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Randy Treadway

World's Fair architecture where you'd least expect it

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This is a huge restaurant built over the Will Rogers Turnpike halfway between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Joplin, Missouri, according to the experts "in the middle of nowhere", where there is really no reason for a huge luxury restaurant.

Although the original restaurant went out of the business, it's been taken over by McDonald's and you can eat in the world's largest McDonald's restaurant while looking at cars and trucks whizzing underneath you.

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Nice find Wayne! I guess they turned it into the world's biggest golden arches.

Here's a lollipop tree inside the original restaurant.

2913326330_c4a0d12211_o.jpg

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First time I was through there was probably 1968 (?), and a number of times since. Does that jibe with the opening date?

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It opened in 1957. Sometime between being a Glass House and being a McDonald's, it also served for a time as a Howard Johnson's restaurant.

The restaurant is fully accessible from either side of the interstate via "rest stop" offramps and returns.

By the way, on one side the original design featured huge louvers which could be closed to block the bright sun.

The photo that started this topic was the side without any louvers.

Here's the other side

louvers open

vinita-int2.jpg

louvers closed

vinita2.jpg

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As for the billing as world's largest McDonald's, there is some debate on that.

Here are the contenders-

this one in Oklahoma- originally the Glass House- 29,135 sq. ft, seats about 300

Orlando, Florida- 15,000 sq. ft, seats 300

Chicago, Illinois, 24,000 sq. ft, seats 300

Moscow, Russia- 28,000+ sq. ft, seats 700

Beijing, China- 28,000+ sq. ft, seats 700. McDonald's claims this is their largest restaurant.

You be the judge. It would appear that Oklahoma's Glass House McDonald's is the biggest in terms of square footage, but not in seating.

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For those who don't know - the Illinois Tollway system has used a similar over-highway construction for its rest-stop "Oases" (Oasis's?) from the start (although not with arches). The restaurants were pretty good at first, but declined over the years, and later the franchises were awarded to fast-food companies. The Oases have recently been rebuilt on a larger scale and different varieties of franchise restaurants have been getting the contracts.

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Ate there many times as a Tulsa kid en route to various relatives houses-- before and after it became a Mickey D's. Even had a romantic interlude of sorts with an old girlfriend there once-- but that's another story altogether! B) Anyway, suffice it to say I've always loved that place.

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The NJ Turnpike system also had these overpass facilities, and Howard Johnson was the franchisee, IIRC.

They're a fantastic solution for urban toll highways, where available land is scarce.

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Once again, that would be too logical, Mike! Why not build two entire complexes when you could have built one for 60% of the cost?

There's a hotel over the Mass Pike in Newton, MA.

"The Sheraton Newton Hotel is uniquely situated over the Massachusetts Turnpike and only four miles from downtown Boston and 12 minutes from Boston's Logan International Airport via the recently opened Ted Williams Tunnel"

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The NJ Turnpike system also had these overpass facilities, and Howard Johnson was the franchisee, IIRC.

They're a fantastic solution for urban toll highways, where available land is scarce.

I don't recall ever seeing anything like that on the NJ Tpk. Perhaps they've been built since I was away.

I remember the original (I think) Howard Johnsons - 29 flavors - or was it 26? - ice cream parlor - on Fordham Road by the northeast corner of the Bronx Zoo, across the road from an entrance that is no longer in use.

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How far south did you go, Larry? We got on just above Philadelphia, from a spur off the PA TPK.

Heck, it might have been the Garden State Pkwy or something, but I swear it's there.

Shoot, now I'll have to google earth all of NJ to find it.....

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I love this kind of architecture. Add to that the fact that it's in the "Roadside America" genre too and you have a real winner. If I was traveling along the highway and saw this retro-futuristic place looming ahead I'd definitely stop for a value meal. While i might seem unfortunate that it has lost it's original identity and joined the ranks of thousands upon thousands of McD's around the world, at least its STILL THERE! And I can't think of a better example of the McDonalds Corporation using a pre-existing structure to showcase a Golden Arch! It even sort of looks like the retro buildings that McDonalds is currently building.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/447698919/

Ate there many times as a Tulsa kid en route to various relatives houses-- before and after it became a Mickey D's. Even had a romantic interlude of sorts with an old girlfriend there once-- but that's another story altogether! B) Anyway, suffice it to say I've always loved that place.

Hey Trey, nice to know that this place holds some special memories for you. Now, couldn't you just see this place straddling the main entrance of the Virtual Fair? It's almost like a 21st century take on the General Foods arches!

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I remember eating at something like this when I was around 3. There's a picture of my sitting in a piece of concrete "art" that sat near the restaurant. It was a big cloverleaf and I'm sitting in one of the loops.

Don't remember where it was.

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I dont know if this falls into the "where you least expect it" catagory, but I found this building when researching my trip to Honolulu in May.

Its the Neil Blaisdell Arena in downtown Honolulu. Built in 1964. Home to the Aloha from Hawaii concerts by Elvis in the early 70s.

It even has a matching ticket office.

Neil S Blaisdell Arena

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Anyone know where this unusually shaped bank is/was?

city-federal-savings.jpg

This was taken May 2, 1965 somewhere in the NYC area.

Imagine trying to buy furniture for this place?

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Imagine trusting the bank enough to actually deposit one's hard earned money in an account in this place? It should be Fantasyland National Bank.

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