Library of Congress adds 11,000 photos of roadside America

  • The Library of Congress just released more than 11,000 images of roadside attractions and classic Americana into the public domain.
  • Critic and photographer John Margolies took the high-resolution photos over 40 years of traveling around the country.
  • The photos document drive-ins, car washes, diners, and other unusual structures.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Library of Congress is doing the important work of memorializing some of the US’ most oddly charming roadside attractions, from Googie-style motel signs to giant frog statues.

Photographer John Margolies spent 40 years taking photos during his travels around the country, documenting classic Americana like drive-in movie theaters, car washes, novelty signs, and more. The more than 11,000 photos create a picture of small-town America which Margolies’ told The Washington Post was an effort to capture quirks and oddities before every town absorbed the same franchises and chains. He also told the Post that he doesn’t take a photo unless he can get it in the sun, with no people or clouds in the frame. 

All 11,710 and photos are available on the Library of Congress website. Some of these attractions still exist and could be road trip inspiration for a summer drive. All of the images are now in the public domain and can be used by anyone. 

Here are some of the highlights

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