Roadside Oklahoma Through the Eyes of John Margolies, Part 3

Posted by on Feb 7, 2018 in Mod Blog |

by Lynne Rostochil.  Photos by John Margolies courtesy of the Library of Congress.  Other photos by Lynne Rostochil unless otherwise stated.

This week, we wrap up our look at the Oklahoma roadside photography of John Margolies, whose nearly 12,000 photos can be found on the Library of Congress website.  We’ve finally made it to the S’s!


Sunset Motel, 1982

What a sign!!  Here’s what the motel itself looked like:

And here’s an ad for it that I found in Pinterest:

If this address is correct, the Sunset was located right by the Western Motel.

Western Motel, 1982

I really don’t know how this gem of a sign has managed to stay put all of these years, but it’s still around and looking mighty fine:


Beauty Shop, 1979

This shop was located along W. Farrell, and I believe the building is still there.  It’s been altered considerably, but those five little windows are the giveaway.

Hamburger Castle, 1982

How cute is this building?  The Hamburger Castle opened in 1949, and I believe it closed in the early ’70s when the owners opened Benton’s Cafe downtown.  Benton’s is still a hot spot in town, but I don’t think this building is still around.


Middle Path Cafe, 1979

This was located at 11th and Yale, and it doesn’t look like the building is there now.  There’s a gas station on the site now.

The Golden Driller, 1979

This Oklahoma icon was built in 1952 for the International Petroleum Exhibition and was dismantled and reassembled a couple of times until it was permanently installed in front of the Expo in 1966.  Since then, it has become an internationally recognized Route 66 icon.

Iceberg Restaurant, 1979

This is actually the Cave House, which was constructed in the 1920s as the Cave Garden Restaurant:

And here’s the home now:

(Last two images from the Cave House website.)

Industrial Tile Building, 1979

Does anyone know where this was located?

KTEW Studios, 1979

This bit of Art Deco fabulousness is alive and well and is now home to KRJH TV.

Rose Bowl, 1979

Designed by William Henry Ryan and constructed in 1962, the Googilicious Rose Bowl is one of the coolest pieces of architecture in T-Town, and that’s saying a lot because there’s a ton of amazing architecture there.  The bowling alley closed in 2005 and is now an events center.  New owners are raising funds to spruce up the building and sign.  You can go here to donate.

Here are some photos I’ve taken of the Rose Bowl over the years:

Swinney Hardware, 1995

Swinney’s was a fixture in Tulsa for over 70 years when it closed in 2008.  This fantastic sign was removed, and the building sat empty until it was purchased in 2016 with the intention of converting it into retail/restaurant space.  Does anyone know if this great sign was saved?

Tastee-Freez, 1979

Leo Moranz and Harry Axene opened the first Tastee-Freez in Illinois in 1950 and just seven years later, there were 1,800 stores nationwide.  There are just 50 locations left today, and this one located on E. 11th street is, unfortunately, not one of them.

Will Rogers Motor Court, 1979

Here’s what the motel looked like:

And here’s the site now.  You can read more about this lost Route 66 gem here.


Dairy Ice Cream, 1979

There’s not much left in tiny Verden, including this cute sign.


Dairy Bar, 1979

It looks like this place is still around and it’s known as Bubba’s Dairy Bar now.  If you look down the street and to the right in this Googlemaps image, you can see that the sign is still intact.  Here’s another image I found of the sign at


Dairy Boy, 1982

According to, Dairy Boy began popping up throughout rural Oklahoma beginning in 1957 and within just a few years, there were 162 locations throughout the state.  Now, there’s one in Minco and another in Okemah.


And that’s it for our tour of John Margolies’ Oklahoma images.  During his life, Margolies published several books of his photographs, and many Oklahoma images made the cut.  You can go here to purchase his books.  Also, these images I’ve shared with you are just a small smattering of his work.  If you’d like to check out more of his photos, make some popcorn and grab and drink because you’ll be camped out for a long time viewing them on the Library of Congress website.