Sunday, November 30, 2014

Signs of Old Times

From Pete Zarria:

(The Red Top Motel, El Dorado, Kansas.)

(Ponca City, Oklahoma)

(Leavenworth, Kansas)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cola Ghost

From Mick Melvin:

This ghost sign is on the side of the Red Rock Tavern on Capitol Avenue in Hartford, CT. According to the bar's web site, the tavern has changed names a few times over the years, but has been in business for more than 80 years.

Red Rock Cola was a product of the Red Rock Company, which was established in Atlanta in 1885. The first beverage the company distributed was actually ginger ale, according to the web site for beverage distributor Pipeline Brands. Red Rock produced Afri-Cola for many years in the early 20th century as well, according to the CokeGirl web site.

Red Rock experimented with many other flavors over the years, but it wasn't until 1938 that Red Rock Cola hit the market, according to Pipeline Brands.

Red Rock Cola was the only soft drink endorsed by Babe Ruth, which he did in 1938. The cola was distributed in most of the US, but sales declined in the late 1950's. The company soon disappeared in the states and little is known about the circumstances.

Fortunately, the formula was preserved and the cola was produced in the Dominican Republic by the Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana. Red Rock has been distributed in many countries in Latin America, including Venezuela, Panama, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

The soft drink was reintroduced to the states in the 1980's in Alabama and has since established distribution centers in Georgia. The Georgia center distributes the beverage to Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah. The beverage can also be purchased online.

I'm not sure if you can get a Red Rock Cola at the Red Rock Tavern in Hartford, but I'll let you know on my next visit.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whitey Wuz Here

From Dave Brigham:

Boston's Castle Island, home to Fort Independence and many other fortresses over the centuries, has a great military history, but whenever I hang out there I can't help but think of Whitey Bulger.

Bulger, the gangster who ran South Boston for two decades before going on the lam in late 1994, used to walk around Castle Island with his right-hand man, Kevin Weeks, in order to avoid surveillance bugs. I love the pictures of Bulger in his dorky white Red Sox hat, t-shirt tucked into old-man jeans, and white sneakers. He looks so harmless. He was anything but.

No man is an island, they say, certainly not Whitey, who thought he could get away with multiple murders, racketeering and drug dealing. Bulger was on the run for 16 years, his time finally running out in Santa Monica, CA, in the the summer of 2011.

Despite its name, Castle Island is no longer an island, as it was connected to the mainland by a roadway long ago. My son, Owen, loves to spot planes there as they arrive at and depart from Logan Airport, which is right across the harbor. I take the occasional picture of planes, but mostly I scan for unusual things.

(Signal Corps building. I suppose the place is used for storage, but it evidently has other uses. I found a story in the Boston Globe's online archive about Bulger's capture in June 2011, in which an anonymous guy playing cribbage in the building is quoted as saying he hoped that with the gangster's capture, the FBI would come out with the full truth about Bulger's role as a government informant.)

(The U.S. Engineer Department doesn't exist any more. I believe it was renamed the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. This marker is on the sidewalk that circles Fort Independence, right next to the green wrought-iron fence that prevents people from falling into the harbor. If I'm reading this correctly, it's telling me that I'm 16.23 feet above sea level.)

(On a recent trip to the island with my kids, the tide was pretty low, so we walked among the refuse that washed up on the small beach below the walkway. We saw this dead seagull.)

(We also saw some cool pieces of driftwood, the second of which below looks like it was once part of the rotting pier you see in the background of the shot.)