midcentury modern

Scenic Highway

If you find abandoned buildings, vehicles, and discarded furniture scenic, then Scenic Highway lives up to its name.


Co-explorer Kara and I arrived in this unfamiliar part of town on bicycle with her dog, Miss Lola Mae, trotting alongside for protection. 


As Kara, another newcomer by way of North Carolina, observed, it looks almost Caribbean here sometimes. I've never been, but knew what she meant.


The money shot of the day was found just past the corrugated-metal building on the left, and is found here after the jump. 

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Dry Cleaners Past and Present, Plus ABR Birthday Contest

I always seem to notice the signs and architecture of dry cleaners, probably because they so often fall into the fabulous, future-of-the-past category of midcentury modern. I've seen numerous examples while driving around and more recently, biking around town, the latter of which leaves me neither dry nor clean.

I am making the following up because I didn't bother investigating, but from evidence available to the casual passerby today, dry cleaning boomed in the '50s and '60s, in some cases bolstered by a futuristic process called "Martinizing" that the cleaners liked to advertise in large loopy cursive lettering on their trapezoidal buildings.

This amoebic sign has a flashy retro design but is probably new.


But let's look at some other dry cleaners, some abandoned, some still operational, and some of course in that Baton Rouge category of "who the f knows?". In that occupied?/semi-operational category, we've got Government Street's Rome Cleaners, whose eternal sale on UNCLAIMED WEDDING G OWN   S depresses the hell out of me.



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Beauty School Dropout

D-Jay's School of Beauty is one of the few businesses featured here on ABR that still exists elsewhere, such as Mitiello's, Shell, and Winn-Dixie. They even have a website on the Internets. However, the beauty school dropped out of this particular Government Street Location.


Judging by this sign, their move must have happened around the time of laser discs.


(To the sellers/leasers: Here's a tip I learned from HGTV existing: this property might move faster if you clear out the burned-up garbage from the front area. Just a thought.)

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Three Sisters ladies' shoppe


I'm told by fellow urban explorer Josh that Three Sisters used to be a ladies' department store. I was intrigued, but when I looked up the phrases "Three Sisters," "department store," and "Baton Rouge," on Google, all that came up was obituaries. Apparently a popular job for Southern ladies who died recently was working in department stores. Also, a lot of them had three sisters.


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Lincoln Theatre complex

This compound is an abandoned and semi-abandoned downtown treasure. (I think it's in the downtown? Or near it? It's hard to tell where downtown starts or ends when nobody's around.)


Today's subject: The onetime sight of the Lincoln Theatre, Pharmacy, Barber Shop, and Wash-In (I think that's what the last phrase says? Is a "wash-in" a Laundromat?)


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Abandoned Baton Rouge Roadshow

I just got back from a road trip from Philadelphia down through the South, and spotted a lot of abandonment along the way. The real pay dirt was in Jackson, Mississippi, a capital city with a downtown as eerily abandoned as Baton Rouge's. Anyone ever see the early '70s movie The Omega Man, starring Charlton Heston? I recommend it during this fine Halloween season, and driving through empty Jackson was like Heston driving through empty L.A. in that movie.

But first, how about a nice burned-out motel? [Click to enlarge]


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