Posts Tagged ‘sign’

Tunnel Diner in Jersey City slated for demolition

March 26, 2008

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor folks received word that the Tunnel Diner in Jersey City, New Jersey, is slated for demolition. This classic factory-built diner (1950s interior, 1960s redo outside) at 184 14th Street is along the later Lincoln Highway, once it was rerouted between New York City and New Jersey due to the opening of the Holland Tunnel in November 1927. It had closed in 2007. The cover of the album Tunnel Diner (by Steve Mackay and the Radon Ensemble on Qbico Records) shows one of the diner’s most memorable features, a vertical neon sign. The diner reportedly appeared in the 1996 film City Hall about the accidental shooting of a boy in New York City, with a cast headed by Al Pacino, John Cusack, Bridget Fonda, and Danny Aiello.

NJ_Tun-Diner.jpg

Anyone know more about the closing and scheduled demolition?

Lincoln Highway Companion extra photo 1

January 12, 2008

As I prepare to hand to my publisher the images for my next book, Lincoln Highway Companion, I’m left with hundreds that just don’t fit. They’re fine photos, but I have a page count that I can’t exceed and it’s already filled. So here’s the first of the runner-ups.

WV_CarriageClub

I’ve photographed this neon sign for at least 15 years. It’s in West Virgina very close to the Pennsylvania border. The sign and entrance face the parking lot – in the rear of the nightclub! The Lincoln Highway opened here in 1928 – I’ve always wondered if it originally came down this side and was later moved to the front side of the building to make the road straighter.

In this other angle I posted on Flickr, you can see that under the Carriage Club neon is lettering for what must be an earlier name, the Half Moon Club. Any West Virginians know more about the club or the road here?

Hammer Motel, a Kearney landmark no more

January 3, 2008

The Hammer Motel on the Lincoln Highway in Kearney, Nebraska, was famous for its sign topped by a giant hammer and three supporting poles made to look like big nails. Named for the Hammer family, it served travelers for decades before being demolished in 1995 for parking.

NE_KearnHamEd
Postcards from Flickr friend Allen/Roadsidepictures.

Piecing together the story from various sources, John and Nina Hammer were married in 1935, then moved from Omaha to Kearney in 1938. John served in WWII and in 1947 they built the motel along Watson Blvd/24th St/US 30 West. A 1952 listing in the city’s Polk’s Directory also lists Fred and Belle Hammer as owners. Signs show it was a Best Western member, and matchbooks advertise that it was part of the Friendship Inn chain.

NE_KearnHam2

The family sold the motel in 1962 and it closed in 1987. The adjacent University of Nebraska at Kearney then acquired it for student housing known as Hammer Hall or Hammer Apartments or just “The Hammer.” School literature described it as “a unique living opportunity for the approximately 50 upperclass residents of this remodeled hotel facility. Each convenience-style apartment has a private entrance, living room and bathroom. A variety of room sizes, laundry and kitchen facilities, front desk services, and ‘front-door’ parking are some of the significant advantages of the facility.” But in 1995, it was razed to create additional campus parking – see blue box below for what I believe is the site.

NE_Kearney map

A 2003 newsletter article explained that the Hammers were longtime supporters of the university, and that a $27,000 gift from son Fred E. Hammer to the University of Nebraska Foundation would landscape the lot. His donation also provided for “benches, tables and columns reminiscent of the columns that marked the entrance to the old Hammer Motel” to make the parking lot “a place for students to gather.” There was also to be a plaque mounted on one of the columns commemorating the motel as a historic Kearney site. “The parking lot will still be functional,” Hammer said, “but now it will be pretty as well.”

Nothing remains of the motel except the basic shape of the site, some postcards, and the parking area now known as Lot 27.

Mystery Photo 3: Barn with Gasoline Signs

December 23, 2007

Can you name the location of this barn along the Lincoln Highway/US 30? Most fans photograph a sign a few miles east but speed past this interesting landmark. Looks like a store or two were adjacent. Need more clues?

Mystery Photo 3

Nebraska Promotes the Lincoln Hwy with Videos

November 2, 2007

NE Weiss signThe Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism has produced both a short and long video to promote the Lincoln Highway as a scenic route. The focus is on natural beauty and general history more than auto-era attractions, though there are some nice views of the brick road west of Omaha and Buffalo Bill’s Scouts Rest Ranch in North Platte.

The LH there is now a Nebraska Byway, not to be confused with an American Byway, the name for roads in the National Scenic Byways program, which the LH has only achieved in Illinois. The Nebraska tourism site has general descriptions of 10 such routes here.

More info and photos are available on the site for the Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway Association, “a grassroots organization that brings together businesses, government tourism entities, and individuals along Highway 30 in Nebraska to work together and promote this stretch of road to tourists.”

The only description online of the Byway program itself is in a Department of Roads brochure detailing highway sign regulations: “The Nebraska Byways Program identifies significant two-lane highways throughout the state that highlight Nebraska’s diverse topography, history, culture, recreational opportunities and landscapes.”

Here is the 29-second video. Other roads in their series get near identical narration:

And here is the 3-minute video:

Thanks to Lenore Weiss for the sign photo.