Simply Memories-1950′s Pittsburgh Dirt Track Racing

I continue to go through photo’s from my Dad’s collection and stumbled on some dirt track racing photos from the 1950′s.  He could not drive due to very bad eye sight but hung out with a group of guys that raced.

Pittsburgh Dirt Track Racing
Pittsburgh Dirt Track Racing
Pittsburgh Dirt Track Racing

I have very little other information on the photos.  If someone recognizes the cars or track drop me an email and I will update the post.

Check out a few more photos in this series in the Simply Memories Gallery.  Help me identify the track and cars.

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An Introduction to “The F.A.S.T Life”

I mentioned in the first post of the Simply Memories series that my dad George was a photographer in his younger days.  I found a short story that he had written and published while attending the University of Pittsburgh back in 1955.

The story is called “The F.A.S.T Life” and details a portion of his life as an amateur photographer and his foray into professional photography.  The story’s title plays on an old photographer’s mnemonic device;   Focus, Aperture, Shutter and Think.

As I read the story, I thought of how much the world has changed since 1955 in terms of photography and film processing.  I also thought how little the world has changed in terms of the challenges of freelance work, technical knowledge/skills and the passion to chase and live a dream.

Technology has changed the world in the last five decades and even quicker in just the last 10 years.   Dad passed away almost 20 years ago.  He never experienced the digital camera, modern personal computer, Photoshop or even the Internet.  He would have loved the new tools as much as the old ones because they would have allowed him to stretch his art and hobby even further.  The goal of the Simply Memories series is to bring his old photos, slides and negatives into the modern world and share.

Why should you read “The F.A.S.T Life?” This 3,000 word essay shows how time has changed the hobby of photography, but not the art and passion.

 

The F.A.S.T Life

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The First Super Highway–PA Turnpike Memorabilia

The Pennsylvania Turnpike was not the first national highway but it was the first to be considered a superhighway. The construction started in 1937 and completed in 1956–connecting the entire state from one side to the other. Of course in Pennsylvania construction never ends–the turnpike is always changing and improving with numerous enhancements over the last 60 years since it was first completed.

PA Turnpike Book

To honor this great road–Howard Johnson’s restaurants produced a book for tourists who traveled the road and stopped in their orange roofed restaurants. HoJo managed to secure the exclusive roadside locations along the Pennsylvania turnpike and others back in the 1950′s. This meant that drivers could pull into their roadside stops and enjoy a hot meal and fuel up the car without having to exit the main road. This book from the early 1950′s features a great number of drawings that depict the huge cloverleaf intersections, dramatic bridges (274 when opened) and the numerous tunnels (7 when opened).

PA Turnpike Book

The drawings featured in this book are not some computerized renderings based on actual photos but artist’s representations of photos in the classic 1950′s styles including backgrounds, fonts and landscape. Each page is almost like a postcard–subtle backgrounds, dramatic landscape / road views and a snippet of information about the scene.

PA Turnpike Book

Click on the following link for a Photo Gallery of each page (28 total) of the book in a high resolution format to experience a different time in American history when the road and driving was more of an adventure and experience.  If you want to stir your HoJo memories visit these two sites (HoJoLand and Goodbye to Howard Johnson’s)

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Museums and Memories

My parents loved to get in the car and drive. They traveled all over the East Coast visiting museums, forts, battlefields and amusement parks from the 1950s through the 1970s. Dad fancied himself an amateur photographer and took thousands of photos throughout the years.

The tickets below came from an auto museum in Bridgewater, New York from some time in the late fifties or early sixties. The museum appears to have closed in 1990 and the cars and displays were sold and spread across the country. We would love to be able to restore the memories of this museum through photos.

Our larger goal is to work through the cases of slides, negatives and photos in the upcoming months and years and add the special ones (autos, planes, trains, etc) to our already large library of photos.

Museum Tickets

We tried our best to capture the places and events we have visited over the last 13 years of being active in the car community. The current library represents more than 4,000 photos and will continue to grow. Check out the large Photo Gallery already and look for a lot of new stuff to be featured in the future.

If you visited the Bridgewater museum and want to share a story, photo, or memory drop us an email we would love to hear from you.

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