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Not Now

The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002

172 Southwestern Historical Quarterly July
Scott's book seeks to define regionalization in a linear fashion, utilizing the
celebrated Mother Road of American lore. Highway 66, as it was originally desig-
nated, became a reality in 1926, stretching across the American West and
Midwest between Chicago and Los Angeles. Along the way, it passed through the
Texas Panhandle, connecting such towns as Shamrock, Amarillo, Alanreed,
McLean, Groom, Adrian, and Vega with a rapidly evolving nation. The new
route brought cultural change, including the phenomenon of roadside architec-
ture. As businesses competed for the attention of highway travelers, boxy gas
pumps gave way to stylized gas stations, tourist campgrounds evolved into motor
courts and motels, and food stands grew to flashy cafes and diners.
The relatively brief architectural heyday of Route 66, which began its gradual
decline with the advent of the interstate highway system in the late 1950s and
the subsequent corporate consistency of later decades, is marked by two distinct
types of roadside design: one based on regional influences and the other on
popular styles. In Texas, for example, a common historical theme was Spanish
Colonial, but there were also attractions like the futuristic Tower Station in
Shamrock and the Tudoresque English Court in Amarillo.
Photographer Scott's stark black-and-white images present architectural rem-
nants of Route 66 as they exist years after the road's decline. With photographs
dating from the 1980s to the present, the book records celebrated sites, such as
the Shamrock landmarks, and the long forgotten, like Alanreed's Regal Reptile
Ranch. The emphasis is on visual imagery and exterior design exclusively, but
that approach provides an important reminder of our recent past.
In contrast, architect Echols challenges us to look farther back in our history
to a time when the architecture of our state, like its history, was in the formative
years. Using elevation and detail photographs with measured drawings from the
Historical American Buildings Survey (HABS), the author takes the reader on a
visual narrative from the Greek Revival homes of the Piney Woods to the
dugouts of the West Texas plains.
For the most part, Echols follows a predictable formula, highlighting struc-
tures from such locales as Jefferson, Castroville, Independence, and Lubbock's
Ranching Heritage Center to support his theme of cultural and geographical
influences. But there are also many pleasant surprises, like the rural landmarks
in Concho, Coleman, Jim Hogg, and Runnels Counties. The book could have
benefited from more detailed historical documentation and photographic
provenance, but it nevertheless provides a good basic overview of the state's rich
architectural heritage.
Texas Old-Time Restaurants and Cafes. By Sheryl Smith-Rodgers. (Plano: Republic
of Texas Press, 2000. Pp. xi+274. Foreword, introduction. ISBN 1-55622-
733-7. $18.95, paper.)
In an ever-changing world, it is rare to find that which has remained
unchanged. Perhaps above all else, with the exception of computer technology,

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 30, 2016.

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