Roadside America


Join me as I explore the quirky, offbeat, and iconic places that make America unique

The Paramount Theater, 215 E Main Street in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Paramount Theater

The Paramount Theater, 215 E Main Street in Charlottesville, Virginia, was designed by brothers Cornelius Ward Rapp and George Leslie Rapp. It operated from 1931 to 1974, when it entered a period of abandonment. In 1992, a nonprofit began a multi-million dollar restoration. Today, it serves as a performing arts venue and remains a fixture […]

Arby’s Delicious Neon Sign

Glorious old Arby’s neon sign at 8201 Jefferson Davis Hwy (U.S. Route 1), Richmond, Virginia. Arby’s was founded in Ohio in 1964. Every Arby’s restaurant used to have one of these signs, but they are becoming increasingly rare.

The Des Plaines Theatre, 1476 Miner Street (U.S. Route 14) in Des Plaines, Illinois

Des Plaines Theater

The Des Plaines Theatre, 1476 Miner Street (U.S. Route 14) in Des Plaines, Illinois, opened in 1926 with this beautiful light bulb-lined marquee, just down the street from the Sugar Bowl. In 2019, Onesti Entertainment took over management of the theater and began restoration. As my longtime readers know, I grew up in Des Plaines. […]

Dead Man’s Curve

The following is an excerpt from my book Tales of Coles County, a collection of history, folklore, and true crime from one of the most interesting counties in Illinois. Order it in paperback or Kindle today. Many communities in Illinois have an intersection or stretch of road to avoid where it’s said car accidents frequently […]

Statue called "Embracing Peace" by artist J. Seward Johnson in National Harbor, Maryland.

The Kiss

Statue called “Embracing Peace” by artist J. Seward Johnson on American Way in National Harbor, Maryland. Embracing Peace is based on an iconic photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in Times Square on August 14, 1945 as celebrations broke out upon news of Japan’s surrender and the end of World War 2.

Catoctin Iron Furnace, 12698 Catoctin Furnace Road (U.S. Route 15) in Cunningham Falls State Park in Thurmont, Frederick County, Maryland.

Catoctin Iron Furnace in Frederick County, Maryland

For over a century, the Catoctin Iron Furnace smelted iron, its forges spewing smoke and burning red hot. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it fueled the machines of war. Much of this backbreaking work was done by slaves. Catoctin Iron Furnace is a historic iron forge along U.S. Route 15 from Frederick to Thurmont […]

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