Surfaces - Everyday Life in the Early 70’s [Photo Archives_Roadside]

Here, I introduce scanned images from my dad’s slides mostly taken in the early 70’s. 1964 Oldsmobile was our only choice for means of family trip to as north as Fairbanks, AK or to as south as Oaxaca, Mexico: we never used airlines. Accordingly, I decided to call this series of posts as “Surfaces”.

1970_71_US_0854.jpg: Knoxville, TN 1971

We can’t escape annual events.

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Reminders of the 70’s along Rio Grande 87 – Dunham’s Fruit Stand, Green River [Photo Archives_Roadside]


Dunham’s Fruit Stand is a roadside stand selling melons and watermelons. The stand is operated by Dunham Farm. According to Utah Division of State History Historic Building Search, this Bungalow style commercial building was built in 1925[1].

Fredrick Eugene (1928 – 2004) and Nancy Dunham moved to Green River from Grand Junction in 1955[2]. They bought the farm from Howard Eugene Silliman (1914 – 1999). Their son Chris seems succeeded the business in 1995[3].

Dunham Farm, Vetere Farm and Thayn Farm support the Green River Melon Days Festival held every September[4].

All photos taken on Sep. 10, 2017.

[1] Utah Division of State History Historic Building Search form;
[2] Jul. 28, 1955 Green River Journal;
[3] Dunham Farm information at webpage;
[4] Melon Days official webpage;


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Reminders of the 70’s along Rio Grande 86 – La Rue’s Beauty Shop, Green River [Photo Archives_Roadside]

larue's_01.jpg: Sep. 10, 2017

LaRue’s Beauty Shop was a beauty shop located at the center of Green River, Utah on 42 South Broadway.

The structure itself is listed in 1910 Sanborn map as Print’g built with Conc. Blks. According to Utah Division of State History Historic Building Search, this 1-part block 20th Century Commercial building was built in 1910[1].

Georgia LaRue Hunt (1926 – 2012) established the Green River’s first beauty shop in 1955[2]. She operated it well into the 70’s[3].

It has been the Cut-N-Curl beauty salon operated by Mary Ellen Bastian since 1978[4].

[1] Utah Division of State History Historic Building Search form;
[2] Jul. 21, 1955 Green River Journal;
[3] May 27, 1976 Times Independent;
[4] Cut & Curl information at webpage;

larue's_ad.jpg: Jul. 21, 1955 Green River Journal

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Reminders of the 70’s along Rio Grande 85 – Gruver’s Service Station, Thompson Springs [Photo Archives_Roadside]


Gruver’s Service Station is located at the center of the town on south side of Frontage Road (old US Hwy 50 &6), opposite the Rio Grande Section Tool House. It used to have a large canopy over the pumps in front of the structure[1].

Sidney B. Clark (1895 – 1947) purchased the filling station from James Addison Lair (1876 – 1966) in 1941[2]. He immediately modified the facilities as the Clark’s Service Station & Grocery Store with cafe service[3].

Virginia Frances Gruver (1898 – 1978) purchased the Clark’s in 1943 and operated till 1972[4]. Virginia moved here in 1942 from Cisco where she had managed a boarding house since 1929: she was the aunt of Ethel Spears who later operated Ethel’s Cafe at Cisco.

Virginia also contributed “Thompson News Items/Notes” to the newspaper Times Independent from 1960 to 1976.

All photos taken on Sep. 10, 2017.

[1] Farewell, R.C., (1999) Rio Grande Secret Places Vol. 2, Colorado Railroad Museum
[2] Oct. 10, 1941 Times Independent;
[3] Nov. 12, 1942 Times Independent;
[4] Sep. 14, 1978 Times Independent;

clark's_ad.jpg: Nov. 12, 1942 Times Independent

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Heartland Curve, part 3 [Column_Photo Archives]

heartland-curve_02.jpg: Amtrak #6

Here are the results of our pilgrimage to the Curve:

The time is around 10:20AM, Sunday, Sep. 10, 2017.
The train is the Amtrak #6, running about 90 minutes late due to the scheduled track work in Colorado.
My wife took the video with iPhone and I took the stills with Nikon.

The only drawback of “Heartland Curve” is that the traffic at this point is relatively low. We only caught this eastbound Amtrak and the westbound Potash Local this morning.

Mike Danneman also missed the train but captured a wonderful twilight here[1, 2].

[1] Danneman, Mike, (2012) Silence in the desert, Flickr;
[2] Danneman, Mike, (2012) If only a train…, Flickr;


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Heartland Curve, part 2 [Column_Photo Archives]

heartland-curve_03.jpg: 360° view of the Heartland Curve

“Heartland Curve” is located about two miles east of Thompson, Utah: on milepost 526 at Rio Grande track charts. It lies next to the Rio Grande's highest point between Grand Junction, Colorado and Green River, Utah.

The Curve is about 500 ft walk from the paved old US Hwy 50 & 6, and another 700 ft walk from Utah Welcome Center on westbound I-70: a little hill climb is needed, but seem far easy to access compared with “Patrick’s Point” west of Floy.

heartland-curve_04.jpg: Mac Owen's view
heartland-curve_05.jpg: Mike Danneman's view

The setting is composed of tight and loose curves which lead to reversed curves both directions. Here, also are the cut and fill which allow various heights of viewpoints. The setting faces the south and seems nothing gets in the way of sunlight all day long. Trains reduce speed due to its 5° curve both directions. Accordingly, they smoke them up after negotiating it.

As you can see, we can chose the right angle from various opportunities according to the train’s direction, train’s length, position of sunlight or purpose of the photo. I think that’s why many photographers made pilgrimage to this setting.

heartland-curve_06.jpg: Mark M. Hemphill's view
heartland-curve_07.jpg: Ken Crist's view

The view from the point is vast and wonderful without an obstacle. You can admire breathtaking panorama of the desert, the Book Cliffs and the La Sal Mountains: even my wife, who isn’t interested in trains, could wait an hour for the Zephyr. I believe that’s another reason why many photographers left their footprints here.

heartland-curve_08.jpg: my wife prepares for the session

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