Marking their Territory
I bet, whenever and wherever you drive along your road trips, you will immediately
be able to identify certain businesses, regardless where your travels have taken
you. A McDonalds is a McDonalds is a McDonalds; the Sonic in McAlester looks like
the Sonic in Ardmore that looks just like the Sonic in Paris. Wal-Mart doesn't change
its spots, either; the big parking lot, huge double doors, flat roof, and two-hue paint
scheme of either blue and gray or beige and brown is an immediate give-a-way. And
woe be the RaceTrac or 7-11 or Wag-a-Bag that wants to be individualistic; that stuff
just won't fly.

Alas, nothing is new under the sun. In my travels around the Red River region, I've
found that it is quite easy to identify even businesses from "way-back-when" based
on their architecture. Signs are not even needed; form, function, and (often)
location are simple clues needed to discover what used to be where.

I'll even give you a few hints to uncover "mysteries" for yourself.
Think today's franchise-architecture look all alike? Well, that's kind of the point.
A Montgomery Ward in Ranger, Texas.
A Montgomery Ward in Corsicana, Texas.
A Montgomery Ward in Hillsboro, Texas.
A Montgomery Ward in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Phillips 66 in
Turkey, Texas:
always homey
looking.
The Santa Fe Railroad wanted to be known as the "gateway to the
Southwest." Much of their station architecture reflected that in their
Spanish-Colonial-Revival-Style (Temple, Texas).
Railroads and the businesses that catered to them were the first true
franchises. Harvey Houses adhered to a strict formula of location,
looks, and uniforms that was supposed to comfort travelers.
Questions or comments? E-mail me: robin@redriverhistorian.com