Tag Archives: back roads travel blog

Saving Nashville’s Historic Buildings – It’s Now or Never!

In a city that is growing so rapidly that cranes dot our skylines, high rise buildings take the place where some of our history once stood. Nashville is fortunate to have a hard working organization taking up the cause for preservation. Established in 1968 and renamed in 1975, Historic Nashville, Inc. (HNI) is a nonprofit organization with the mission of promoting and preserving the historic places that make our city unique. Over the years, HNI has successfully advocated for the preservation of such landmarks as the Ryman Auditorium, Union Station, Hermitage Hotel, 2nd Avenue & Lower Broadway and Shelby Street Bridge, as well as neighborhood historic districts throughout the city. Without their efforts, some of most valuable buildings may have fallen prey to modern development.


Historic Nashville Inc’s Nashville Nine

For the past eleven years, the organization has opened up nominations of the Nashville Nine for people to have their voices heard on the historic landmarks that matter most to them. Upon closing of nominations, HNI compiles the Nashville Nine in order to bring public attention to our endangered places, often with the hopes of saving them.

Through July 15, Historic Nashville, Inc. is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Nashville Nine. If you’re aware of any historic properties endangered by demolition, neglect or development in the city please nominate them. Historic houses and/or neighborhoods, park buildings, civic landmarks, commercial buildings, neighborhood schools, churches and even neon signs are eligible.

Nominate Nashville’s Endangered Buildings Here



Visit Nashville Historic, Inc Online for more on their efforts and some of Nashville’s history. Their website is here. 

Want to follow their efforts all year? Like their Facebook page here and tell them Antique Archaeology sent you!



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Stop & Take a Photo – It’s National Camera Day!

national camera day, two lanes, american vintage, mike wolfe, american picker
Children at the FSA Camelback Farms inspect the photographer’s camera. Phoenix, Arizona, 1942 – Russell Lee

Not many things have changed history in quite the way that the camera has. Walking around with one in our pocket thanks to those handy smart phones, they may be easy to take for granted in 2015. Every year, on June 29th, however, we’re all encouraged to stop and appreciate what it means to be able to “capture” all those moments that until 1839, quickly slipped away.

We have Louis Jacques Daguerre to thank for starting it. He took the first fixed image that didn’t fade all the way back in 1839. We have George Eastman to thank for creating flexible film that could be rolled, leading to the sale of the first Kodak in 1888. In the years that followed, we’ve seen the introduction of the first “affordable” 35mm cameras, and then in the middle of the 20th century, the introduction of what could be one of the most fondly remembered cameras of all… the Polaroid. In 1948, the world’s first instant-picture camera was born with no development needed, and the well-recognized act of impatiently shaking the photo while waiting for it to process began! Who would have ever guessed back then that by the late 1980’s our cameras would be digital and just over 20 years later, every phone we carry would allow us to instantly grab a shot of all the little moments of lives, much less instantly publish them online for the world to see!

It’s national camera day TODAY so take a few moments to give a thought or two to just how far we’ve come… and then take a few photos to share!



Kid Pickers event in LeClaire attracts fans from far and wide

mike wolfe american pickers kid pickers
Easton Lundsteen 8, of Elgin, Ill., plays with a 1930s Pluto toy Saturday in his vendor booth at the Kid Pickers Flea Market in LeClaire. John Schultz – Quad-City Times

June 13, 2015 4:02 pm • Sean Leary newsroom@qctimes.com

LeClaire — Hundreds of little hands darted through an array of toys, antiques and knickknacks as children carefully searched for buried treasures among items decades older than themselves during the Kid Pickers Flea Market held Saturday on the LeClaire Levee.

The area stars of the popular cable TV show “American Pickers” joined the crowds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as vendors 7 to 13 years old from all around the country plied the sales trade, music filled the air and the “Pickers” camera crew filmed for a future episode of the History channel series that features Danielle Colby Cushman, Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe.

Dylan Wilson, 10, trekked 15 hours with his family from Vale, N.C., to lay out his discoveries for perusal.

“I really like the show. I like all the antiques and all the cool stuff they find,” he said. “I was really excited to come up here and meet them and be a part of this. I’ve had some big sales. I feel really good.”

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said fellow vendor Kendall Forrest, 11, whose parents ventured seven hours from Loveland, Ohio, with her. “It’s a really interesting show. They make it a lot of fun. The shows aren’t boring. That’s what really got me into it, and I really like picking and finding new, cool stuff.”

People of all ages came from miles around and sifted through everything from antique bottles, signs, clothes and furniture to carvings, toys, records, cameras and other miscellaneous tchotchkes… READ THE FULL ARTICLE ONLINE AT QUAD-CITY TIMES HERE NOW.

mike wolfe american pickers kid pickers
Dane Schneyer, left, 13, talks wtih his friend Aaron Berta, both of Cedar Rapids, at the Aaron’s Awesome Antiques booth during Saturday’s Kid Pickers Flea Market event in LeClaire. The two said they go “picking” together in Cedar Rapids, much like Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe, the stars of TV’s “American Pickers” series go looking for unusual items around the country. John Schulz Quad-City Times.

The Wall of Death & Its Traveling Troupe of Daredevils

Ah….Coney Island, 1911, a time when the smell of motor oil began to intermingle with the scents of popcorn on the carnival midway. The reason? Moto driven side show attractions, from Monkeys driving cars to men on motorcycles. One of the most thrilling of those side show attractions? The “Wall of Death”.

Wall-of-death-photos-1 from american pickers

What is The “Wall of Death”

The Wall of Death, or motordrome, originated as sloped wooden tracks for bicycle racing. As happens with transportation progress, once motors were introduced, the Wall of Death grew faster, taller and more daring. The concept started in the early 1900s with the first carnival motordrome track at Coney Island in New York. Within a year, portable tracks became a staple at traveling carnivals, carrying the entertainment across the country. By 1915, the silodrome, which had 90 degree vertical walls, was introduced and by the 1930s, there were more than 100 of the tracks criss crossing the US as carnival and amusement park sideshow entertainment. Motorcycle and small car stunt drivers, using centrifugal force, began on the silodrome floor, driving in circles at higher and higher speeds until climbing the walls, offering death defying entertainment to audiences who were watching from above.

wallofdeathriders4 from american pickers

Riders of The Wall of Death

Wall of Death riders may have been adrenaline junkies before the phrase “adrenaline junkie” even existed. “Suicide” Bob Perry’s first career was with the motor squad of the New York Police Department. He must have needed more excitement. Not only did he become the ringleader of what was to become one of the first Wall of Death troupes that many people would ever see, but he was also most well known for “raising the hair of the crowd when he careened around without holding the handle-bar.” Bob Perry was joined on the wall by Fearless Billy Ward, whose specialty was his “dips of death”. As he circled the wall at top speeds, Billy Ward would travel up the wall to just below the safety line and then dip, almost instantly, to just above the floor before shooting up the wall again.


wallofdeathphotos2 from american pickers

wall of death newspaper american pickers

Women Are Daredevils Too

Never be mistaken in thinking that all the Wall of Death daredevils were men. Long before the era of Women’s Liberation, fearless motorcycle riding women had earned their place on the Wall of Death among the men. Women like “Suicide” Bob Perry’s sister, Marion, were just as death defying as he was. Every bit the equal to her male counterparts on the wall, Marion has been described as having “pluck and daring” while appearing to be “charming and kindly”.

Daredevils of the Wall Hit the Road

More than just daredevils, “Suicide” Bob Perry and his band of daring riders were nomads as well. Having toured the US with his death defying motorcycle antics, Perry eventually gathered together his trio for the purpose of touring overseas. For many years, as one more than 20 amusements in the Coney Island traveling amusement park, Bob and Marion Perry, joined be Fearless Billy Ward, toured England, France, Germany, and eventually South Africa. Pioneers of their attraction, their time in South Africa was met with rave reviews as they brought the Wall of Death to many towns that had never seen anything like it before.

The Wall of Death in the Modern Era

In the modern era, there are very few motordromes and motordrome stuntmen that remain active. Those that do, such the American Motor Drome Company, use early Indian Scout motorcycles to offer audiences a glimpse into how many of the shows appeared in their original glory days.

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It’s National Bomb Pop Day!

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Charlie Wolfe & friend Fiona, who is rocking a Kid Picker tee! Photo: Meghan Aileen

For most adults, eating a bomb pop on a hot summer day takes them for a stroll down memory lane. Every time I eat one, I am reminded of the little league baseball park where I grew up watching my big brother play ball. I can almost hear the crack of the bat and smell the red dirt of the base lines.

The bomb pop, born in 1955, is a patriotic pop from a patriotic time in American history. The original bomb pop, invented by James S. Merritt and D.S. Abernethy in Kansas City, Missouri on July 30, 1955 was red, white and blue with cherry, lime and blue raspberry flavorings. Today, it’s a treat that has a special place on Summer afternoons, especially when we have the chance to introduce kids to their very first one. Inevitably, when handing a child their first bomb pop, we find ourselves saying, “You know. I used to eat these when I was your age…”

Share the bomb pop love with some kids today, and while you’re at it, tell them about what life was like back when you used to eat them, because it’s National Bomb Pop Day!

Charlie Wolfe & Friends sharing the love of the patriotic pop!
Charlie Wolfe & Friends sharing the love of the patriotic pop! Photo: Meghan Aileen

A Beautiful Day of Kid Pickers Buying & Selling in LeClaire

Kid Pickers Flea Market With the American Pickers

It was a beautiful day on the Mississippi River in historic LeClaire, Iowa. The morning started foggy, but the rain stayed at bay, bringing a warm & sunny afternoon. Our Antique Archaeology Kid Picker Flea Market vendors couldn’t have done a better job. Armed with knowledge of their finds and ready to wheel and deal, our Kid Pickers were ready to show off their picks and make a buck like old pros. They may have even taught the American Pickers a thing or two!

kids flea market antiques

Knowledgeable about more than just the picks they brought to sell, these Kid Pickers were well versed in booth set up and marketing too. From their own business names, to signage, to displaying their items for best exposure to passersby, these vendors really knew what they were doing.

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flea market for kids mike wolfe

Having been gifted with some of our soon to be released Antique Archaeology apparel just for Kid Pickers, our vendors were dressed for success! They make Antique Archaeology look good with their knack for styling our tees!


From cans & bottles to hats, toys & typewriters, there was a little something for every shopper. These Kid Pickers seem to be following one Mike Wolfe’s first rules of picking – Pick what you LOVE! It was apparent by their the smiles while showing off their goods to shoppers, passersby and even to the American Pickers themselves!

vintage cans flea market

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mike wolfe kid pickers 2

Knowing that all work and no play makes kid pickers dull girls and boys, there was plenty of fun to be had for our hard working young vendors. Danielle Colby, American Picker, took a few spins around the courtyard while dancing to Driftless Sisters, and American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz joined Danielle in visiting all the booths to pick a thing or two. The kids were able to complete their day on the levee in historic LeClaire by spending some time on the Mississippi River thanks to Riverboat Twilight who generously took our kid pickers aboard for a tour on the river. All in all, Antique Archaeology’s Kid Picker Flea Market was a huge success! As Mike says, “You can’t live forever, but you can make something that will.” We hope to keep generations of Pickers for years to come – start ’em young!

danielle colby antique archaeology

driftless sisters

leclaire iowa


The History of Father’s Day – The Holiday That Almost Wasn’t

Having been a recognized day of celebration for just over 100 years in the United States, Father’s Day is a relatively new tradition. Inspired by Mother’s Day, Father’s Day began in the early 20th century, but, believe it or not, was not embraced with nearly as much enthusiasm in those early years.

history of fathers day vintage ad
1940s USA Father’s Day Cards Magazine Plate Picture: Courtesy of The Advertising Archives

Where Did Father’s Day Begin?

There are varying opinions of where and when the very first Father’s Day Celebration took place in the US. It is, however, largely accepted that we can credit Ms. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd for its eventual widespread success. Her inspiration was her own father, a Civil War Veteran who, having lost his wife during the birth of their sixth child, became a single parent responsible for a newborn and five other children. Having been raised by this dedicated and loving father, at 27, Sonora Louise Smart Dodd took up the cause of campaigning for a celebration of fatherhood that was equal to that of Mother’s Day. She first suggested the holiday in Spokane, WA in 1909 and then led that city’s first Father’s Day celebration at the YMCA of Spokane in June 1910. It wasn’t until 1930’s however, the holiday began have some traction at the national level.

What Makes Father’s Day the Holiday that Almost Wasn’t?

In the 1930’s, as Sonora Louise Smart Dodd was seeking to raise awareness for Father’s Day at the national level, she did so with the support of trade groups that would benefit commercially from the holiday – the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes and any other traditional presents for fathers. Many men viewed the holiday as unnecessary and commercial in the early years. One historian has been quoted as saying that men “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.” The holiday held on, though, probably less because of the efforts of merchants and advertisers and more because of the love of joy seen in a child’s eyes when they pick out just the right tie for the male hero in their life. It took some time, but in 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon finally signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday.

vintage fathers day artwork
1950s USA Daughters Hugging Father Magazine Plate Picture: Courtesy of The Advertising Archives

Hatch Show Print – Documenting History in Advertising Art

antique archaeology, mike wolfe, american pickers, hatch show print, letterpress, advertising art

Not all things are digital these days. Just ask Hatch Show Print, the historic Nashville letterpress shop that has been inspiring concert goers, consumers and fellow graphic designers for three generations. More than just your run of the mill print shop, they have impacted an entire segment of advertising design with their unique, vintage aesthetic that hasn’t changed in more than a century. Why mess with perfection?

hatch show print mike wolfe american pickers

What is Letterpress

Letterpress, which began the 1400’s, is a printing process using metal letters and hand carved blocks which are inked and pressed against paper. It was the first process of printing that allowed mass communications. While largely abandoned and replaced in the mid-20th century with offset printing, and even more recently with digital printing, some print shops, like Hatch Show Print, have continued the process. More modern printing tools may have made mass-production more efficient and cost effective, but they do not reflect the same color and texture of old school letterpress printing.

hatch show print nashville antique archaeology posters

Who is Hatch Show Print

A family business, Hatch Show Print, naturally, is the brain child of the Hatch family. William H. Hatch ran a print shop in Wisconsin and his sons Charles and Herbert, both born in the 1850’s, grew up with the art of letterpress. The family moved to Nashville, TN in 1875 and a few years later, CR and HH Hatch print shop was born. Their very first print job was a handbill announcing the appearance of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. Beecher was an American Congregationalist clergyman, social activist and speaker, known for his outspoken belief in the abolition of slavery. From that first handbill, the color, simplicity, and style of Hatch letterpress was an instant success and the shop quickly became the go to for area entertainment and business advertising, documenting the history and culture of the South along the way. Hatch has created posters for some of the most iconic musicians and artists of all time, including Elvis, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, & Dolly Parton. The business flourished throughout the twentieth century, and despite several eventual ownership changes, still operates in Nashville today.

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Hatch Show Print for Antique Archaeology

Thanks to our own partnership with historic Hatch Show Print, Antique Archaeology brings you a chance to own a little piece of this advertising history. Created with the exact same letterpress printing process of the 1800’s shop, each poster will have its own unique imperfections that make it a truly one of a kind piece of advertising art.

Order you own Hatch Show Print Posters at Antique Archaeology HERE.

hatch show prints mike wolfe american pickers

Read more about historic Hatch Show Print and plan a trip to their studio if you’re visiting Nashville. Their website is here. 

Order you own Hatch Show Print Posters at Antique Archaeology HERE.