Archive for the ‘modernism’ Category

Fayetteville, home to Fort Bragg and several other military installations, feels like a foreign country compared to Chapel Hill.    While small parts of it date to the 1700’s, most of it is miles of tract housing.   It sort of feels like a smaller version of Norfolk / Virginia Beach, or Jacksonville Florida, minus the beach and otherwise picturesque landscapes.   It is just houses and shopping centers.   But there is some modernism, if you bike around there enough.


First, liberals apparently do exist there, in small numbers

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And there are plenty of interesting buildings to look at

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Richmond VA Modernism September 7, 2013

Posted: September 10, 2013 in modernism

Today, Richmond seems quite the happening place.    Because of its universities, and ample stock of old industrial buildings, the place has an urban feel that sometimes feels positively hip.   Sadly, that was probably not the case in about 1962, when modernism was the rage elsewhere.    Richmond’s staid past is probably why there are not a lot of modernist buildings.   Still,  on a recent bike ride I did find a few:

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I know I need to get a life, but I swear I have been staring at this 1950’s building for at least thirty years.   I took this photo last weekend while driving at sixty-five miles an hour.   This highway (I-95) has not been called by this name for also about thirty years.

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A little off-topic:   I got a good shot by bike of these guys on a Saturday afternoon, standing around the Confederate Memorial Chapel in the uptown Richmond Fan district.   I wonder if they are locals, or from out of town.

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I have cycled to and from Danville many times.    In terms of driving time, it is the closest place to Carrboro that really feels like you are not in Kansas anymore.   In its own mind, its biggest claim to fame is that it was, for forty-eight hours, the last capital of the Confederacy.    It is a textile and tobacco town whose textile mills have almost all closed.    If it could get its act in gear it might actually end up a pretty cool place.

This Sunday afternoon I cycled from Yanceyville NC (about 45 miles from Carrboro) about twenty miles each way to Danville.  It is a glorious ride through Piedmont farms and woods.

Danville is blessed with an abundance of historic architecture, including blocks and blocks of old tobacco warehouses, most of which are not fully used.

old tobacco warehouses, Danville

This blog is really about the Downtowner Motor Inn.   This motel  must have seemed like a good idea at the time.  In 1966, people wanted to stay in motels, not hotels.  So why not build a high rise motel downtown?   It was a very small national chain.  They were in places like Sumter SC, Springfield IL, and Rochester NY.    And Danville VA.  They are all pretty much gone; you can follow them on the web.  (I am not the only nut out there on this issue!)

I had even written a letter to the local paper,  The Danville Bee imploring their community to save this building.   One guy on Facebook agreed with me, although he lives in Dallas, Texas, of all places.   Another  guy on the web referred to its “Bauhaus-like qualities.”   It appears pretty much everybody in Danville hates this building.   It was in the process of being demolished while I was there.     R.I.P.

Downtowner Motor Inn, June 2012

For more pictures by even more intense advocates, see

Modernism on the bayou

Posted: February 8, 2012 in modernism

I couldn’t resist to add this; I love these buildings.  These were all in Thibodaux, LA

Elementary school, Thibodaux

Car dealership, Thibodaux

bank branch, rear side, Thibodaux LA