Motel Americana

Before the interstate highway system and the dominance of corporate-owned hotel chains, small privately-owned motels peppered the American rural landscape. With the birth U.S. Route 66, mobile Americans increased traffic on the highway, giving rise to mom-and-pop businesses, such as service stations, restaurants, and of course the motor lodge.

In the 50s and 60s, motor tourism reached new heights. Manitou Springs, Colorado became a popular recreational and tourist destination with easy access to Pike’s Peak Railway that rises to the top of Pikes Peak at 14,110 ft. A former health destination for people suffering from tuberculosis during the early 1900s, Manitou still offers residents and tourists alike clean mountain air, mineral spring waters, and breathtaking mountain views.

Manitou Avenue, the primary arterial into Manitou Springs, became motel row. Surprisingly, many of these motels are still open for business today. One such establishment is the Park Row Lodge, built in the 1960s. Its flat roof and close-to-the-ground profile with minimal exterior decoration typify the commercial California ranch-style architecture of the day.

I tried my hand at photo-manipulation, turning my 7-exposure HDR photo of Park Row Lodge into a faded postcard image from a bygone era, circa 1967. For grins, I’m offering a giveaway challenge to my readers. There’s a $25 iTunes gift card in the offing to the first commenter who can find at least three anachronisms—an error in chronology; objects that are out of place and time. There is also one not-so-obvious, but erroneous element that a postal worker would surely discover. Find at least three anachronisms and the postal mistake, and the iTunes card is yours! In the case of duplicate submissions, the correct submission with the earliest time stamp will be awarded the prize. Hint: all of the clues are found on the fictitious postcard. I recommend using Google for some historical fact-checking. For a larger view, please click on the photo. Have fun!

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  1. Toad Hollow Photography
    February 1, 2011

    I can see two, but can’t find the third… so I won’t give it away for others trying to play along. What a GREAT image Christopher, I just love the textures and details you’ll pulled out of the scene. That brooding sky really adds a lot of punch as well. I love this image my friend!!!
    Toad Hollow Photography recently posted..Victoria ArchitectureMy Profile

  2. Chris
    February 1, 2011

    Thanks, Toad for your kind comments. Stop back again and submit your puzzler response! You’ve got a good chance at winning.

  3. Chrs Kenison
    February 1, 2011

    Great shot, Chris. I’ll take a closer look for the anachronisms at work! 😀
    Chrs Kenison recently posted..Old Governor’s Mansion – Main Living RoomMy Profile

  4. Chris Wray
    February 1, 2011

    Competition is fierce. I’m getting some good responses via email. Keep ’em coming!

  5. Chris Wray
    February 2, 2011

    We have a winner! Puzzler answers will be posted shortly.
    Chris Wray recently posted..Glass photography- a brief tutorialMy Profile

  6. Jeff Braun
    February 28, 2012

    Suspect that the mystery will have been solved by this time…but since you don’t have the answers posted (that I see anyway)…I say 1. the SUV in the background. 2 the Coke machine (modern machine and can). 3. the AAA – diamond sign (diamonds not used until the 70s). There was no leap year in 1967…so there could not be a Feb 29 67 postmark. Can’t really tell, but does the area to the right of the post mark say 2 or 2 1/2 cents? If it does, this would also be wrong for 1967. And, of course, your copyright MMXI in the lower left corner doesn’ help. 🙂 There are also some other possible anachronisms off in the distance that would need a magnifying glass to ID. Overall, however, well done!


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