Day 2: A Whole Lotta Virginia

An early evening rainstorm may be a blessing in disguise.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to bang out two blogs, get some Flickr photos up and get the van organized for the next two days.

So, going back to yesterday first… let’s cut to the chase and move right on to the photos.

This one thrilled me to no end.  I’m still using the word “Wahooptie” every chance I get.  Even though I’m not sure what it means.  Like Wahoo but even more so?  This is the Wahooptie Taxi Company in Charlottesville, VA:

What a ride!

Another one from Charlottesville, or C-ville as the locals apparently call it.   Mel’s Cafe appears to inhabit a former gull-wing style cleaners.  There are lots of these in NC & VA.  They may have all been part of the Martinizing Cleaner chain originally.  Mel’s sign was probably adapted from the former business as well:

Here’s an Austin Cleaners from Highland Springs, VA:

I’ve got some other examples of these buildings from NC & VA at my site here:

This giant Lantern House restaurant sign in Richmond obviously had neon originally.  Maybe even a different name:

The Crickets Corner Jewelry & Loan sign probably also had neon originally.  Also maybe a different name & business entirely.  Still, a nice job of maintaining this cute guy.  In Highland Springs:

I’m tremendously bummed by this Richmond development.  I always pass by this place on Broad St. downtown & look to see how it’s doing.  Not good.  So finally it’s rented out to a legit business (Subway) instead of the scary pawn-shop-y businesses.  But, oh, why, WHY, did they have to destroy the original streamliney, roundy brick glass?  Here’s what it looked like just last summer:

and now:

The building was originally a W.T. Grant store and there’s still the letters, half covered up with a rubber mat, where those folks in the doorway are standing.  Sigh.

Another photo from downtown Richmond.  I hadn’t noticed this place before.  Valentino’s pizza place decked out in Italian flag colors.  But those lamps are so White Tower-y.  And the building gives me pause wondering if there’s a pun going on.  Could there possibly be a Valentine produced prefab structure under there?  Nah.  Maybe?

Those of you not familiar with Valentine diners might want to check out this site.   Various styles at this page:

In addition to their famous Little Chef Diners, Valentine also plainer buildings like the Dinky Diner — see 2nd clump from the bottom at this page:
or this:

Moving on… in Richmond, but way south on Jefferson Davis.  I sure wish I knew what this pylon building was.  Gas station?  Burger joint?  Anybody know?  I love the birdhouse & light features on top:

In Newport News, a sign I hadn’t seen before.  Must’ve been the Mariners’ Motel originally.  And surely, this had way more neon before.  One can just imagine the sailboat lit at night, maybe moving waves…

And lastly, in Hampton just past dusk, I came across this funky canopy structure.  Thanks PhotoShop for allowing me to pump up the light volume here).  I couldn’t get closer obviously because of the chain link.  The business is now “Cap City” — but it must have been maybe a burger place/drive-in or who knows.  Love the elaborate steel cables, glass, roof shape.  Must come back in the sun when the place is open. 

OK – time to get to work on today’s photos & toss some up at Flickr.  Come back here in a few hours for more!

18 thoughts on “Day 2: A Whole Lotta Virginia

  1. The pylon building in Richmond was an early Burger Chef. The cap city was a burger joint also but i cannot rember the name. It was a local chain.

  2. I made a mistake I should have typed Burger KIng not Burger Chef. There is a Burger Chef like this in Indiana though

  3. I suspect Wahooptie is a combination of Wahoo, the team mascot for UVA in Cville, and hooptie, ie dilapidated car.

    Re pylon bldg Richmond – looks like Shell gas station to me.

    • Ah, yes Wahoo + hooptie makes sense.
      The Shell pylon stations that I’m familiar with look pretty different. Pylon more in the middle and not as tall. Like this one:

      • Unfortunately, I cant give any photo examples, but I’ve seen Shell stations with the sloping roofs and pylons. To me, the giveaway is the treatment of the nearest end of the building. Some of them were very similar to an Ashland Oil design (or maybe the other way around) from that standpoint. It sure would be interesting to find out for sure.

      • After looking at the picture again, I’m not sure it is tall enough to have been a gas station. So I’m probably totally off base here.

  4. Valentinos was originally a White Tower. Here’s a shot from the late ’30s, from the White Tower book.

    • I had the book with me when I visited that one, and all the buildings around it are recognizable as the same ones in the 1930s photo.

      One of my shots from 2006

  5. If you had just gone two more blocks down past Starnes Jewelers in Albemarle (over the hill), you would have come to the old Pontiac showroom, now a restaurant.
    As you can see from their website, the sign is in full working order, and is huge. I hate that you missed it. And further down East Main are the remains of our old What A Burger drive in and an old Putt Putt golf course. If you were to take 52 N, you would have been able to get a picture of Whispering Pines BBQ’s big sign.

    • Ah, but what I post to the blog and Flickr is just a teensy sampler of what I shoot and eventually get into the website. I did shoot the Pontiac sign and the Whataburger. I’m not sure about the Putt Putt – will have to check for that in my notes/memory card when I get a chance. I haven’t begun working on the NC photos yet — running way behind and now am off for this biggie trip so I’ll be further behind. I didn’t know about the Whispering Pines sign — will make not of it for next time. Thanks for the tips!

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