Many of the Roadside attractions that have delighted motorists for decades are now endangered. time and development haven't been very friendly to many of these icons, and a number of them will disappear soon. So if you're hopping in the car this summer, make sure you drop by one of these formerly fabulous sites. It may be your last chance to see them. See the complete photo gallery.There's nothing like the great American road trip, stopping at the classic roadside attractions that have delighted motorists for decades. Unfortunately, time and development haven't been very friendly to many of these icons, and a number of them will disappear soon. So if you're hopping in the car this summer, make sure you drop by one of these formerly fabulous sites. It may be your last chance to see them.
Endangered Roadside Attractions
Endangered Roadside Attractions: See Them Now Before It's Too Late
Referencing the controversy surrounding Warren G. Harding's presidency, the Teapot Dome Gas Station has reached mythic status. Its original home was on Highway 410, but it moved 56 years later during the construction of Interstate 82 in 1978. Now, the teapot sits empty just outside of Zillah. In 2007 it was put on The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation's Most Endangered Historic Properties list, while The Friends of the Teapot Association attempted to refurb it until the move and restoration price tag was revealed: $250,000.
They dotted the highways throughout California's Inland Empire starting in the 20s–giant oranges where road trippers could pull over and get a bag of the citrus or a fresh glass of juice. Kitschy and iconic, they slowly fell into disrepair and disappeared as time went on, but there's still a few left. The Fontana stand was restored and now sits in the parking lot of Bono's Restaurant and Deli, while the one from Williams sadly hides behind a fence.
What once stood as iconic rest stops first crafted in the early 60s now sit run-down and awaiting demolition. The Clark County Rest Area was part of a foursome of like-designed rest stops, of which only two remain. In 2009, a site inspection revealed the structural integrity was deeply compromised and restoration would cost around $300,000. And though the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Maintenance Division mandated the buildings would be maintained for five more years, the proposal of a new interchange would seal the demolition deal–the decision for which could happen this year.
When you hit the open road, would you rather visit a classic aluminum diner or a Walgreens? Apparently, developers in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, preferred the latter, and the former–called the Val Rio Diner–was uprooted from the location it had sat since 1948. The diner was put up on cinder blocks and covered with tarps in 2008, and was actually up for sale on eBay in the summer of 2010. Alas, nobody claimed the famed landmark and it sits waiting to be saved.
If you want to meet The Biggest Texan, standing 47 feet high and weighing seven tons, you'd better make your way to the Texas Panhandle–fast. Created in 1959 out of wire mesh, steel and concrete, Tex once stood over Wheeler's Western Store, which has since vacated the premises. Tex was purchased by a local businessman in 2008, but the $50,000 cost attached to moving him proved to be too great. Though he remains in place, his weathered and deteriorated state leaves his future unknown.
Old-school travelers know there's nothing like a classic motel row. During the 60s a three-mile span of highway in Lordsburg, New Mexico, featured 21 motels, 20 cafes and 31 service stations. This once made it one of the most prominent rest stop between Arizona and Texas, but today, only one motel remains in operation. Blame it on the creation of interstate 10, which diverted drivers elsewhere. It remains an homage to times gone past, but locals suspect it's not long for this world.