Celebrated photographer of roadside architecture remembered
Posted in: Cultural Resources
John Margolies, considered the country’s foremost photographer of vernacular and roadside architecture, died on May 26 at 76 years of age. I’m crushed by the loss, but want to honor him by sharing the importance of his work. He was one of my favorite photographers and inspired my interest through the many quirky and whimsical properties he documented.
His subject matter includes commercial, vernacular and programmatic architecture. Examples include the 65-foot-long muskie in Bena, Minnesota, that housed the Big Fish Supper Club, and the Donut Hole, a doughnut shop in the form of — what else?… a donut! — in La Puente, California.
No one documented these amazing structures better than John. His many books, several of which I own and should be on everyone’s “must see” list including:
- Pump and Circumstance: Glory Days of the Gas Station
- Fun Along the Road: American Tourist Attractions – Another Amazing Album from America’s Number One Roadside Observer
- Signs of Our Times
- Home Away from Home: Motels in America
- The End of the Road: Vanishing Highway Architecture in America
- Also check out John Margolies: Roadside America, a great tribute to John and his work.
These books are a treasure of commercial signs, movie theaters, gas stations, fast food restaurants, motels, roadside attractions, miniature golf courses, dinosaurs, giant figures and animals, fantasy coastal resorts and much more.
Rest in peace John, your legacy will live on.
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