|Americana refers to artifacts of the culture of the United States. Examples of this
culture include baseball, apple pie, Superman, the Diner, George Gershwin's
Rhapsody in Blue, and American folk art, such as that of Norman Rockwell.
In music, Americana is a loose subset of American folk music, that is perhaps best
defined as "classic American music"—ranging in style from roots-based bluegrass to
alternative country, blues, zydeco, and other native forms. Americana music is the
focus of the bi-monthly U.S. magazine No Depression. One of the main reasons
Americana is used to describe such a wide variety of musical genres is because of
the rich and diverse range of cultural influences which we call American. For
example, traditional Bluegrass instrumentation consists of the banjo which originated
on the African continent, guitars from Europe, and fiddling styles which have their
roots in traditional Irish and other Gaelic fiddling techniques. The 1960s group The
Band is often cited as the biggest modern influence on Americana, especially in rock
In the visual fine arts, Americana usually indicates a concern with the marginal
aspects of historic American culture; carnivals, popular amusements such as side-
shows, vernacular typography and signage, old horror movies in the 'haunted house'
genre, the old West, and the backwoods cultures. It has increasingly veered off into
a dark Gothic approach to Americana that was first visualized by U.S. writers such as
Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury.
|Located in Groom, Texas, is the Leaning Water
Tower which is the last surviving element of the
Britten U.S.A. Truck Stop. It was brought to Groom by
Ralph Britten to serve as a tourist attraction and a
reason for people to stop at his truck stop and ask
questions. For travelers today the truck stop is gone
but the questions remain.
|Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is an American circus that
was formed from the merger of the Ringling Brothers Circus and the
Barnum and Bailey Circus. It currently is the largest and most successful of
the remaining American circuses, performing continuously since 1871.
|Roadside Diners. The original, classic diner is a modular restaurant built in a factory and shipped to its site complete
with furniture, fixtures and equipment. Throughout their history, diners have been neighborhood restaurants which
attract a cross-section of America, from factory workers to high society. The roadside diner was born in 1872 in
Providence, Rhode Island, as a horse drawn wagon, operating only at night after all restaurants had closed for the
Over the 116 year history of the diner, the function has always been to provide a good, inexpensive, home style meal in
a comfortable atmosphere, but the design of the building has changed. Less elaborate lunch cars were built in the
"machine era" of the late 1920s. Sleek, streamlined gems characterized the forward-looking 1930s. This period, and
the post-World War II boom, was the golden age of the diner, when the newest and flashiest materials were put to use in
|Baseball Cards. With the development of photography, baseball teams began to pose for group and individual
pictures, much like members of other clubs and associations. Some of these photographs were printed onto small cards
similar to modern wallet photos. As baseball increased in popularity and became an openly professional sport during
the late 1860s, a sporting goods store named Peck and Snyder began producing trade cards featuring baseball teams.
Peck and Snyder sold baseball equipment, and the cards were a natural advertising vehicle. The Peck and Snyder
cards are sometimes considered the first baseball cards.
|Harmon Killebrew 1963
|Honus Wagner 1909
|Ty Cobb 1911
|Cy Young 1911
|Joe DiMaggio 1940
|Roger Maris 1959
|Willie Mays 1954
|Stan Musial 1959
|Mickey Mantle 1952
|Cars of the 1960's. The 1960's is thought of as the Classic Car Era, a time when American automakers responded to
the threat of imported cars with vehicles like the all new Corvair, Fords' Falcon, and Chryslers' Valiant. These smaller
cars were considerably lighter than their predecessors and in 1964 factory-built cars with large displacement engines
took over the market. These were the Muscle Cars and names like Camaro, Mustang, Road Runner, Firebird and
Barracuda became common household words.
|Motels and Tourist Courts. In the early part of the twentieth century, there were few of the amenities available to
today's interstate traveller. West of the Mississippi, camping was the most common alternative to expensive hotels. As
the Depression wore on, it became profitable to offer more amenities than were available in the campsite. Farmers and
other business-folks would contract with an oil company, put up a gas pump, and throw up a few shacks. Cottage
courts (also known as tourist courts) emerged to add some class to these otherwise dingy collections. They were
standardized along a common motif and frequently organized around a public lawn. The manager's office and sign
began to take more ostentatious forms. Now, as the interstate system is largely completed, few people go out of their
way to find roadside motels. Fewer still remember the traditions of autocamps and tourist courts.
|The drive-in theater's peak popularity came in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly in rural areas, with some
4000 drive-ins spreading across the United States. Among its advantages was the fact that a family with a baby could
take care of their child while watching a movie, while teenagers with access to autos found drive-ins ideal for dates. In
the 1950s, the greater privacy afforded to patrons gave drive-ins a reputation as immoral, and they were labeled
"passion pits" in the media. The concession stand, also called a snack bar, is where the drive-in made most of its
money. As a result, much of a drive-in's promotion was oriented toward the concession stand. To send patrons to the
concessions stands, advertisements were projected before the feature and during the intermissions.
|Norman Rockwell was an early 20th century American painter. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United
States, where Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine
over more than four decades. Among the best-known of Rockwell's works are Rosie the Riveter and the Four Freedoms
|Television of the 1960's. Television in the 1960s was very different to now. Today the TV set is part of our daily life.
in the sixties, watching television was a separate activity. You scheduled time for it, and turned it on for specific shows
(in the way people used to treat radio before TV came along). Until 1965 television was broadcast in black and white
and everyone was learning on the job. Viewing hours were also limited as most stations did not broadcast 24 hours a
day. Rabbit ears or an outdoor antenna would pick up your signals and only local channels were available.
|The Cadillac Ranch, located along the tatters of historic
Route 66, was built in 1974, brainchild of Stanley Marsh 3, the
helium millionaire who owns the dusty wheat field where it
stands. Marsh and The Ant Farm, a San Francisco art
collective, assembled used Cadillacs representing the "Golden
Age" of American Automobiles (1949 through 1963). The ten
graffiti-covered cars are half-buried, nose-down, facing west "at
the same angle as the Cheops' pyramids."
|The Fight of the Century. The first contest between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier was simply called "The Fight of
the Century." To this day, the billing rings true. The fight was unique in that for the first time in history it matched an
unbeaten former heavyweight champion against the unbeaten current champ. The participants were each
compensated with a guaranteed purse of $2.5 million, a record at the time. The Garden was sold out a full month before
the fight and ringside tickets were going for a record $150. Frazier would win by unanimous decision after fifteen
rounds and retain his heavyweight crown. Ali and Frazier set the standard that night at the Garden. They would meet
two more times and their rivalry stands as one of boxing's most dramatic trilogies. Boxers will forever battle punchers,
but few will do it with the skill, grace, courage and determination of Ali and Frazier.