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. To spot the functions of these buildings, one simply needs a few hints. Like here!
Think today's franchise-architecture look all alike? Well, that's kind of the point.
A Montgomery Ward in Ranger, Texas. How do I know? Look at the green tiles.
She's also on a (former) Montgomery Ward in Corsicana, Texas. She embodies "the spirit of progress."
The tiles are replicated on this Montgomery Ward building in Hillsboro, Texas. Also, see the lady in the tile?
This old Montgomery Ward on Texas Street in Shreveport, Louisiana has both the tile and the spirit.
Phillips 66 in Turkey, Texas: always homey looking.
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. Here's the former Harvey's at Hugo, Oklahoma's St. Louis-San Francisco depot.
Questions or comments? E-mail me:
Montgomery Ward was a pioneer in branding, using the "Spirit of Progress" on its Chicago headquarters, on its retail stores throughout the
country, and on its catalog covers.
The Santa Fe depot from Dougherty, Oklahoma was relocated to the highway between Sulphur and Davis (OK 7). It was converted to a
restaurant, but still sports the typical Santa Fe characteristics in its roof line, windows, and portico.
The Sanger, TX Santa Fe depot has also been moved (to Tioga, TX) and converted to an antique and milled lumber shop.
But the building's roof line and portico make it easy to identify as a Santa Fe station. (Google Maps image)