Remembering Roadside America Preserving the Recent Past as Landscape and Place

ISBN-10: 1572338237
ISBN-13: 9781572338234
Edition: 2011
List price: $59.95
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Description: The use of cars and trucks over the past century has remade American geography—pushing big cities ever outward toward suburbanization, spurring the growth of some small towns while hastening the decline of others, and spawning a new kind of  More...

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Book details

List price: $59.95
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
Publication date: 9/1/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 312
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

The use of cars and trucks over the past century has remade American geography—pushing big cities ever outward toward suburbanization, spurring the growth of some small towns while hastening the decline of others, and spawning a new kind of commercial landscape marked by gas stations, drive-in restaurants, motels, tourist attractions, and countless other retail entities that express our national love affair with the open road. By its very nature, this landscape is ever changing, indeed ephemeral. What is new quickly becomes old and is soon forgotten.            In this absorbing book, John Jakle and Keith Sculle ponder how “Roadside America” might be remembered, especially since so little physical evidence of its earliest years survives. In straightforward and lively prose, supplemented by copious illustrations—historic and modern photographs, advertising postcards, cartoons, roadmaps—they survey the ways in which automobility has transformed life in the United States. Asking how we might best commemorate and preserve this part of our past—which has been so vital economically and politically, so significant to the cultural aspirations of ordinary Americans, yet so often ignored by scholars who dismiss it as kitsch—they propose the development of an actual outdoor museum that would treat seriously the themes of our roadside history.            Certainly, museums have been created for frontier pioneering, the rise of commercial agriculture, and the coming of water- and steam-powered industrialization and transportation, especially the railroad. Is now not the time, the authors ask, for a museum forcefully exploring the automobile’s emergence and the changes it has brought to place and landscape? Such a museum need not deny the nostalgic appeal of roadsides past, but if done properly, it could also tell us much about what the authors describe as “the most important kind of place yet devised in the American experience.” John A. Jakle is Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Keith A. Sculle is the former head of research and education at the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. They have coauthored such books asAmerica’s Main Street Hotels: Transiency and Community in the Early Automobile Age; Motoring: The Highway Experience in America; Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age;andThe Gas Station in America.

Preface
Acknowledgments
The Journey Begins
Observing Roadside America
Learning from Roadside America
Preserving Roads and Roadsides
Historical Museums and Roadside America
Experiencing the Past as Landscape and Place
The Road Continues
Appendix
Notes
Index

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