Updates: Ship Buildings, Theatres, & Car Dealerships

This is the first of a flurry of blog posts from my winter site updating.  I’ll admit, most of it is bad news but I’ll share it anyway.  The good news is that, so far (I still have the two biggest sections to go), most things are still there.

Let’s start with Ship-Shaped Buildings.

The Dockside building in Morro Bay, CA was demolished in October.  It was built in the 1950s as a fish market.  Never a real boat — just built to look like one. Torn down for new development.  A few “pieces” were saved for the local museum.  Sigh.


Some good news:  the Pirate Ship in Sparks, NV has finally reopened.  I sure thought this one was doomed!  It was built in 1971 as a fish & chips restaurant.  A few other restaurants after that and then closed seemingly for good in 2008.  My photo from 2014:


But, by 2017, thank you Google Street View, reopened as Mariscos El Barco with colorful paint.  A bit crude but the building’s exterior is intact and the sign & crow’s nest are still there and that’s what matters:


Moving on to Theatres.  The Eastwood Theatre in Toledo, OH.  It had fallen on hard times for decades and housed many a church.  My photo here is from 2011:


In 2014, the theatre was on the way to recovery and about to return to showing movies.  By this 2018 GSV photo, the theatre had been painted a garish red and the reader boarded had been replaced with a crappy digital display:


The worst of it is the LED rope which replaced the neon — geez!


The Paris Theatre has one of my fave signs in Portland, OR.  Originally, the Third Avenue Theatre, built in 1890.  The adapted sign still has the old school tin border beading.  I’m guessing the sign from the 1920s or so from the I-shape and border.  Gotta love those scary sign-repair ladders!   It became the Paris Theatre in the 1940s or so and the lettering was changed at the bottom.  I don’t know if the drama masks at the top were original (1920s-ish).  Quite possibly, since it was a vaudeville/live performance theatre, not movie theatre then. This photo is from 2015:


Around 2017, the theatre was renovated and the sign got new paint and neon:


This photo shows a closeup of the sign [credit Robert K. Chin at Alamy.com] – nice job, right?:


The Miller Theatre in Augusta, GA opened in 1938 and closed in 1983.  It looked worse and worse every year despite promises of restoration.  My photo from 2009:



It seemed a goner but, in 2017, the theatre reopened!  The message board marquee, which was originally a manual letter readerboard, is now a scrolling digital graphic thing.  But the neon letters and Art Deco style elements on top of the marquee were kept and restored.  This photo from this article shows what it looks like now:


Moving on to Car Dealerships.  This mid-century modern beauty with neon letters on roof and at left in Graham, TX 2011 is basically no more:


Here’s what happened to it about a year ago:


This is a horrible trend all over the country:  brand dealerships, especially Ford and Chevrolet, are destroying historic, lovely buildings and replacing them with modern horror shows all in the name of consistent corporate branding.  Uff.  Well, at least the Davidson letters were slapped on the building next door:


The Cutrubus Freeway Mazda in Ogden, UT was built in 1973.   My photo is from 2014.  The building was still there and the biz operating in 2015.  But by 2018, the beautiful, round zigzaggy building was gone.  Replaced with a drab shopping center.


Another mcm loss:  this big ol’ A-frame showroom in Olympia, WA was built in 1964 for a Cadillac dealership.  In later years, it housed car rental businesses.  Vacant in 2015 and demolished in 2016:

BUT the good news is that there are still plenty of spectacular buildings still out there.  If you’re interested in any of these themes, here’s where you will find them at my website:

Ship Buildings

Ship Restaurants

Movie Theatres

Car Dealerships

Back with more later tonight…


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