I couldn't stand to wait until Tuesday to post a little more, although after spending a little time on research, it's already Tuesday!
This is the Sunrise Motel sign on Route 66 off of I-44 near Sullivan, Missouri. Route 66 is the frontage road here, right by the "big" highway, and I spotted the sign on the way down. (It's near mile marker 223, by the way.) I told Ken that I'd like to stop on the way back and get a picture of it, because it looks to be in pretty bad shape, and the motel itself has not survived. We aren't planning to take our big Route 66 trip until 2010, and some of these things might not survive until then.
I couldn't read this sign until we got much closer, and finally was able to make out the word "sunrise," and then I noticed the Triple A oval in the middle. There's also a No Vacancy bit, right under the T.
I tried to find out a little bit about the Sunrise Motel, but I could find next to nothing. I was able to find this postcard image.
What a cool and funky motel! It looks like the office had a bit of a Southwest, adobe-like look to it, although it's hard to tell from old postcards like this. They included the Triple A logo on the card in the form of the logo itself, and then in a sign rising behind the motel office. The sign above isn't portrayed in this postcard--it looks more like an arch sign in the drawing.
It's things like this that make me sad to see these buildings not being preserved. I know it's nothing but an eyesore to some people, but I find that these ranch motels from the middle part of the 20th century have a charm to them that you don't see in most hotels today. Maybe it's because I remember staying in a few in Florida when I was little. You opened the cantilevered windows to get a breeze, and the really nice motels had an outdoor pool where you could go cool off. Anyhoo, back to the Sunrise...I don't know if there are any actual pictures of this motel left. I don't recall reading about it in any of my books, and haven't been able to find one online. Are there no photos of the Sunrise out there? What a shame. (I'll keep looking, and if anyone knows anything about this vanished motel, please let me know.)
I wanted to explain a bit about Googie. Wiki defines "Googie" this way:
Googie is a subdivision of futurist architecture, influenced by car culture and the Space Age and Atomic Age, originating from Southern California in the late 1940s and continuing approximately into the mid-1960s. The types of buildings that were most frequently designed in a Googie style were motels, coffee houses and bowling alleys. Features of Googie include upswept roofs, curvaceous, geometric shapes, and bold use of glass, steel, and neon. Googie was also characterized by space-age designs that depict motion, such as boomerangs, flying saucers, atoms, and parabolas, and free-form designs such as "soft" parallelograms and the ubiquitous artist's-palette motif. These stylistic conventions reflected American society's emphasis on futuristic designs and fascination with Space Age themes. As with the art deco style of the 1930s, Googie became undervalued as time passed, and many buildings built in this style have been destroyed. [Read the full article on Googie here.]
While the Sunrise Motel sign isn't a stellar example of Googie, it does include rectangles and ovals, and another characteristic of Googie is geometric shapes. It's fun to try to find signs that include rectangles, triangles, AND circles, ovals, or balls. (YES, I said fun. Each to their own, and I think Googie is fun!) Neon isn't required, but is a definite plus. Note that the article quoted in Wiki compares the destruction of Googie buildings and signage to the destruction of Art Deco buildings. Art Deco is highly prized now, and I firmly believe that the same case can be made for Googie. These are unique architectural designs, both in design, time, and place.