The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

May 16, 2017

May 16, 1940

John Margolies, (May 16, 1940 to May 26, 2016) was described as a "Photographer of Whimsical Architecture" in his New York Times obituary. That would be things like "the gaping alligator’s mouth through which visitors entered a Kissimmee, Fla., zoo". 

]He was born the] son of Asher Margolies, a Macy’s executive, and the former Ethel Polacheck, a painter, New Canaan, Conn. ....

After studying at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he earned a bachelor’s degree in art history and journalism and a master’s in communications, Mr. Margolies became an editor at Architectural Record magazine. He also served as program director at the Architectural League of New York, a nonprofit organization founded in the 19th century.

In 1970, Mr. Margolies roiled the architectural establishment when he mounted an exhibition at the Architectural League on the work of Morris Lapidus. Mr. Lapidus was best known for designing some of the most florid hotels in Florida, including the Eden Roc in Miami Beach.

...... But he had found his calling, and before long he took to the road.
Renting the largest car he could afford, usually a Cadillac (his travels were variously underwritten by a Guggenheim Foundation grant and the architect Philip Johnson), he spent as many as eight weeks at a stretch in pursuit of enterprises whose names read like found poetry: Moby-Dick Golf, the Missile Motel, the Uranium Cafe,.... he spent much of his life scouring back roads for those vanishing emblems of midcentury enterprise, which were already imperiled by air travel, interstates and big-box sprawl...
Much of what he photographed is gone now: In some cases, he learned that he had shot a building only days before it was demolished.

A former resident of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Mr. Margolies had lived most recently on the Upper East Side, in a home brimming with the artifacts of American material culture that he amassed with abandon: vintage photographs, retail signs, postcards, pennants, matchbooks, travel brochures, diner place mats, maps, do-not-disturb signs and a good deal else....

Mr. Margolies’s death, of pneumonia in Manhattan, was confirmed by his longtime companion, Jane Tai. His survivors also include a brother, Paul.
His books include: 
 Pump and Circumstance: Glory Days of the Gas Station (1993)
Home Away From Home: Motels in America (1995)
Fun Along the Road: American Tourist Attractions (1998).

And the book where this is found -

 Photographs from Roadside America (1980). The Pussy Cat Lounge sign, in Fargo, North Dakota.

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