On left: a postcard image of “The Pickle Barrel House,” originally built as a summer cottage (later restored—see: here); on right: The Teapot Dome Service Station built in 1922. (Old-fashioned oil cans resemble teapots, but there is another connection.)
Within the category of roadside representational architecture, also known as “programmatic” or “mimetic”—(buildings designed to look like something else)—is a subset of buildings that are designed to look like product packages. On the one hand, causing drivers to double-take and giving customers that fun, Lilliputian feeling. On the other hand, trying to communicate what’s for sale within. (usually)
Not only do these types of structures visually resemble packages, the whole idea of architectural branding is often expressed in terms of packaging:
“The special packaging of place is a form of commodification. Places are created to appeal to specific appetites defined not only in terms of food, but also in terms of environment. Consumed is a place package—food, service and entertainment.”
Fast Food By John A. Jakle, Keith A. Sculle
On left: Denver-based Little Man Ice Cream milk can. (See construction photo here); on right: Hood Milk Bottle concession at The Boston Children’s Museum. (See a renovation photo here and a history of the structure here.)
The Moxie bottle (on right), originally constructed for a 1907 trade show, later enjoyed a long tenure as a concession stand at the Pine Island Amusement Park in Manchester, NH. In 1919 it was moved and served as a home (on left) until 1999. The full history of this structure can be read here.
(More packaged places, after the jump…)
Photo from Fast Food By John A. Jakle, Keith A. Sculle
“Clam Box” in Ipswich, Mississippi (photo from OhioBarns.com)
On left: a gabled milk carton concession in Thunder Bay, Ontario; on right: a jug-shaped building in Portland.
Beach Packaging Design
1. This is the second time the subject of “The Teapot Dome scandal” has come up on box vox. Last time, was when I brought it up in my interview with Elizabeth Royte. (Comparing Poland Springs Water to There-will-be-Blood oil.)
This time it’s about a gas station that’s supposed to be funny, but if you aren’t thinking about 1924 congressional hearings, you may not get it…
“Constructed as a joke that now only history buffs truly enjoy, this goofy-looking service station was built to spoof the Teapot Dome scandals during President Harding’s administration. The scandal sent Harding’s Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall, to prison for leasing government oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming.”
from an AOL site
The “Teapot Dome” in question was an oil field in Wyoming, itself named after a nearby giant boulder that was thought to resemble a teapot.
So in effect what you have is a gas station in Zillah, Washington, made to look like a teapot and named after a scandal—named for an oil field which was named after a boulder that looked like a teapot.
2. Hood Dairy’s role in this milk bottle’s story is more of a “second act” than some realize.
The Hood Bottle was born in 1933, when Arthur Gagnon built it as an ice cream stand along Route 44 in Taunton. He then sold the bottle to the Sankey family (you can still faintly see “Sankey” painted on the bottle in the picture), who operated the stand until 1967. The bottle then fell into disrepair…
…during the 1970s. H.P Hood dairy bought the bottle and paid to disassemble, renovate, reassemble, and ferry the quart to Boston.
On left: a Walker Evan (instant color) photograph of the original Sankey’s Ice Cream stand. (©1974 Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art) On right a model showing the bottle in it’s new Boston home. (Is the model of the giant bottle an actual-size bottle?)