Tom's Diner: Googie architecture in Denver

Googie gets guardianship: conserving the Atomic Age through Tom’s Diner in Denver.

It’s not every day that a person stumbles across a location that he or she had recently read about in the news, completely unintentionally.  But that’s exactly what happened earlier this year as I nudged my way forward, from a side street onto Colfax Avenue, the main east-west arterial in Denver.  And low and behold:

German Street in Shepherdstown, WV: where, instead of a curb at the sidewalk, there’s a fence.  And shrubs.

The prosperous little municipality of Shepherdstown, fortuitously situated along the Potomac River in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, boasts a charming three-block main street, German Street, with nothing but locally owned establishments, achieving almost perfect occupancy amidst its variegated, well-maintained 19th century buildings.  It’s an enviable arrangement, no doubt enhanced by its location in

Lake Dallas Main Street: a bedroom community doesn’t neglect its entrance hall.

I’ll concede at this point that small town revitalization has become sufficiently commonplace that finding a new example is hardly revelatory, even for those who aren’t really attuned to that sort of thing…because they never visit small towns, or because they just don’t care.  It’s even less of a surprise if the municipality in question

The construction year: is it a building’s badge of honor, a brand, or both?

Although a freestanding municipality, the City of Harrison in far southwest Ohio also functions fully within the orbit of metropolitan Cincinnati.  And although the two-block commercial main street appears small for a city of 11,000 and growing, it owes this lack of proportion to the surge of population after 1960, prior to which Harrison lingered

Ridgecrest retail reticence: even remote communities are reeling from reduced relish.

Strategically located in the middle of sun-baked somewhere, the military city of Ridgecrest, California offers the accidental visitor a surprisingly populous alternative to the preceding and subsequent miles of Mojave desolation. By contrast, the deliberate visitor’s most likely destination is Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, a munitions and explosives testing range and research facility,

One restaurant, two continents: culinary fusion or just confusion?

On a busy stretch of highway in southern Delaware, just a few miles away from the surging beaches, the motorist will encounter yet another of several grindingly predictable strip malls. It’s small, as one would expect in a semi-rural area (getting more so to the west, the same direction my camera lens was pointing). The

Small-town parking meters: when the knob doesn’t even turn over a two-bit solution.

I’ve seen some pretty remarkable cheats that allow people to circumvent paid parking, but this one has to take the cake. It comes courtesy of Carlisle, a well-situated, generally prosperous small city in south-central Pennsylvania. This meter sits on Pomfret Street, a remarkably well-preserved mixed-use corridor just a few paces away from Carlisle’s downtown civic