Main Street to Miracle Mile: American Roadside Architecture / Edition 1

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Overview

First published in 1985, Chester Liebs' Main Street to Miracle Mile established the twentieth-century roadside landscape as a subject for serious study. Liebs traces the transformation of commercial development as it has moved from centralized main streets, out along the street car lines, to form the "miracle miles" and shopping malls of today. He also explores the evolution of roadside buildings, from supermarkets and motels to automobile showrooms and drive-in theaters. Both an historical survey and invaluable guide for reading highway landscapes, this classic work—which has inspired numerous studies, museum exhibits, and preservation efforts—is now back in print with new commentary by the author.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune - Clarence Petersen
A serious book but what fun!... Combining great pictures with lucid, insightful, and often witty text, it tells the story of what has been growing up along the nation's highways over the last 80 years as the commerce of the cities expanded into the countrysides.
Historic Preservation - Philip Langdon
Main Street to Miracle Mile is a classic study and will probably remain the standard history of roadside architecture for years to come.
Boston Globe
A wonderful, ground-breaking book... A serious cultural history by the leading authority in the field, who views his topic with wit and irony.

— Robert Campbell

New York Times Book Review
When Mr. Liebs analyzes the commercial environment as 'a visual medium containing dozens of exhibits that mirror swings in the national mood' he brings us up against ourselves. This is history you can pick out in your own life in your own town.

— Denise Scott Brown

Chicago Tribune
A serious book but what fun!... Combining great pictures with lucid, insightful, and often witty text, it tells the story of what has been growing up along the nation's highways over the last 80 years as the commerce of the cities expanded into the countrysides.

— Clarence Petersen

Historic Preservation
Main Street to Miracle Mile is a classic study and will probably remain the standard history of roadside architecture for years to come.

— Philip Langdon

Boston Globe - Robert Campbell
A wonderful, ground-breaking book... A serious cultural history by the leading authority in the field, who views his topic with wit and irony.
New York Times Book Review - Denise Scott Brown
When Mr. Liebs analyzes the commercial environment as 'a visual medium containing dozens of exhibits that mirror swings in the national mood' he brings us up against ourselves. This is history you can pick out in your own life in your own town.
Library Journal
Recent books have taken up single facets of American roadside architecture, e.g., J.J.C. Andrews's The Well-Built Elephant and Other Roadside Attractions ( LJ 3/15/84) and Richard Gutman and Elliott Kaufman's American Diner ( LJ 2/1/80); but this is the first overview of the subject. Lieb, as a ``windshield archeologist,'' is concerned with that package of building, sign, and image which lures the motorist off the highway. Seven building types get in-depth treatment: auto showrooms, gas stations, supermarkets, miniature golf courses, drive-in theaters, motels, and restaurants. There is an excellent bibliography, and numerous photographs chronicle the evolution of this ever-changing landscape. An extensively researched work that will appeal to both scholars and general readers. Highly recommended. Douglas Birdsall, North Dakota State Univ. Lib., Fargo
Booknews
Traces the transformation of commercial development in the US during the 20th century as it moved from the main streets of city centers out along street car lines and later roads to become commercial strips and suburban shopping malls. Liebs (history, U. of Vermont) describes and illustrates the changing architecture of roadside buildings from supermarkets and motels to automobile showroom and drive-in theaters. First published in 1985 by Little, Brown (Boston). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801850950
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1995
  • Edition description: John Hopkins Paperbacks ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 269
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.19 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Chester H. Liebs is professor of history and was founding director of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Vermont. He has published widely in areas ranging from reading everyday landscapes to the study of heritage transportation corridors. A Fulbright Scholar, his most recent research involves reading the everyday landscape of Japan.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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