Roadside Americana: Atomic age stops, sights, and oddities


This blogpost is a little adventure through the sights and sounds of America’s roadside culture to depict how the Atomic Age has impacted it since 1945. A whole variety of businesses have adopted the term “atomic” or some variation thereof into their identity through branding, marketing, trademark, and advertising. Even as we progress through the 21st century, the term “atomic” remains a popular option when creating business names. This may also be in part due to the popularity of mid-century modern motifs in society these days – the motel sign logo below looks like it belongs in the 1950s, but the name and brand for this particular location were actually established in 2016.

Source: astoriamotel.com

It is interesting to note that the term”nuclear” does not generate the same kind of commercial use that the term “atomic” does. Apparently, “atomic” doesn’t have the same negative connotations that come across with “nuclear.” While it was not surprising to find “atomic” places in communities that play(ed) a part in the development of the atomic bomb, like Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Richland, and even the Las Vegas area; the number of such locations elsewhere demonstrates the power (no pun intended) the term generates for brand identity.

Source: theatomicburger.com

There are certainly many other examples that are not included in the following list. Please feel free to forward them. Of particular interest are those that operated during the early stages of the Atomic Age from 1945-1970, which may no longer be in business, especially if photos are available of the business entity or organization.

Source: roadsideamerica.com

Source: atombrewing.com

  • Atomic Age Lodge was once located in Anaheim, California: GONE

Source: maidennoir.com

Source: atomicalebrewpub.com

  • Atomic Annies are large mobile cannons that could fire atomic shells from great distances. A number of these remain and are on display in locations around the country, including:

    Atomic Annie at Fort Sill, OK – Source: flickr.com

    • Aberdeen, Maryland
    • Albuquerque, New Mexico
    • Lawton (Fort Sill), Oklahoma
    • Junction City (Fort Riley), Kansas
    • Rock Island, Illinois
    • Watervliet, New York
    • Yuma, Arizona

Source: facebook.com

  • Atomic Bar was once located in El Paso, Texas: GONE

Source: pinterest.com

Source: theatomiclounge.com

Source: atomicbarber.co

Source: vagaro.com

Source: facebook.com

  • Atomic Burger (2012-present) is located in Baton Rouge and Metarie, Louisiana:

Source: theatomicburger.com

Source: waymarking.com

  • Atomic City, Idaho was renamed this from Midway in 1950 and was home to 29 people in 2010:

Source: newsbreak.com

Source: ladailypost.com

Source: atomiccoffeebar.com

Source: fashionisland.com

  • Atomic Dining Room & Drive-in (1952-?) was once located in Augusta, Georgia: GONE

Source: pinterest.com

Source: facebook.com

  • Atomic Dogs food truck is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico:

Source: facebook.com

Source: facebook.com

Aerial image of what was the location of the Atomic Drive-in in San Angelo, TX – Source: cinema treasures.org

Source Ross County Historical Society via cinematreasures.com

Source: kitchenkwento.com/2010/07/day-1-a-is-for-atomic-foods.html

Source: atomic furnishings.com

Source: atomicpizza.com

  • Atomic Inn (1980-present) is located in Death Valley, California:

Source: tripadvisor.com

Source: lasvegassun.com

Handsome looking Atomic Motel – Source: booking.com

  • Atomic Motel  is located in Moab, Utah, but is now part of Kokopelli Lodgings:

Former neon sign for the motel – Source: sciencesource.com

Source: oldcar.com

  • Atomic Pizza is located in Portland, Oregon (also owns Atomic Ice Cream):

Of course a mushroom logo for an atomic business – Source: facebook.com

Source: traveliowa.com

Source: atomicplumbing.com

  • Atomic Speed Shop is located in an original “Atomic City” – Oak Ridge, Tennessee:

Source: atomicspeedshop.com

Source: atomicstylelounge.com

Source: adastra.fit.edu/blog/campus/secret-history/rising-star-the-atomic-toilet-1970/

Source: atomictrampoline.com

Source: atomictransmission.com

Source: facebook.com

Source: kickstarter.com

Bob’s Atomic Burgers – Source: tripadvisor.com

This entry was posted in adaptive reuse, advertising, archaeology, architecture, art, atomic age, branding, brewpubs, cities, coffee shops/cafes, Communications, consumerism, Cuisine, culture, economic development, entertainment, entrepreneurship, fun, geography, historic preservation, history, land use, Maps, marketing, military, place names, placemaking, Science, Science fiction, signs, technology, theaters, third places, toponymy, tourism, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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