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Inquiry Question

Historical Context





Table of

About This Lesson

This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration files, "Benewah Milk Bottle," "Big Duck," "Dinosaur Park," "Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox," "Shell Service Station," "Teapot Dome Service Station," and "Wigwam Village No. 2" (with photographs). It was written by Fay Metcalf, an education consultant. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.

Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: The lesson could be used in units on popular culture or the rise of American motor tourism.
Time period: 1920s and 1930s
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12

Objectives for students
1) To explain the impact the automobile had on business as merchants and city leaders strove to gain financially from increased automobile traffic during the 1920s and 1930s.
2) To define and explain the motivation for literalism in advertising, place-product-packaging, and boosterism, and to compare current examples with those of the 1920s and 1930s.
3) To identify local structures that reflect "novelty" architecture.
4) To list the changes that auto culture brought to their own community.

Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-resolution version.
1) one map showing the locations of seven examples of roadside attractions;
2) three readings describing the origins of these roadside attractions;
3) eight photographs of the attractions.

Visiting the site
Benewah Milk Bottle: South 321 Cedar, Spokane, Washington.

Big Duck: Route 24, Flanders, Suffolk County, New York.

Dinosaur Park: Skyline Drive, west of downtown Rapid City, South Dakota. The site is maintained as a city park.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox: 3rd Street and Bemidji Avenue, Bemidji, Minnesota.

Shell Service Station: Sprague and Peachtree Streets, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Teapot Dome Service Station: Old State Highway 12, southeast of Zillah, Washington.

Wigwam Village No. 2: Highway 31W, 1.6 miles northeast of Highway 70, Cave City, Kentucky. The buildings continue to operate as a motel.




Comments or Questions

National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.