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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Transportation in America before 1876 Community Dreams: Santa Cruz, California, 1876 Delivering the Goods: Watsonville, California, 1895 A Streetcar City: Washington, D.C., 1900 People on the Move Roadside Communities: Ring's Rest, Muirkirk, Maryland, 1930s The People's Highway: Route 66, 1930s-1940s Lives on the Railroad: Salisbury, North Carolina, 1927 Americans Adopt the Auto Crossing the Country: Somewhere in Wyoming, 1903 The Connected City: New York, New York, 1920s On the School Bus: Martinsburg, Indiana, 1939 Family Camping: York Beach, Maine, 1930s City and Suburb: Chicago and Park Forest, Illinois, 1950s On the Interstate: I-10, 1956-1990 Transforming the Waterfront: San Francisco and Oakland, California, 1960-1970 Going Global: Los Angeles Introduction Businesses on the Strip Leave the Driving to Us Hot Rods and Hangouts Making the Sale
14: Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949

Businesses on the Strip

Car ownership brought dramatic changes to American cities. Stores moved from downtown to the edges of cities, where there was more room to park. Shopping and driving merged into a seamless activity on suburban retail strips.

N.E. Sandy Boulevard in Portland, Oregon, was one of the busiest suburban strips in the Pacific Northwest. A major Portland highway, the boulevard was dotted with small stores, gasoline stations, and houses until the late 1940s, when large shopping centers, supermarkets, and car dealerships changed the landscape. These car-friendly businesses attracted shoppers from city and suburbs alike.

Sandy Boulevard, late 1940s
Sandy Boulevard, late 1940s
Portland’s Hollywood district had a well-defined “main street” that catered to both motorists and pedestrians. Growing automobile traffic turned this district into a shopping strip with clothing, appliance, furniture, and music stores, car dealerships, restaurants, a theater,
and a motel.
Fred Meyer Rose City Shopping Center, Portland, Oregon
Fred Meyer Rose City Shopping Center, Portland, Oregon
Fred Meyer's Rose City Shopping Center opened in 1949. Its huge sign and free parking areas beckoned motorists on Sandy Boulevard. Meyer's West Coast retail chain expanded as automobile ownership grew.
GMC pickup truck, 1949
Since the 1920s, pickup trucks have been versatile aids in farming, construction, family recreation, and shopping. Postwar pickups helped build suburbs and carried rural families to new strip retail areas. Ira Wertman of Andreas, Pennsylvania, ran a farm and peddled produce
with this truck.
GMC pickup truck, 1949
Cushman Pacemaker motor scooter, 1945
Cushman Pacemaker motor scooter, 1945
Motor scooters were popular among high school students from the 1930s to the 1950s. They gave young people some of the mobility of the car, and some states did not even require a driver’s license or insurance. Thomas C. Bracco rode this scooter to high school, social activities, and his first job in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois.
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