I was fortunate to grow up and spend my teen years in Salt Lake City during the 50s. Those were the glory years of the automobile and the road trip. We didn’t climb into airplanes for our summer vacations, we gathered as families in our Chevys, Pontiacs or De Sotos and set out on exciting adventures filled with road side attractions, dingy motels, Texaco gas stations, National Parks, and carhop restaurants. We got to know the country we lived in by traveling on the small two lane highways that threaded through our nation.
Route 66 is called the Mother Road. It was the magic road linking the east and the west together. As an adult, I have been fascinated by the remains of this road and have traveled it extensively and photographed the ghostly remains of a once, vibrant highway that connected the midwest to the California coast. There is a mystery, a haunting question of where did all these people in these hamlets and small towns go? We know why they left, because the Interstate Highway System was created in 1956 and that system of “super roads” ultimately passed this earlier world by . All of these businesses eventually failed, often leaving small towns as ghost towns.
When I first visited Helper last year, I was star struck! Here is a town from that long ago era that is being saved and cherished. This remarkable event recognizes my vision of the past and the glories of small town America. I am proud to participate in restoring this fascinating community.