Friday, June 7, 2013

A Disappearing American Original: The Roadside Rest Area

A Disappearing American Original: The Roadside Rest Area  

During a move from Los Angeles to Austin six years ago, photographer Ryann Ford kept coming across 20th century rest stops, each one different from the other. Humble in stature, these traditional rest areas, despite their charm, have become a relic of America's roadside past, unable to match the conveniences of modern day travel centers with their fast food restaurants, wireless internet, and large bathrooms.

On her website, Ford expresses disappointment in the nation's increasing preference for homogeneous travel centers, allowing rest areas to lose "the fight to commercial alternatives." We talked with her about her ongoing rest stop project, why they're so special to her, and the modern day travel centers that are replacing them along America's roads:

What inspired this project?

I started noticing these cute little roadside tables along the different Texas highways. We had the giant interstate rest areas in California, but it wasn’t until living here that I really started to notice rest areas. I noticed that a lot of them looked really old, some had cool mid-century architecture, some were really quirky, like they were shaped like a teepee or an oil derrick, or had a theme to them depending on the region you were in.

For the rest of the story:

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