Sand Dollar Restaurant – St. Petersburg, Florida

Cardboard America

FL, St. Petersburg - Sand Dollar Restaurant

Located at 2401 34th St., South in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Sand Dollar Restaurant featured dining, dancing, a rotating Merry-Go-Round lounge and a dining room in a garden setting called The Garden Room that seated 250 people.

The Sand Dollar opened on April 2, 1962. Restaurateur John Dahlberg envisioned a  restaurant that would emphasize moderately-priced family dinner in a modern setting.

Tampa Bay Times, 04 Apr 1962, Wed, Main Edition, Page 48

Tampa Bay Times – April 4, 1962

The round building, meant to resemble a sand dollar, featured numerous big windows that brought a natural light to the restaurant. Wood paneling, then a very a modern addition, lined the walls.

Tampa Bay Times, 24 Jun 1962, Sun, Main Edition, Page 51

Tampa Bay Times – June 24, 1962

A mural depicting an Asian scene by artist Joseph Lefer adorned the round-wall revolving cocktail bar. Piano music from local musician Wanda Poteat filled the restaurant nightly (except on Sundays).

FL, St. Petersburg - Sand Dollar Restaurant 5

The restaurant was a big success. There were three different menus for patrons to enjoy. The luncheon menu was served from 11:30am-3:00pm; dinner menu from 3:00-9:30pm; the night owl menu from 9:30am-2:00pm. On Mondays a 20% discount was offered on drinks in the lounge.

Tampa Bay Times, 20 May 1964, Wed, Main Edition, Page 49

Tampa Bay Times – May 20, 1964

The Sand Dollar was voted the 1962 Restaurant of the Year for St. Petersburg and also received the Coffee Brewing Institute’s “Golden Cup” award. The restaurant hosted hundreds of groups and civic events. In 1964, a 220-pound cake in the shape of the building was made for the two-year anniversary of the opening of the restaurant.

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Business boomed throughout the 1960s.  The Garden Room was expanded to seat 300. A nautically-inspired dining room called The Galleon Room was added and served an expanded seafood menu.

Tampa Bay Times, 17 Dec 1967, Sun, Main Edition, Page 157

Tampa Bay Times = December 17, 1967

Upholstered dark green banquettes (booths) were added in 1967 for group seating in a more intimate atmosphere.

Tampa Bay Times, 01 Apr 1972, Sat, Main Edition, Page 9

Tampa Bay Times – April 1, 1972

In April 1972, the restaurant celebrated their 10th anniversary the very same way they celebrated their second, with a gigantic birthday cake in the shape of the building. John Dahlberg was ecstatic with the restaurant’s success, but plans would soon be in the works to expand his empire.

Tampa Bay Times, 02 Jul 1973, Mon, Main Edition, Page 34

Tampa Bay Times – July 2, 1973

A second Sand Dollar location was announced in July 1973. This location would be in Jupiter, Florida and would employ more than 100 people in a 14,000 square foot, 400-seat building. The East Coast Sand Dollar opened in January of 1974 on U.S. #1 and Indiantown Road. A $30,000 expansion was announced for the St. Petersburg location. A dance floor, larger bandstands and expanded seating in the Merry-Go-Round Lounge were added. Construction was completed in December, 1975. The addition, of course, was in the shape of a circle. Everything was looking up. Then tragedy struck.

Tampa Bay Times, 19 Jun 1977, Sun, Main Edition, Page 41

Tampa Bay Times – June 19, 1977

On June 18, 1977, 48-year-old John V. Dahlberg, Jr., founder and creator of The Sand Dollar restaurants died after battling an undisclosed illness. Shortly thereafter, Affiliated Property Management Inc. of Tampa took over operations of both restaurants without missing much of a beat. Throughout the remainder of the 1970s and in to the early 1980s, both locations survived an economic downtown and changing tastes with moderately-priced food and dazzling entertainment. But Affiliated Property management was looking to get out. The majority stake in the restaurants were sold in 1982 to Tim Christopolous, a local businessman.

Christopolous was in over his head from the beginning. The Jupiter located was closed almost immediately and was replaced by a restaurant called Cahoots. The St. Petersburg location became a major problem. In May 1985, the IRS placed a $90,143 tax lien on Christopolous for failure to pay taxes from 1982-1984. The restaurant was closed immediately. Florida state senator Mary Grizzle, who had owned a least of part of the restaurant since it originally opened, ended up with control of the building. She could not find a buyer in the now not-as-pleasant part of town and the restaurant and the building sat empty for years. However, she did not pay property taxes on the abandoned building and, in 1992, it was determined she owed $11,724 in past taxes. Grizzle disputed the debts and had the building re-appraised. It appears that she did not settle things entirely.

Tampa Bay Times, 28 Apr 1995, Fri, Other Editions, Page 49

Tampa Bay Times – April 28, 1995

A lien was placed on the property for failure to pay taxes and the City of St. Petersburg took over the rapidly deteriorating building on May 8, 1995. The city didn’t own it for long.

Tampa Bay Times, 27 Dec 1995, Wed, Main Edition, Page 61

Tampa Bay Times – December 27, 1995

The day after Christmas, 1995 an early morning fire completely destroyed the building. The flames were so intense that it took 13 vehicles from five different fire station to control the blaze. The fire was believed to have been started by an arsonist as there was no electricity in the abandoned structure. No one was ever charged with starting the fire.The now burned building sat idle for more than a year until it was raised on March 23, 1997 to make room for a senior-living facility.However, that project fell though after the church that planned on building the care center did not met construction deadlines after the city provided a $300,000 loan to the church. The whole thing was a mess. Nothing ever got built on the property and an empty lot is all that remains. It’s an ignominious end to a once thriving staple of St. Petersburg social and night life.

Tampa Bay Times, 25 Nov 1963, Mon, Main Edition, Page 46

The advertisement that ran in the Tampa Bay Times on November 25, 1963, the day of John F. Kennedy’s funeral

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, Webster, Massachusetts

Cardboard America

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (aka Lake Chaubunagungamaug) is a lake near Webster, Massachusetts.

The meaning of Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg is attributed to the Nipmuc tribe. “Fishing Place at the Boundaries—Neutral Meeting Grounds” is the most common translation However local legend had it a different way:

According to this article in a 2014 New York Times article:

There is more consensus on the meaning of Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, but it turns out the consensus is wrong. In the 1920’s, a reporter for The Webster Times, Lawrence J. Daly, wrote that it was a Nipmuck Indian word meaning “You fish on your side, I fish on my side and nobody fishes in the middle.” That stuck even though Mr. Daly confessed repeatedly that he had made the whole thing up.

The lake consists of three smaller ponds: North Pond, Middle Pond and Small Pond.

These three postcards, from the 50s and 60s show the lake and the  ridiculousness of putting a name like Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg on a sign.

Sign, Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagunga maugg, Webster, Mass.MA, Webster 2MA, Webster

Dear Little Florence

Cardboard America, Cardboard Greetings

holiday-a-happy-new-year-1

Mailed from Columbus, Nebraska to Calmar, Iowa on December 31, 1907:

Dear Little Florence,
I wish you a very Happy New Year. I like Columbus real well. I have two rack chickens. I hope to have more some day. Santa Claus was very good to Paul and me. We have no snow and the dust is terrible, I am in the 4th grade I like my teacher her name is Mrs. Watts – from Paul & Lester

holiday-a-happy-new-year-2

I Am Not Eating Onions

Cardboard America, Cardboard Greetings

holiday-i-wish-you-a-year-filled-with-gladness

Mailed from Spring Green, Wisconsin to Mrs. Christ Hutter of Plain, Wisconsin on December 29, 1910:

I wish you a Happy New Year got your card but I am not eating onions. I am working at Otto Franks for all winter and I think I will help you clean house in the Spring. From Margareth
Spring Green

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Moock’s Tavern – St. Petersburg, Florida

Cardboard America

Moock’s Tavern, opened in 1946 by Erven and Gertrude Moock, was once THE place for locals and major league baseball players in town for Spring Training, to eat and be seen.

Located at 709 16th St. N in St. Petersburg, Florida, Moock’s offered cocktails, seafood and chicken platters and Swift’s Tender Age steaks cut to order.

Tampa Bay Times, 25 Nov 1956, Sun, Main Edition, Page 58

Tampa Bay Times – November 25, 1956

The tavern started as a small restaurant serving about 75 people at a time, but eventually grew to have four dining rooms and a capacity of 235. The larger capacity allowed Moock’s to become a very popular place to hold wedding receptions, civic meetings and club outings.

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Postcard from the Cardboard America Collection

The Moock’s would operate the business with their son and daughter managing and eventually taking over the business. But, as 1970 dawned, Erven and Gertrude wanted to retire. In April 1970 they sold the restaurant and land they owned around the restaurant to Merlin Downs and his 31 year-old Joseph Alban. Even after the sale Erven Moock, Jr. would stay on and manage the restaurant. The sale would become official in June.

Tampa Bay Times, 30 Jun 1970, Tue, Main Edition, Page 27

Tampa Bay Times – June 30, 1970

Things were still looking good for Moock’s for a little while but the end was on the horizon. A fire broke out in September of 1973, causing some serious damage. The fire, caused by an electrical short, destroyed two of the four dining rooms and the first floor suffered water and smoke damage.

Tampa Bay Times,  15 Sep 1973, Sat,  Main Edition,  Page 15.jpg

Tampa Bay Times – September 15, 1973

In 1975 Moock’s suffered another fire, this time in the kitchen injuring two and causing more damage. The loss of revenue, personal problems and the $52,000 cost of the rebuild would ultimately cripple ownership. In September 1977 Moock’s Tavern was seized and closed permanently by the IRS. Merlin Downs and Joe Alban had failed to pay $24,462.89 in back taxes.

Tampa Bay Times,  15 Sep 1977, Thu,  Other Editions,  Page 5.jpg

Tampa Bay Times – September 15, 1977

The property was put up for auction. Only one person bid on the venerable old restaurant. Louis P. Druehl of purchased the property for $33,000. Druehl would re-open the restaurant as a high-end restaurant called the Executive Club. The restaurant would not last very long and the property sat idle for many years. New owners told local newspapers in 1988 that that had a plan to restore Moock’s to its former glory but nothing ever came to fruition.

In 1990, St. Petersburg City Council ordered the empty building demolished, but the owners at the time convinced the council that they had plans and the building was spared. Those pans never materialized and the building was razed in 2003 to make way for a medical facility.

Motel Samantha – Oxford, Alabama

Cardboard America, Cardboard Motels

You’ll enjoy your visit to the new Motel Samantha!

Motel Samantha

Opened by Elbert Holmes on the newly opened (as of 1950) Highway 78 By-Pass,  the 30-unit motel boasted air-conditioning, central heat, colored tile baths and plenty of parking.

1954-11-04 - The Anniston Star, 04 Nov 1954, Thu, Page 23

The Anniston Star – November 4, 1954

An open house on December 9-11, 1954 welcomed the community to the new, modern motel

1954-12-08 - The Anniston Star, 08 Dec 1954, Wed, Page 12

The Anniston Star – December 8, 1954

The Motel Samantha was one of two properties owned by Elbert Holmes. The Blue Top Motor Court in Marietta, Georgia had opened in the late 1940s and was a successful motel.

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Holmes relocated to Alabama and chose Highway 78 in Oxford as a prime location for his new motel. The highway was a fairly sleepy country road until General Electric Opened a plant in 1952 and the opening of the Motel Samantha signaled a commercial movement to the once sleepy area. A Howard Johnson’s restaurant opened just down the road a short time after the motel. Bucks Coffee Shop on the west end of 78. became a local hangout. A truck stop known as Rainbow Inn, was a popular restaurant. However, it was the beautiful neon sign featuring a light-up American Indian in a headdress that become the most recognizable business on the Highway.

1955-04-13 - The Anniston Star, 13 Apr 1955, Wed, Page 20

The Anniston Star – April 13, 1955

Popular with local visitors, the motel become the go-to spot throughout the 1950s. In the early 1960s, Interstate 20 was built nearly parallel to the highway and, a short time after that a brand new Holiday Inn opened at the intersection of 78 and 21. Oxford had officially arrived.

Holiday Inn

The Holiday Inn signaled a new era for the town, but hurt the Motel Samantha. Elbert Holmes died in 1964, and his son took over the property.  After Elbert’s death, it was decided that The Blue Top Motor Court became too much of a burden and the property was put up for auction.

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The Anniston Star – November 15, 1964

Information about the motel becomes difficult to find after 1965. I can find local ads for the motel until 1973. I am not totally sure where the motel was exactly located, as it appears the property was torn down.

 

 

 

 

Storybook Land – Lake Delton, Wisconsin

Cardboard America

Not every fairy tale has a happy ending. In 2011, after more than five decades of seasonal operation, Storybook Land in the Wisconsin Dells closed its doors for good.

Storybook2

The ten acre park was located between Dells Army Ducks and the legendary water park known as Noah’s Ark near Lake Delton. The grounds were filled with concrete statues and colorful sights filled with classic stories ranging from The Three Little Bears to Cinderella to Jack-Be-Nimble and nearly two dozen more fairy tales. During its busiest  period there were costumed characters wandering the well-manicured, floral-laden grounds. Four ponds were located in the park, each named after one of FLath’s daughters. The whole park served as a peaceful escape from the thrill-a-minute, tourist crazy environment.

Storybook3

Storybook Gardens was first conceived in 1956 by Dells Duck operator Melvin Flath as a roadside attraction for kids and the whole family. Flath was considered slightly crazy by locals because Storybook Gardens was away from downtown and the other Dells attractions like the Tommy Bartlett Show and Wisconsin Deer Park. However, Flath’s location was perfect. Away from the other sights, the Gardens stood alone and captured travelers either as they entered or exited the Dells.

Storybook6

Thousands upon thousands of families visited the park over the years. For a few years in the late 1950s/early 1960s it was the main attraction in the area. However,  the park never really made much money. Flath would only operate the park for a few years before turning it over to another group which included Tom Egan who ran the park for over 30 years until selling it in 1989.

Storybook8

By the 1990s the park was seen as a relic of a different. Lost in the sea of flashier theme parks and more modern attractions, the park struggled to remain open. Ownership would change hands several more times with each owner selling for a lesser price. In 2010 the park closed for the season and never re-opened for the 2011. The decision to close was based on dwindling attendance and the fact that the land proved more valuable than the attraction.

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The statuary was sold off one-by-one and the welcome center, in the shape of a boat, was sold to be used as a firefighter training facility.

Storybook5

Red Apple Restaurant – Walla Walla, Washington

Cardboard America

For more than five decades, the Red Apple Restaurant served patrons at all hours in downtown Walla Walla, Washington. After years of semi-neglect and mismanagement, the Red Apple closed in late 1999.

In 1948 the a new restaurant was opened at #57 (E. Main St. in downtown Walla Walla). The cafe and fountain, dubbed the Red Apple w under the direct management of popular restaurant Aber Mathison; Baker and Partner Gabe Gross and Fountain Manager and Partner Sam Raguso. The Red Apple was advertised as “Walla Walla’s Ultra Modern Cafe, Catering to People Who Care. Open 7 A.M. to 1 A.M.”

Red Apple opens, 1948

1948 – Photo courtesy of Bygone Walla Walla

 

The restaurant thrived throughout the 1950s, but times were changing and renovations were needed. The fountain was no longer in vogue and something contemporary was needed. The idea was to add wood paneling and a fake apple tree to provide a modern, outdoor atmosphere on Main Street. This postcard, published in 1968, highlights the tree and a modern girl with a late 1960s haircut and fashion to match.

Red Apple

Come and Join Me At
THE RED APPLE
Under the same careful management for twenty years, this fine restaurant, featuring 24-hour service and a conference room, is located at 57 E. Main in downtown Walla Walla where the first business establishment in the city once stood. A real apple tree grew approximately where this lovely artificial tree now stands.

The Red Apple changed ownership numerous times and would struggle to remain open throughout the 90s. According to WW2020, “On January 17, 1991 the Tuckers sold the property to Greg and Gwen Baden for $165,000. On January 28th the Badens were granted a gambling license. In 1996 and 1999 there was city action for failure to pay gambling taxes. During these years the property on the corner was occupied by computer networking, telephone paging,mortgage and advertising businesses. On October 1, 1999 the property was sold by the Badens to Thomas and Amy Glase and Mark T. and Paulette R. Perry for $400,000.”

I ate at the Red Apple numerous times right before they closed. It will also have a soft spot in my heart.

Red Apple restaurant razed, 1999

The Red Apple right after its closure, ca. late 1999/early 2000. Courtesy of Bygone Walla Walla.

BONUS:

A little more info on the building and the history of the Red Apple from WW2020:

Beauty Art was at #59 and the Electric Supply remained at #61 until 1953. The S.E. Washington Fair Association and the Walla Walla Feed Directors Association shared space with the restaurant. In 1954 Herb Himes Hub electrical appliances (and Henry Gies vacuum cleaners) occupied #61. In 1956 DeBunce Studio (photography) occupied #59. These occupants all continued until 1962 when #59 became vacant. On March 21, 1961 Harry Winget sold this property (135.83 feet x 86.78 feet) to Herb Himes for $107,250. In 1968 Himes transferred his interest in the area behind the store to the City of Walla Walla in exchange for the city covering Mill Creek to create a parking lot.

On November 30, 1975 Herb Himes sold his property to Whitman College for $95,888.33. The Hub continued to operated under the ownership of Phil and Sharon Van Houte and Bev and Charles Balmer. Whitman College assigned their contract to Samuel Lewis Raguso for $117,770. Sam Raguso’s estate transferred title on August 26. 1980 to Alan, Rodney and Sam Raguso who sold the property to Ronnie and Terry Tucker on November 16, 1982 for $150,000. China and Things started operations as a gift shop on the balcony at The Hub in 1981. Robert Hanson was the manager of the Red Apple Restaurant and Lounge in 1983. On January 17, 1991 the Tuckers sold the property to Greg and Gwen Baden for $165,000. On January 28th the Badens were granted a gambling license. In 1996 and 1999 there was city action for failure to pay gambling taxes.

 

The Smallest Bar in The World

Cardboard America

Trees

“End of the Trail”, smallest cocktail lounge in the world; just a stool and a half. At Trees Motel, adjoining the famous Blue Ox Cafe, opposite Trees of Mystery – 4 miles No. of Klamath, Calif., on the beautiful Redwood Highway.

The self-professed “Smallest Bar in the World” was located slightly north of Klamath, California across from the Trees of Mystery.

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Near the entrance to Tress of Mystery with Paul and Babe the Blue Ox.

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A small little room attached to the Trees Motel, the bar was called the End of the Trail Cocktail Lounge and featured 1 1/2 barrel stools, a redwood-topped bar, longhorns, a nude painting and enough stale smoke for a lifetime.

The motel is still standing and appears to be in pretty good shape. However, I can find no mention of the world’s smallest bar.

Sea Breeze Pet Cemetery – Huntington Beach, California

Cardboard America

This is one of the more unusual postcards I’ve seen. I can guarantee you that it’s the lone pet cemetery card in my collection. I am guessing the date from the late 1960s and the cemetery is still there. There is an apartment complex now there that overlooks the grounds.

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19542 Beach Blvd. (Highway 39)
Huntington Beach, Calif. 92646
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