To be honest, I didn't know what Googie motels were before this and I certianly didn't know about the Wildwoods Shore Resort Historic District, also known as the Doo Wop Motel District , but I'm glad I do now.
Although the State of New Jersey officially recognises the Wildwoods Shore Resort as a historic district, since the early 2000's, around 50 of the 300 motels have fallen victim to the wrecking ball in favour of newer apartment developments. I feel like I've seen something similar to this at least once before.
The sorbet coloured buildings with their plastic palm trees, and those iconic neon signs seem to be such a unique part of the American identity. Even without knowing about Googie motels of Wildwoods, the images seem instantly recognisable.
They somehow combine into one beautiful mix of colour from one to the next.
Photographer Mark Havens recognised the importance of capturing this unique landscape and has documented the buildings as part of his book, Out of Season: The Vanishing Architecture of the Wildwoods. .
I think I'm going to head to Kinokuniya now to see if there's a copy in stock.
I found the following excerpts from the article interesting. I think it applies much more broadly across the issues of historical preservation and urban renewal -
“Most local business owners think of their ‘pickled’ motels as tacky dinosaurs, and they’re, at best, befuddled by the very thing that the outsiders—the academics and hipsters and preservationists—have come to study, document, and celebrate,” writes Van Meter. But the problem is that there are not enough academics and hipsters and preservationists to keep Wildwood’s motels in business. The last day as I walked, I realised I was part of that—I was staying in a condo, not the time capsule-esque Jolly Roger that I could see out my window.
"Hopefully there will be people who continue to come to Wildwood and stay in the 1950s-era motels because they are affordable, and the owners can perform the necessary upgrades to keep them standing—and profitable. But not too profitable, right? It’s the classic concern. We want the motel to stay the way it is, even if we don’t particularly want to stay there."
To read the original article and see mor of Marks beautiful photos, click here .
Curbed about telling great stories, delivered with all the context you need to know about homes, neighbourhoods, and cities—while serving up a constant source of inspiration.