The second week of this old Route 66 town. An absolutely generic 20s office block, but no self-respecting town should be without one.



You can imagine the life that went on in here - just picture some people in the 40s, dressed up, a bit pimply, the secretaries checking their seams, the smell of cigars, the creak of the elevator.

Around the corner, over the door:

SJ. From the town’s underwhelming walking-tour info:

This building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was originally erected as the Commerce Building in 1918 at a cost of $125,000. Enter on the south side of the building and notice the tile floor with the Native American design and the original name of the building. Looking up you will see the original ceiling lights and marble on the walls. The building now has loft apartments available and dining at the St. James Café downstairs.



Again, the walking-tour page:

Depending on your generation, residents remember this drug store by many different names: Palace, Hadley, or Crown. A dated 1908 souvenir postcard folder and a circa 1903 photo of Botts shows the building with limestone wall facing Central. The next three buildings are also shown in the photo and postcard. The postcard shows Interurban tracks in the middle of the street and the picture shows a dirt street. The two story brick was added to the Hadley Drug in 1916.

Er - okay.

When the late 20s / early 30s met the strange, gloomy, gothic brick of a more parsimonious era:



Again, the walking-tour page:

. . . built in 1917 at a cost of $30,000. The structure included a six foot fire wall of cream colored brick above the massive metal cornice. The name Mabon was set in this wall. The third story was especially designed for the Elks Hall.

Six foot fire wall? Above the cornice?

“Built in 1917”


I always love these.


A clothiers, I expect.

This, perhaps, was a Kresge? A Woolworth? I suppose I could try to do some research . . .

Nope. Can’t find a thing.

Well, I suppose at one time it was a good idea:


COLEMAN. That’s a name we’ll meet again in just a minute.

It was a Penney’s, for a while.


A nice commercial block - records show it was a Woolworth’s, in the 20s. I presume they moved in, and didn’t build it to specs.


I’m sure it’s an optical illusion, a distortion due to the angle, but if it really looked like this you could drive people nuts asking how two symmetrical sides could have dissimilar awning sizes.

The Coleman Theater.

That’s the Miami Hotel in the back.

A typed postcard mailed June 4, 1918 said, “Am sending you a menu of the First Dinner served in the New Hotel Miami, which opened today.” The menu listed foods a-la-carte with names of one of Miami’s leading citizens.

All the a-la-carte items were named after the same guy?

Today the building is Miami Towers and is owned and operated by the Miami Housing Authority.

Yelp reports that it’s closed, and the news stories mention a bedbug problem.

Finally, two pieces of roadside history from the route 66 days - or the ones that followed in the spirit of the great old road. On the outskirts:

It was built in 1937. It's a landmark now.

In town, a classic piece of signage that makes you wonder, again, why every town couldn’t have something unique like this.

Because people would drive on in search of a Taco Bell? It’s possible.