Terre Haute

Abe Malooley’s Saratoga
Kodak EasyShare Z730
2009

The Saratoga was already a local institution when I lived in Terre Haute in the 1980s and 1990s. It is still going strong today. I like to stop for a meal whenever I’m in town. I’m usually greeted by Shelly, a longtime waitress and someone I knew when I lived in Terre Haute.

I sort of miss Terre Haute. I liked living there. Unfortunately, there was only one company in town that needed people who did what I do, and when that company folded I had little choice but to move on.

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Photography

single frame: Abe Malooley’s Saratoga

The lit neon sign of the Saratoga restaurant in Terre Haute.

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Palace Theater, Crossville, TN

Palace Theatre
Canon PowerShot S95
2011

My sons and I spent one Spring Break in a cabin at Cumberland Mountain State Park near Crossville, Tennessee. We went into town one evening to see what was up, and we came upon this gorgeous theatre sign lit.

The Palace opened in 1938 as a first-run movie theater. It operated that way until 1978 when growing competition forced it to close. It was restored in the early 2000s to be a community center and event venue.

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Photography

single frame: Palace Theatre

The Palace Theater’s sign in Crossville, TN.

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Moon-Lite Motel

Moon-Lite Motel
Canon PowerShot S80
2009

You’ll find the Moon-Lite Motel in Versailles (ver-SALES), Indiana, on US 421. That’s also the Auto Trail alignment of the Michigan Road. I’ve seen other photos with the neon fully working — the MOTEL letters light up in pink.

You never know what you’re going to get when you choose to stay at an old motel like this. Thank heavens for Google and its reviews, which say that this is one of the good ones.

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Photography

single frame: Moon-Lite Motel

A neon motel sign in Versailles, IN.

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South Bend Motel

South Bend Motel
Kodak EasyShare Z730
2009

I grew up a mile or so away from this motel and its neon sign. I saw it a lot while I was growing up, and its neon was usually in disrepair. It made me happy to find it lit and fully working when I visited my hometown this day.

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Photography

single frame: South Bend Motel

The South Bend Motel sign, lit.

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Felke Florist

Felke Florist
Canon PowerShot S80
2009

If you’ve never been to Plymouth, put it on your list; it is a charming small Indiana city. I came to appreciate it on my many passes through as I explored the Michigan Road in 2008. Its intact old downtown is filled with viable local shops; well-cared-for homes dating to the mid-1800s line the Michigan Road leading in and out. Terre Haute, Muncie, Goshen – they all wish they had a main drag like Plymouth’s.

Once I drove through Plymouth at twilight and Felke Florist’s sign was lit with beautiful bright red neon. I so regretted that I didn’t have my camera with me. And then on many subsequent trips through town, the sign wasn’t lit. But then on this particular afternoon it was — inexplicably, as it was four o’clock in the afternoon. Fortunately, my camera was sitting on the passenger seat. You’d better believe I stopped for this photo!

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Photography

single frame: Felke Florist

A neon sign for a florist in Plymouth, Indiana.

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Munger Moss Motel

The Munger Moss Motel
Canon PowerShot S95
2013

This starts a short series of neon signs I’ve photographed. I enjoy finding them on my road trips! I especially enjoy finding them lit.

When my sons and I toured Route 66 in 2013 I booked us in classic mom-and-pop motels as much as I could. Most were good, a couple were great. The Munger Moss was great.

Owner Ramona was delighted that I brought my young sons out to experience the Mother Road. She took my hand in hers and said that people like us were keeping its memory alive.

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Photography

single frame: The Munger Moss Motel

The great neon sign of the Munger Moss Motel on Route 66.

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