Celebrated photographer of roadside architecture remembered

Posted in: Cultural Resources


fun-along-the-road-300x274pxJohn 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:

John Margolies
John Margolies

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.


Christina Slattery

About the Author

Christina Slattery specializes in historic preservation of transportation and engineering structures. She evaluates the significance of properties ranging from missile defense systems to road corridors, and develops creative mitigation strategies for projects.

Read more posts by Christina Slattery

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