Monday, October 4, 2010

Milwaukee Road Depot - Cle Elum, WA

This past weekend Linda and I had the opportunity to visit the Milwaukee Road depot in Cle Elum, Washington. This is definitely worth the stop if one gets the chance when traveling along I-90 between Seattle and Spokane.

The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road) South Cle Elum Rail Yard located in South Cle Elum, Washington, was a division point on the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad's Coast Division. It was established by the railroad in 1909 during construction of its "Pacific Extension".

After the completion of the first two transcontinental railroads into the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Great Northern Railway, The Milwaukee Road decided that in order to compete, it too must expand into the Northwest. It began construction on the Pacific Extension in 1906 and completed the rail line into Tacoma, Washington in 1909.

The Milwaukee Road placed division points approximately every 100 to 150 miles (240 km) apart. The division point was where locomotives were serviced, where train crews came on and off duty, and where trains were sorted and rolling stock stored. In addition, depots or stations were also placed at division points in order for passengers or freight to get on or off trains. Here is a picture of the depot before restoration.

The division point at South Cle Elum was placed between the terminus at Tacoma and the next division point at Othello, Washington. Thus South Cle Elum was the last crew change westbound before crossing the Cascade Range at Snoqualmie Pass and going into Seattle, Washington; as well as the first crew change eastbound from Seattle to Othello and beyond to the Midwest, the Twin Cities and Chicago, Illinois.

The rail yard at South Cle Elum consisted of the depot, the roundhouse (now a ruin), the turntable (also a ruin), ash pit, water tank (now a ruin), and the bunkhouse where train crews spent time between shifts. After The Milwaukee Road electrified around 1920, an electric substation and substation operators' residences were also built at the rail yard.

In 1980 The Milwaukee Road ceased service in Washington. It sold off much of its property. The bunkhouse became a bed and breakfast, the substation operators' houses were taken over by private individuals who continue to live in them. In lieu of paying back taxes, the railroad transferred ownership of the main line and infrastructure to the state. Because of the integrity of the buildings as well as the integrity of the setting, the rail yard and associated buildings were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Click on the aerial photo for more detail.

The Depot and Cafe is located on 801 Milwaukee Road, South Cle Elum, WA 98943. The phone number is (509) 674-2006. Their website is Here is a map of the location (click on the image to enlarge the map). Located inside the depot is the Depot Café restaurant Also located adjacent to the depot is the Iron Horse Bed and Breakfast

Here is a topographic map of the site (click on the image to enlarge the map).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sky Palm Motel – Orange, CA

Here is a neat googie jem, located right in the middle of the Tustin Avenue commercial district in Orange, California. This place features a cool neon sign out front, as well rock walls (similar to that of Pann’s), and palm trees.

Motel at night. The a-frame roof at the motels entrance exemplifies the mid-century modern geometric shapes.

Here is a picture of the both the "Motel" pole sign and the neon "vacancy" lit up for the evening.

Here is a close up of the neon portion of the sign.

The Sky Palm Motel is located on 210 N. Tustin St., Orange, CA. The phone number is
(714) 639-6602. Here is a map of the location.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Santa Fe Depot - Orange, CA

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Depot in the City of Orange, California, is currently used as a stop on Southern California’s Metrolink (Orange County Branch), as well as Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner.

The current depot structure was dedicated on May 1, 1938 and was closed with the Santa Fe's discontinuation of passenger service in 1971. The building was granted historic landmark status by the City of Orange on November 15, 1990.

The Santa Fe, under its affiliate the Southern California Railway, laid the first tracks through Orange in 1886 and established its first depot the following year. During peak growing seasons, as many as 48 carloads of citrus fruits, olives, and walnuts were shipped daily from the Orange depot as well.

Here is a close up of the art deco sign.

For those interested in visiting the depot, it is located at 100 N. Atchison Street,
Orange, CA 92866

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Randy's Donuts - Los Angeles (Inglewood)

Randy's Donuts (locally known as the "Big O") is a classic example of programmatic architecture that had its heyday between the mid-1920’s and the mid-1930’s. Randy’s is located Inglewood, California near Los Angeles International Airport.

Randy's was built in 1953 as the second location of the now-defunct Big Donut Drive-In chain by Russell C. Wendell, a donut machine salesman. The product is represented by a 32-foot doughnut on the roof of an otherwise ordinary drive-in. The building was designed by Henry J. Goodwin.

Recently, Randy’s Donuts was featured in a local Los Angeles television show called “Cheap Eats.”

For those interested in visiting Randy’s Donuts, you can check it out on the web or visit them in person at 805 West Manchester Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301. Phone number is (310) 645-4707.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chip's - Los Angeles (Hawthorne)

This googie gem opened in 1957, and was designed by architect Harry Harrison. Key characteristics of this restaurant include the concrete walls, glass windows, jutting roof, plant life, and the steel-beam pylon sign.

Chip's is a great-looking example of mid-20th century Googie-Style architecture. This type of modernistic, space-age architecture is called "Googie" after the coffee shop of the same name designed by John Lautner in 1949.

This neighborhood diner near LAX has changed little since it first opened its doors. The counter seating, a feature borrowed from submarine design, enhances the space and allows the staff to mop the floors under the customers' feet.

For those interested in visiting Chip’s, it is located on 11908 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250. Phone number is (310) 679-2947