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11 Wackiest Roadside Attractions in America

Before the advent of corporate communications and architectural uniformity, America's built environment was a free-form landscape of individual expression. Signs, artifacts, and even buildings ranged from playful to eccentric, from deliciously cartoonish to psychedelic. Photographer John Margolies spent over three decades and drove more than 100,000 miles documenting these fascinating and endearingly artisanal examples of roadside advertising and fantasy structures, a fast-fading aspect of Americana.

His book Roadside America brings together approximately 400 color photographs of Main Street signs, movie theaters, gas stations, fast food restaurants, motels, roadside attractions, miniature golf courses, dinosaurs, giant figures and animals, and fantasy coastal resorts. Magazine LIFE.com picks up 11 most wacky attractions from among it.

The Wounded Armadillo Club, Richmond, Texas, 1983

1 

Gatorland Zoo, Kissimmee, Florida, 1980

2

Ace Travel Service, Del Rio, Texas, 1982

3

Old Jail Billboard, Saint Augustine, Florida, 1979

4

Horseless Carriage Museum, Rockerville, South Dakota, 1980

5

Big John, El Dorado, Illinois, 1993

6

Rawhide City Billboard, Mandan, North Dakota, 1980

7

Big Daddy's Pawn Shop, Texarkana, Texas, 1993

8

Flinstone's Bedrock City, Valle, Arizona, 1987

9

The Donut Hole, La Puente, California, 1991

10

Big Fish Supper Club, Bena, Minnesota, 1980

11

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