This postcard of Crinklaws Chevron Gasoline in Topock, Arizona, is a good representative view of just one of many of the small, basic-needs gasoline stations of the desert Southwest. Topock is almost forgotten today. I do not think Topock ever had a motel and I can not think if there was even had a place to eat. Yet its location on the eastern bank of the Colorado River at the bridge was notable. Chevron was the brand of gasoline sold at Crinklaws. Notice the large steel gray water tank in the background. There is virtually nothing left of old Topock today.
Amboy, California, had three notable motel/café complexes: Bender's/Conn's, Bill Lee's, and Roy's shown here and the only survivor today. This is the most common photochrome postcard of Amboy (there are a couple of other rarer photochrome postcards of Roy's) but this is my favorite since it has the sharpest image and the best colors. I like the prominent Googie style elements: the big ROY'S sign with the red arrow pointing down and the "flying wedge" motel office in the center. The communications towner in the background is also seen. (Desert Supply SC10195)
The Ludlow Café in Ludlow, California is the only photochrome postcard from Ludlow that I know from the commissioned Highway 66 era. I like this building because of its simple shape and plain stucco façade. My guess is that the Ludlow Café closed soon after Interstate 40 was completed across the California desert but I am not sure. The place was boarded up for many years and vandals removed all the signage that once existed. A fire gutted the structure in late 2008. Locals told me that transients lost control of a warming fire. The burned building stood through 2014 but when I was there in June 2015 there was just a pile of rubble. (Columbia 12072)
I selected this Torches Motel in Barstow, California, postcard for the Googie-style signboard in the upper view and the swimming pool activity seen in the lower view. The big vertical MOTEL and oblique Torches signs along with the light blue arrow and yellow Vacancy sign is classic Googie and it looks great. Everyone looks like they are having a fun time in the swimming pool after a long drive across the Mojave Desert. The Torches Motel is still open today but the upper TORCHES sign has been replaced by a horizontal signboard. By the way, the tan building stepping up the slope in the background of the upper image was the next-door Skyview Motel (now the Plaza Motel). (McGarr 63168)
I selected this New Corral Motel in Victorville, California, postcard for the interesting three views, although I wish there was more activity present. On the left is a close-up of the signboard with the bronco raring up on its hind legs. This sign is beautifully neon-lit at night even today. The upper view looks into the motel grounds. The green lawn in a desert motel must have been a pleasant surprise for travelers. The swimming pool in the lower view needs some guests but I like the striped umbrella and lounge chairs. (Dexter 99813)
I selected this Le Mae Motel in San Bernardino, California, postcard for the same reason as I chose the postcard of the Torches Motel in Barstow (above). The Googie-style main signboard is hard to resist with its script Le Mae, big block MOTEL, and curved arrow pointing to the entrance. I like the manicured landscaping in the foreground too. The swimming pool has a couple of tables with umbrellas and the requisite lounge chairs for guests. The Le Mae Motel was razed and its location is an empty lot. (Forest Mathews 37488)