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Googie, Doo-Wop and Carhops  by Deborah Tirico
The futuristic style of architecture known as Googie was influenced by the increase in the car culture and the interest in space and the atomic age during the 1940s – 50s. Originating in Southern California, Googie style architecture features upswept rooflines, curvaceous, geometric shapes and the bold use of glass, steel and neon.  The Style depicts motion, as exemplified by boomerangs, flying saucers, atoms, parabolas and the ever popular artist’s palette motif.   Dry cleaners, drive-in restaurants, coffee houses, gas stations, motels and bowling alleys were likely to be designed in the Googie style during the 1950s. It seems as though service businesses associated with moving quickly in one’s car “drove” the Googie style.  
such designs.  His Ebb Tide Motel, built during 1957 and demolished during 2003, is credited as the first Doo-Wop motel in Wildwood Crest.   Despite the loss of these important landmarks In Wildwood, a "Doo Wop Preservation League" now works with local business and property owners, city planning and zoning officials, and
Redwood Car Wash on El Camino Real
Oldest McDonalds, Stanley Meston, architect, Downey, CA 1953
regained popularity. Personally, I love the idea of carhops skating over to the car door with a burger and fries. It was a ritual captured perfectly in the 1973 film American Graffiti, as car culture neared the end of its run.

In California, famous Googie restaurants such as Pann's, Norm's, the Wich Stand and some of the original Bob’s Big Boy locations have been preserved and even restored to their original appearance.

Wildwood New Jersey is famous for its historic district which features the Googie style. The term "Doo-wop" was invented by New Jersey's Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts during the early 1990s to describe the unique, space-age architectural style. Many of Wildwood’s Doo-Wop motels were built by Lou Morey, who specialized in
Welcome to Las Vegas
Redwood Carwash on El Camino Real in Redwood City - its upswept towers an example of googie architecture.
the state's historic preservation office to help ensure that the remaining historic structures will be preserved. Wildwood's high-rise hotel district is the first of its kind in the nation to enforce "Doo Wop" design guidelines for new construction. The latest addition is a Wawa in the Googie style.

Googie architecture is also known as Populuxe or Doo-Wop and is considered to be a subdivision of futuristic architecture. To me, Googie is among the most stylized and graphic forms of design and is “big” fun.  

Since Googie buildings and signs were part of the service industry most developers didn’t believe they were worth preserving and as time passed, many buildings created in this style have been destroyed. But, Googie architecture is an important part of the history of American suburbia and a symbol of the early days of car culture. Since 1983 when the oldest McDonald's stand qualified for the National Register of Historic Places, the style has slowly
car hop
Orbit gas station, excellent example of Googie
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1957 Chev Thunderbird
1957 Thunderbird
vintage Orbit gas station
Googie is a marvelous example of how culture can impact design
googie ball clock