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January to March 2007

Welcome to Roadside Peek News. This section will feature a news peek of what's happening out on the road. While not pretending to be comprehensive, we hope you'll visit this section from time to time to keep up on just a sample of issues that are roadside related. Don't forget to check out the Roadside Peek main page for the day's update.

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Stardust Hotel and Casino 1958 - 2007 R.I.P.

03.13.2007 Las Vegas, NV - Old Vegas has lost another treasure. Like the Dunes, Sands, Desert Inn, and even the recent Boardwalk and Bourbon Street, the Stardust evokes memories of showgirls, high rollers, and Rat Pack type of entertainment. Sadly, the Stardust is now no more, gone like a sweater in a puddle.

Space Age Lyons Bulldozed

03.13.2007 Sacramento, CA - Another coffee shop treasure has been obliterated off the roadside landscape. Demolition began on the Lyons Restaurant on 2945 Watt Avenue in Sacramento on March 5, 2007 about a week after a back hoe was spotted outside the suddenly fenced off Lyons on February 27, 2007.

Many thanks to John Flores for update

Route 66 Landmark Pig Hip Destroyed by Fire

03.13.2007 Broadwell, IL - A piece of Route 66 was lost when the historic Pig Hip Restaurant and Museum was lost to a fire on March 5, 2007 and was destroyed. Owner and proprietor Ernie Edwards opened the Pig Hip up for business in 1937 and enjoyed a successful business up until he decided to close in 1991, creating a museum of Route 66 memorabilia in the process. Fortunately, Ernie and his wife Frances weren't home when the fire broke out.

(Photos to be posted soon)

Goody Goody No More

03.13.2007 Tampa, FL - The Goody Goody Drive-in eatery in Tampa, FL was torn down in 2006 after closing its doors on November 30, 2005. Open since 1925, the Goody Goody was well known for it burgers and butterscotch pie. Today, the site is just vacant land.

Many thanks to Mark Sevigny for update

Harvey's / Johnie's Ghost Cruise A Success

03.13.2007 Downey, CA - According to multiple reports, the Ghost Cruise for Harvey's Broiler on February 25, 2007 was a success. Almost 40 cars cruised from the starting point at Bob's Big Boy in the morning and other joined in during the various stops on the way to Johnie's/Harvey's Broiler. Given the short notice and cold weather, an estimated turnout of 80 participants was a phenomenal showing.

Many thanks to Adriene Biondo for update

(Photos to be posted soon)

More Roadside Motels Disappear

03.13.2007 Santa Rosa, CA - The Llano Motel was demolished on March 10, 2007 after being the subject of much controversy. The city of Santa Rosa demolished it because the owners were allowing prostitution to go on. Normally, they would just arrest the owner and/or force him to  sell the property. In this case, despite the building's historical significance (it's 87 years old) the city opted to demolish what was a well kept-up building and neon sign.

These days, the city has a sign ordinance that only allows signs on the ground or on the building itself. As a result, most signs are backlit plastic. But the city's real motive for demolishing the building is it's close proximity to a huge shopping center. The motel will make way for a new Starbucks, or other chain store.

Many thanks to Bro Duke for update

03.13.2007 Las Vegas, NV - The Star View Motel has changed names to the Alicia Motel and the famous space age sign has been redone. With the redevelopment going on near the El Cortez Hotel, who knows how long the old Fremont throwback motels will be around.

(Photos to be posted soon)

Ground Broken on Harvey House El Garces Rehabilitation

03.13.2007 Needles, CA - Ground breaking on the restoration of the historic El Garces Hotel in Needles, CA took place on March 7, 2007. The El Garces was opened in 1908 as a Santa Fe Railway/Fred Harvey Hotel and has been abandoned since 1988 after closing in 1949. According to the March 3, 2007 article in the Mohave Daily News, the project manager in charge of the rehabilitation also worked on the La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ.

(Photos to be posted soon)

Illinois Drive-in Theatres to Reopen

03.13.2007 Joliet, IL - The Hilltop Drive-in Theatre in Joliet, IL will be re-opening in April 2007 after being closed since 2001. Here is their new website.

03.13.2007 Rockford, IL - According to the new owners, a contract has been signed to purchase and re-open the Sunset Drive-in Theatre located at 1801 Samuelson Road in Rockford, IL in May 2007. The theatre has been dark since 1986.

Many thanks to David for updates

Reno Motel Partially Closed Due to Code Violations

03.13.2007 Reno, NV - The Lakemill Lodge on the south end of the downtown area was closed on February 26, 2007 due to numerous violations of safety and fire codes. According to the February 27, 2007 issue of the Reno Gazette-Journal, residents in the west tower were moved to nearby motels.

(Photos to be posted soon)

Valley National Bank Demolished

03.13.2007 Tempe, AZ - The former Valley National Bank in Tempe, AZ was demolished on February 10, 2007 after the gold colored geodesic dome roof was removed from the 1962 building. According to the February 14, 2007 issue of the East Valley Tribune, the Valley National Bank branch building had been serving as a visitor's center for the Arizona State University since 1989. The visitors center had closed in 2006 to make way for an honors college.

(Photos to be posted soon)

Coney Island Attractions Being Bulldozed

03.13.2007 Coney Island, NY - The area between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk is being bulldozed by a developer with plans to build luxury condos amidst a $2 billion Vegas style amusement area. According to the March 10, 2007 issue of The Brooklyn Paper, former attractions such as a go cart track and batting cages have already been torn down. It appears that the Astroland property is also at risk.

Twin Hi-Way Drive-in Plans to Return After 13 Years

01.20.2007 PIttsburgh, PA - Good news on the status of the Twin Hi-Way Drive-in located in Pittsburgh, PA. Regency Cinema Services Inc., a PA Based Corporation, has signed a lease to reopen the drive-in in the Spring of 2007. The sign and the rest of the drive-in will be restored to its original 1950's glory. This massive 400 car lot will provide state of the art entertainment and plans are almost definite to twin this magnificent drive-in after thirteen years of silence.

Many thanks to Jerry Salnoris for update.

Skateland Closes

01.20.2007 Whittier, CA - The Skateland in Whittier has been a stop for garage bands in addition to its operation as a skating rink for over 50 years. The Skateland closed as of October 1, 2006 and likely will be demolished due to an EPA Superfund cleanup project.

Johnie's Broiler Demolished; Sign Still Stands

Due to the large amount of news related activity in the aftermath of the Johnie's partial demolition, all of Roadside Peek's Johnie's Broiler updates will be posted at the Johnie's Broiler special section and Roadside News.

On January 7, 2007, a couple of bulldozers suddenly appeared on site and started razing the carhop area and structure. By the time alert citizens contacted the authorities, it was too late. The carhop and a good portion of the restaurant area had already been demolished. The police stopped the demolition due to lack of permit. According to the January 9, 2007 Press-Telegram, numerous possible OSHA violations occurred. "According to police reports, the gas and electricity were not switched off at the time of the razing nor was the area fenced off from the general public, creating an unsafe environment for bulldozing contractors."

After receiving requests to post their comments, just added: Johnie's Broiler Comments and Memories from the many notes that have been sent in since the demolition.


01.10.2007 Downey CA - The Downey City Council met the evening of Jan 10. According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram article, the City Council expressed outrage and vowed to take action against those responsible for the illegal demolition. Many residents were present at the crowded council chambers and spoke up in favor of preserving what's left of Johnie's and/or rebuilding the coffee shop as well as expressed outrage at the events of January 7.

Added a new section highlighting Johnie's Broiler.


01.08.2007 Downey CA - News of this illegal demolition has traveled fast. Here are links to other sites and news stories related to this story. Photos from early afternoon the day after will be posted here shortly.

CBS Channel 2 News video clip of breaking news. See Channel 2's video clip here. has a message thread dedicated to this topic that's growing quickly. is a new site that has been launched by a Downey citizen.
Long Beach Press Telegram article: A Landmark In Ruins. 01/08/07 11:00pm.
NBC4TV article: Preservationists Cry Foul Over Demolition Of 1950's Diner. 01/08/07 08:41am. : Retro Diner Torn Apart In Downey. 01/08/07 12:33am.
Long Beach Press Telegram: Downey landmark unexpectedly razed. 01/08/07 12:03am.


01.07.2007 Downey CA - Just got word that Johnie's was demolished without permits or warning starting at approximately 3:30 PM Sunday evening (Jan 7, 2007). The owner claims no knowledge prior to contact by the city. He arrived at the scene at around 8:45 pm and was questioned by authorities. A crowd appeared as others just drove by in a state of disbelief. The sign is still standing, but it appears to be buckling from the strain. Many thanks to John M. Benton for above info 9:37pm.

Update 12 midnight: An onsite visit to the former Harvey's Broiler, more recently known as Johnie's Broiler, saw the roadside treasure's carhop and dining areas bulldozed. The huge Johnie's sign with "fat boy" still stands. When these photos were taken, a KCAL 9 news van was onsite as well as members of the community at large. Members from the Los Angeles Conservancy's Modern Committee were also on hand, assessing the damage to this historical landmark.

Following up on the initial report, word on the street is that no demolition permits had been issued and local authorities stopped the demolition after much damage had already been made.

Here are photos taken the evening of January 7, 2007.

CBS Channel 2 News as well as other networks covered this story as breaking news. See Channel 2's video clip here.

Stardust Sign and La Concha Lobby Find New Home

01.03.2007 Las Vegas, NV - The sign from the former Vegas iconic Stardust Hotel and the lobby to the mid-century era La Concha Motel will find a new location at the Las Vegas Neon Museum. The La Concha will become a visitor's center and gift shop. More info here.

Merced Theatre Tower Receives Makeover

01.03.2007 Merced, CA - The historic tower from the Merced Theatre in Merced, CA was renovated over the summer of 2006. The tower's orange pyramid roof and blue neon sign were lit up in the fall. More info in the December 29, 2006 issue of the Merced Sun Star.

Historic Walgreen and Stuarts Buildings May Be Razed

01.03.2007 San Antonio, TX - The Walgreen and Stuarts buildings in downtown San Antonio are in in danger of being demolished after Walgreen Co. has stated that they will move locations if a new structure is not built in its place. According to this December 5, 2006 article from, the Walgreen Building dates back to the late 1800's and the Stuarts building was built in 1925. The San Antonio City Council had bestowed historic landmark status on the buildings back in 1987.

Photos to be up in a few days.

Ranch House Motel in Yerington Torn Down

01.03.2007 Yerington, NV - The Ranch House Motel in Yerington, NV was torn down after 54 years in business. According to the December 22, 2006 edition of the Reno Gazette-Journal, the Ranch House Motel was torn down in mid-December 2006 after being purchased by the developer of a nearby commercial and residential project. The motel was originally built in 1952. 01-07

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of our readers, contributors, and lovers of the road. After over 8 years online, we've discovered many roadside treasures, but also sadly seen too many disappear. Wishing you all continued safe traveling on your road trips and don't forget to stop in from time to time to continue this Adventure in Time.




News from: Current | Q4 '06 | Q3 '06 | Q2 '06 | Q1 ' 06 | Q4 '05 | Q3 '05 | Q2 '05 | Q1 '05
Q4 '04 | Q3 '04 | Q2 '04 | Q1 '04 | 2003 | 2002 | Main



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