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March 9, 2020

35 Amazing Pics Capture Billboards of the U.S in the Late 1970s and ’80s

John Margolies was an architectural critic, photographer, and author who was noted for celebrating vernacular and novelty architecture in the United States, particularly those designed as roadside attractions.

Starting from the mid-1970s, he began to photograph sites during long road trips, since he was concerned these sites would be displaced by the growing modernist trend. He was credited with shaping postmodern architecture and recognizing buildings that would be added to the National Register of Historic Places through his documentary work.

Starting in 2007, The Library of Congress began to acquire his photographs, and created the public domain John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive in 2016, consisting of 11,710 scans of color slides taken by Margolies.

These amazing pics are part of his work that John Margolies photographed billboards of the U.S in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Crystal Cave billboard, Route 65, Springfield, Missouri, 1979

Marineland billboard, Florida, 1979

Wigwam Village Number 2 billboard, Route 31W, Cave City, Kentucky, 1979

Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts billboard (wreck), Route 17, Georgia, 1979

Call of the Wild Museum billboard, Route 60, Van Buren, Missouri, 1979

Chico's billboard, Route 17, Georgia, 1979

Coleman Rock Shop billboard, Route 7, Mountain Valley, Arkansas, 1979

Colonial Gas sign-billboard, Route 40, St. Marys, Georgia, 1979

Exotic Animal Parade billboard, Route 65, Near Ozark, Ozark, Missouri, 1979

Hillbilly Junction billboard, Route 60, Willow Springs, Missouri, 1979

Stuckey's sign, Route 17, Georgia, 1979

Barn billboard, for Jesse James Hideout in Missouri, Clyde, Ohio, 1980

Bullshoals Caverns billboard, Route 178, Bull Shoals, Arkansas, 1980

Dogpatch USA billboard, Route 62, east of Harrison, Arkansas, 1980

Everglades Safari billboard, Route 41, Dade County, Florida, 1980

Little America billboard, I-80, east of Rock Springs, Rock Springs, Wyoming, 1980

Mountain Village billboard, Route 178, Bull Shoals, Arkansas, 1980

Rawhide City billboard, I-94, Mandan, North Dakota, 1980

Trout Haven billboard, Route 385, Black Hills, South Dakota, 1980

Wall Drug billboard, I-90, South Dakota, 1980

Wall Drug billboard, I-90, South Dakota, 1980

Wall Drug billboard, I-90, South Dakota, 1980

Wall Drug billboard, I-90, South Dakota, 1980

Wax Museum billboard, Route 16, near Keystone, South Dakota, 1980

Wonderland Cave billboard, Route 385, Black Hills, South Dakota, 1980

Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry billboard, Route 10, after Huntington, Utah, 1981

Crazy Ann's Fireworks sign, Route 441, Vonore, Tennessee, 1984

South of the Border billboard, near Dillon, South Carolina, 1986

South of the border, 13 mile billboard near Dillon, South Carolina, 1986

Wall Drug final billboard, Wall, South Dakota, 1987

Dinosaur Gardens, Route 23, Ossineke, Michigan, 1988.

Dinosaur Gardens, Route 23, Ossineke, Michigan, 1988

Paul Bunyan's Lookout sign, Route 23, Spruce, Michigan, 1988

Storybook Gardens billboard, Lake Delton, WIsconsin, 1988

Gettysburg Game Farm billboard, Route 30, 5 miles from Fairfield, Fairfield, Pennsylvania, 1989

(Photo © John Margolies)




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