's Cave) and the Hensley Settlement. The cave tours take you past stalagmites and flowstone cascades, and you may even see some of the bats that inhabit the cave. The Hensley Settlement Tours are at the top of Brush Mountain, and invite you into the blacksmith's shop, the springhouse, and the one-room schoolhouse. The settlement was established in 1904 and was actually still occupied until 1951, some years after the park was created. You can also visit the nearby small towns of to Cumberland Gap, Tennessee or Middlesboro, Kentucky. I think we bought our first set of china here many years ago. And if you like to hike over mountains, there are over 80 miles of trails in the park. I didn’t try these when I was last here, as most seemed very strenuous and involved steep terrain.
The two parts of US-25 join back up at Newport, Tennessee and head across the mountains to Asheville, North Carolina. Here, we meet our US-23 roadtrip again, where I discussed some sights of Asheville. From there, we head down to Augusta, Georgia, best known for hosting The Masters golf tournament during the first full week of April every year. Membership at Augusta National is widely considered to be the most exclusive in the sport of golf across the world.
The Masters had its start when amateur golf champion Bobby Jones and investment banker Clifford Roberts purchased a former plant nursery in 1930. Jones co-designed Augusta National with course architect Alister MacKenzie and the course opened in 1934. World War II interrupted the tournament for 3 years, during which the course was actually used to raise cattle and turkey for the war efforts! The Masters tournament is on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Japan Golf Tour and its famous green jacket has been awarded to the champion since 1949. Arnold Palmer won the 1962 game, his third win after 1958 and 1960. He won both of those tournaments by one stroke and the 1962 win was the first three-way playoff. Gary Player took 2nd place and Dow Finsterwald placed 3rd. The winning purse that year for Palmer was just $20,000; it was over $11 million in 2018! Spectator accommodations were still minimal in 1962, with the first spectator observation stand built that year. The game had only been on television since 1956, when CBS first broadcast it. In the early days, CBS used only six cameras and covered only the final four holes. Today, more than 50 cameras are used and the entire tournament is broadcast, with ESPN also airing the game. Considering the exclusivity of August National golf club, you and I will be watching the next tournament on TV, not out on the course.
If you’re looking for something truly different in Augusta, you could try pacing a freight train. A joint track of Norfork Southern and CSX Railroad runs right down the center of 6th Street and trains travel down it at about 5mph. This is not just a 2-3 car switching run for a local industry, but the real deal 20-50 car freight trains! Trains have been running along 6th Street since the horse-drawn days of the early 1860s.
Route US-25 ends in Brunswick, Georgia, the same as it did in 1962. The city is the lowest in the state of Georgia, with an elevation of only 10 to 14 feet (3.0 to 4.3 m) above sea level. As a consequence it was severely flooded by hurricanes in the 1890s. Brunswick is another famous Georgia golfing destination, combined with nearby Jekyll, St. Simons, and Sea islands, there are 252 holes of golf in the Brunswick area. These islands, known as the Golden Isles, feature white-sand public beaches and are popular destinations for tourists like us.
Jekyll Island was evacuated during World War II by order of the US government. In 1947 the state of Georgia acquired all the property, for security and preservation. For several years, improvements were made by the state through a convict labor system and the area was opened for tourism in 1954. In addition to its beaches, you can find lots of wildlife on the island’s inland marsh and guided tours of the Landmark Historic District are available. You can also view dolphins from the shore. Approximately in the center of the west coast of the island is the historic district containing the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, which is still open. The Jekyll Island Club began as an exclusive club for the wealthy in 1888. Thirty-three other buildings from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries surround it. Some are the mansion-sized "cottages" built by the rich, while others have been adapted for use as museums, art galleries, or stores. This looks like an especially quiet, scenic, though perhaps pricey, place to end a journey. So I’m stopping here to plan the next Roadtrip-'62 ™ trip. See you then!
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