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Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 249

Today’s lead image contains an early-1960s view of the Grand Hotel that may be in an offshore location. The American flag in front of the building on the far right may indicate that it housed an American facility, or the area was in a US state or territory.

As is the usual practice in this series, we ask our readers to tell us the year, make, and model of all of these vehicles along with anything else of interest in the photos. You can look back on all the earlier parts of this series here. The photos are via This Was American.

  • It is reported that this image was taken on South State Street in Chicago.

  • This young woman appears to be reporting for work at a restaurant affiliated with the 1881 Hotel in the background.

  • Alice and Floyd were always the last to arrive at a party.

49 responses to “Four Fun Friday Kodachrome Car Photographs No. 249

  1. In the lead picture, in the center of the intersection, is a two-door 1961 CHEVROLET Bel Air Sedan.

    By the way all great pictures !!

  2. In the 3rd picture [2nd expandable photograph], parked in the center of the photograph, is a cream colored, four-door 1958 CHEVROLET Brookwood beach-wagon.

  3. In the 4th picture [non-expandable photograph], parked on the far right, is a black 1959 or ’60 RAMBLER American Deluxe Station Wagon.

  4. First picture, 1960 Dodge Dart station wagon.
    Second picture, 1958 Chevrolet panel truck with what looks like dual rear wheels!
    Third picture, Mercury Comet .
    Fourth picture is my favorite. A King Midget, a Karmen Ghia and a Rambler American station wagon.

  5. The lead picture is at the intersection of Norre Gade and Tolbod Gade in Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands. Google Street view confirms this. What did it for me is that it appears that cars are driving on the left side of the road. I believe USVI is the only place in the US where that happens. That and the palm trees.

    • Agreed. My first thought was Virgin Islands, though I have not been there. My sister and her family lived there decades ago.

  6. In the Lead Photo, in front of the Grand Hotel, looks like a ’62 Ford Galaxie 4-door sedan. Entering from the right could be a ’60 Impala convertible.
    The red Dodge wagon would be a ’60 Phoenix.

    In Item 1 of 3, that’s probably a one ton ’58 Chevy panel with dualies behind a ’56 DeSoto Firedome or Fireflite 4-door sedan with a ’57 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan (hardtop only) crossing in front of it. A ’55 Olds 88 4-door sedan to the right (Super 88s had a round emblem by the headlight)
    The location is the west side of South State St. at Harrison with the subway stairs in front of Publix Cafeteria in the original Chicago Theatre. The familiar large Chicago Theatre in the Loop that seats over 3000 was known as the Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre.

    In Item 2 of 3, on the left a ’61 Comet (insignia on rear quarter), a ’60 Plymouth Savoy (winged Forward Look emblem vs Belvedere’s triple hash marks on fin) with possibly a “fin-less” ’61 Plymouth wagon seen behind it in pale blue. In the distance a ’55 Chevy Bel Air sedan in white and likely a ’56 Chrysler or DeSoto in white over blue.
    Starting in the back on the right, a ’57 Cadillac, possibly a convertible, a light blue ’57 Chevy, a two-tone grey ’57 Dodge, a ’55 Chevy Bel Air or Two-Ten 4-door sedan, likely a ’59 Chevy, a ’60 Ford Starliner, a ’58 Chevy Brookwood as AML noted, a ’62 Impala coupe, a gold and ivory ’58 Ford Country Sedan without the optional gold anodized aluminum trim, which I believe was made standard later in the model year.
    Seen through the windows of the yellow and white ’59 Ford 2-door Country Sedan might be another ’62 Impala, a yellow convertible and maybe the rear quarter tip of a grey and white ’56 Buick. In the far distant right another ’58 Ford in white

    In Item 3 of 3, a ’56 King Midget Roadster, a ’59-ish Karmann Ghia Cabriolet and a ’59 Rambler American Super wagon with recently replaced (late ’61 at the earliest for Rambler’s 15” wheels) narrow whitewall tire.

    • Location of last pic is almost certainly New England, date sometime in 1965. The plate on the Karmann Ghia is Massachusetts, a 1964 base in the numbering sequence for second year (validated with windshield sticker). It would have been superseded by a new white-on-black issue in January 1966.

      • I’m not sure that you are right about either the state or date as the 1964 Mass license plate was red and white and had the last two digits of the year printed on the plate. This was followed by a green and white plate in 1966 which was the last year that the date appeared on the plate. Beginning in January 1968 the state started issuing new black and white plates which was updated by only a sticker. I liked them at first but the plates ended up looking pretty grimy after being used for five years straight in the snowy slushy Bay State.

    • Thanks, John. I missed this post last Friday and I was about to add King Midget “Model II” (since nobody mentioned the model yet) but now I don’t have to.

  7. The Grand Hotel, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin islands. the only place in the US where you drive on the left.
    Even if all the cars were left hand drive.
    It is hard to guess the year and model, but the little late convertible is surely a Crosley.

  8. Don’t know the location of the first picture, but I see a 1960 Dodge Dart wagon on the right; a black 1960 Chevrolet convertible right around the corner, and a black 1962 Ford just under the Grand Hotel canopy.

    Last picture: King Midget?

  9. In 2nd photo I wish I could make out who the headliners are at the old Gayety Burlesque,and remember when pawnshops all had 3 brass orbs hanging off their signs?

    • Karl, I was wondering why you believe this 1881 Hotel is in Silver Dollar City. i agree the hotel and the young lady’s dress looks very much like 1960’s Silver Dollar City, but there is way too much flat ground in this photo (there is the parking lot and what looks to be a large flat area behind the hotel ) to be Silver Dollar City. Silver Dollar City is almost all up and down, at least that is the way I remember it, but then I could be wrong.

      • Where was Silver Dollar City?
        I’ve heard of them in Missouri, Nevada and Idaho….and there are probably others.

  10. The little yellow convertible in enlargeable photo 3 / 3 appears to be a King Midget, a one cylinder car which originally sold for $500 and was marketed primarily through advertisements in Popular Mechanics and similar magazines. The Midget Motors Corp. operated from 1946 through the 1960s located in Athens, Ohio, and originally sold kits for home construction, but evolved into making completed vehicles which were sold direct, without much of a dealer network.

  11. The bottom picture is a 1950s King Midget , powered by one cylinder Briggs engine.
    In the early 60s, A friend of mine purchased one for his newly licensed son to drive , thinking he couldn’t be harmed in a car that had a top speed of 25 mi. per hour.
    Unfortunate for the kid , A couple of weeks later , the kid’s grandfather observed him tooling down the interstate , wide open , all by himself in the driving lane all other traffic being in the passing lane !
    Pop put it up for sale the next day !

  12. The first picture may be downtown Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas. In my memory the hotel there was bigger but that was 50years ago, i had my first beer on the balcony. noone asked me how old i was

  13. Alice and Floyd are driving a second generation King Midget built from 1951-’57. A yellow and white 1959 Ford Ranch Wagon in the third photo. The two door station wagon was about to disappear from full-sized makes.

    • Yep. I’ll bet Alice and Floyd bought their fine chariot by mail order from a tiny ad n the back pages of Mechanix Illustrated. I remember those days.

  14. 1st pic , building is way too colorful to be mainland. I think there’s a VW next to the building. It looks hot out. 2nd pic, the “Publix” threw me, as they are primarily a southern food store, but this apparently is a diner named Publix, with lot’s of evidence it’s Chicago on the buildings. The panel truck is a ’58-’59 with dual wheels, an unusual setup. Probably a 1 ton, but I’ve never seen a panel like that with duals. Does anyone know what the wagon is almost out of view to the right that seems to be holding up traffic? 3rd, I think the woman is done with work, or a break. The ’59 Ford 2 door wagon is a rare sight. Last pic, the driver seems to looking at the spiffy K-G ragtop, thinking, maybe some day. Looks like the passenger is getting ready to bail. Hard to believe, but I’m sure some folks used King Midgets for daily travel.

    • Jim, I don’t think that it is a wagon at all as it is too high up, rather it appears to be the back of an advertising sign. The street is full of them.

      • U can look though parts of the wagon so im thinking it not a sign but a toy someone was holding up in front of the camera.

  15. Such a cool way to start our Fridays David ! We sure had some “stand-out” vehicles back then, sure miss it. These days it’s mostly silver (primer to me) blobs that all look alike pretty much where we live. Except of course the square silver boxes (Jeep) from the rental facilities, How could anyone not look at the cars in any of the 4 photos and not at least smile ? Thanks again as always sir.

  16. Wonderful surprise for me to open the Friday Pictures and see St Thomas where I have been living for 45 years.
    It is Post Office Sq. – the PO is the building on the right. The Grand Hotel building still stands and the balcony is the Governors viewing perch during the Carnival Parades.

  17. Howdy, Dave! Hope all is well with you. In the last pic w/the King Midget you have it captioned “Alice and Floyd were always the last to arrive at a party.” I greatly enjoy funny captions such as that. How about encouraging your viewers to send in captions for pics? FYI Readers Digest magazine runs a contest: they show a pic and solicit captions. Might be a good way to have a little fun during some not-so-fun times. Please stay well and safe. Thanks for a great blog!

  18. I about fell off my chair when I saw the Chicago State Street scene. “Are you kidding?” I asked no one in particular. The burlee-q joint! I actually paid money to get into that place three or four times in 1959/1960. I was 18 at the time and on my own in Chicago. Geez the place was sleezy. Inside it wasn’t that big, but it had a balcony. There was a traditional theatrical stage in front, curtains and all…that worked. Although there was no orchestra pit a small band of 6/7 played for the dancers(?) at the foot of the stage (I think the owner took out the first two or three rows of seats to make room). In true burlesque tradition there was a stand-up guy telling pathetic jokes that no one wanted to hear. We went there to watch, not listen. Looking back on those occasions I’m glad I had the opportunity to sample that part of our popular culture that was on it’s last leg even then. About two blocks south (towards the left edge of the image) was the Pacific Garden Mission, an institution probably dating to the period of Billy Sunday. The fact of the mission being there betrayed the flavor of the street. Now the Harold Washington Library is a block or two north, and all of the buildings in the post have been replaced by modern stuff.

    • I’ll have to raise my hand for having patronized that area as well. Back around ‘59 or ‘ 60 several high school classmates and I got excused from school for a day to attend some sort of educational doings in a downtown Chicago hotel. We ditched that in short order when Rich Buckley suggested “Hey, wanna go see some strippers?” I think we caught the “show” at the National Theatre as I remember it being a lot less elaborate than you describe. Just some “ladies” (who may have been older than our moms) and canned music. That may have been why it was open at 2 in the afternoon.

      • Jay…Great story. I have a friend living in central Illinois and he’s told me of an overnight high school field trip to Chicago he made in the early 60s. He and several of his classmates indulged in a little—shall we say—‘extra credit scholarship’ along the lines you describe. Have to wonder how many times your experience has repeated itself over the years.

  19. Could there possibly ever have been another candid picture where a Rambler American wagon is the biggest car in the picture??? Doubtful.

  20. Swesnick has money to loan but not enough to buy a real sign, or fix the neon one, apparently. Sidewalk and curbs seem remarkably free of litter.

  21. The Grand Hotel closed in 1975 and is now a galleria. rats. When I was a kid I wanted one of those King Midgets so badly!

  22. 1st picture, the black Ford in front of the Hotel is a 1964 Fairlane. The tell-tale item is the chrome trim behind the side rear window.

  23. My memory of the King Midget was seeing it advertised in MECHANIX ILLUSTRATED and I’m sure at the end of the ad they stated it’s the only car one can buy that comes with its own garage!
    Stay healthy, STAN

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