Oregon History

Road trips, guerilla historic preservation and Vintage Roadside

Caution: Lots of different thoughts in one post.

Oregon is a wonderful place to come back to. All it takes is a two-day drive through Wyoming, Utah and Idaho to really realize how special this state is. No offense to Wyoming, Utah or Idaho – the I-84 isn’t supposed to show off each state – it’s supposed to get drivers to their destination more quickly. It does the trick.

Though I have to say I was floored by Laramie, Wyoming. We took a side-trip and spent about an hour there and wanted to spend more time. Here are a couple of photographs I snapped:

Our ultimate destination was family in Fort Collins, Colo. Wonderful town – Old Town specifically. Nicely designed streets, walkable, shops and great local beer made our week very enjoyable. In fact, my sister-in-law has started to blog about her town. Check out Lost Fort Collins.

Other than the speeding ticket in Pendleton, Ore., [90 in a 65 mile zone – my bad] the drive went smoothly. Did I take tons of roadside photos? I did not. This photo, taken in Wasco, Ore., is pretty much the extent of my Oregon photos:

Thankfully there’s Vintage Roadside doing a better job of photo-documeting. It’s run by the dynamic duo of Kelly Burg and Jeff Kunkle who have lovingly documented America’s lost roadside history – both on the website through an online shop and on their Flickr site – which is where I ran into them. One photo that really had me in awe was a night shot of the Hardware store in Westmoreland. I’d driven by it hundreds of times and never noticed the ornate neon lighting. Though they focus on nationwide preservation, my interest [duh] is in their Portland and Oregon efforts.

Anyhow, the Oregonian ran a nice piece on Vintage Roadside today and their documenting of Portland history via their website and now, via video and interviews with Portlanders. Bravo.

A line in the article that caught my eye was the phrase “guerrilla campaign for historic preservation.” I can relate. Folks like Vintage Roadside are single-handedly preserving our quickly disappearing culture through their own DIY efforts, photos, and documentation. I like to think Lost Oregon is doing the same in some small way.

2 replies on “Road trips, guerilla historic preservation and Vintage Roadside”

Hey man!
I lived in Laramie for about a year. I have been extremely inebriated at the Cowboy bar in your picture. Ahh, that was long ago.

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