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Preserving the recent past: The '76' ball

Super Amputee Cat

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5055782.stm

http://www.savethe76ball.com/





After Unocal was taken over by Conoco-Phillips, the Union 76 ball is slowly being replaced by flat-boxed 76 signs in many markets. Car enthusists and advocates for preserving the recent past are petitioning Conoco-Phillips to save the remaining 76 balls - which were first introduced in 1962.

In Toledo, Union 76 disappeared from the market about eight years ago just as it has in many parts of the US. But one 76 ball was still extant at a closed service station in North Toledo.

Is the 76 ball worth preserving? Or is it just a caroonish symbol of the oversaturated automobile culture that has destroyed the landscape and has no historical value whatsoever?
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
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18,267
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43
Union 76 had a huge presence in Northern California. At a former jurisdiction I worked for, a non-conforming ball on top of a 100-foot poll was located next to a freeway off-ramp. The whole time I was there I kept hoping the owner would submit an application to convert the full-service station to a stop-and-rob. I was going to “get” that ball. Never happened.
 

BKM

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6,464
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Super Amputee Cat said:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5055782.stm

Is the 76 ball worth preserving? Or is it just a caroonish symbol of the oversaturated automobile culture that has destroyed the landscape and has no historical value whatsoever?
Can I vote for "both"?

Example: "Why preserve that castle-it's just a symbol of an oppressive feudal military state?"

Not that I'm claiming, by any means, that the artistic merits of the two are equal. Just that many historic monuments have a pretty dark, destructive side to them. :p :-D
 

ArchWannabe

Member
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12
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1
The balls are definitely nicer than the flat panel thing. Maybe you shouldn't go all out and give them a special status, just let the gas station owners know that a lot of the people prefer the balls and their are organizations to save them. Economically speaking, why would the owner want to spend money to change his signage to something less desirable? Unless the balls require a lot of upkeep, idk.

If you really wanna preserve something though, preserve that awesome up-curved station roof on that third station pic you posted, now THAT is awesome!
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5055782.stm

http://www.savethe76ball.com/





After Unocal was taken over by Conoco-Phillips, the Union 76 ball is slowly being replaced by flat-boxed 76 signs in many markets. Car enthusists and advocates for preserving the recent past are petitioning Conoco-Phillips to save the remaining 76 balls - which were first introduced in 1962.

In Toledo, Union 76 disappeared from the market about eight years ago just as it has in many parts of the US. But one 76 ball was still extant at a closed service station in North Toledo.

Is the 76 ball worth preserving? Or is it just a caroonish symbol of the oversaturated automobile culture that has destroyed the landscape and has no historical value whatsoever?
Bump.
I don't know about the 76 ball, but that googie-looking canopy is crazy, man! I'd save that first..
 

luckless pedestrian

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Yeah that canopy is awesome! I do like the ball better as it's "authentic"

My Historic Commission is having this conversation right now about mid-century American architecture as we have a few things form the 60's that are pretty cool, or, what if they're not but they are 50 years old - what if people 25 years form now say "why the heck did they let them tear that down as we now think it's cool"

It's a great conversation, not sure how to resolve it, though...
 

Maister

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My Historic Commission is having this conversation right now about mid-century American architecture as we have a few things form the 60's that are pretty cool, or, what if they're not but they are 50 years old - what if people 25 years form now say "why the heck did they let them tear that down as we now think it's cool"
Yes some mid-century architecture is tres cool, but will they ever say that about brutalist structures?

Image result for brutalist architecture


Part of me wants to say 'yes'. We could be seeing a mini brutalist design revival in the not distant future.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
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13,654
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Phoenix is a hotbed of mid-century architecture. Our historic people go crazy for the stuff. Sadly the Arizona capitol/government buildings use a lot of the brutalist style. The picture you have is much better looking than the government buildings.
 

Maister

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Phoenix is a hotbed of mid-century architecture. Our historic people go crazy for the stuff. Sadly the Arizona capitol/government buildings use a lot of the brutalist style. The picture you have is much better looking than the government buildings.
Brutalist design is something contemporary folks love to hate. But remember other design trends (e.g. eclecticism or gothic revival) were generally not well-regarded at the time but a century later are fondly remembered and even emulated.

I will say this about brutalism - there was quite a bit of it produced mid century (and later) particularly for public buildings. Owing to the sturdy qualities of the predominant materials used by the style (ie. concrete and steel) many of these structures are still standing and will likely remain so for many decades to come. Depending on your point of view, there is an embarrassment of riches to be preserved.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
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I don't have a problem with brutalism and see it for just another architectural style even if it's not as cool as fast casual apartments, but I do have a problem with ugly.

Art museum at ASU, I kind of like it.
24720

State legislative building - the picture does not do justice to just how ugly this thing is.
24721

Bask in the glory that is the Arizona Capital mall. Don't ask why it has grass in the desert.
 

Luca

Cyburbian
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1,170
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Re. brutalism and Maister's question of whether it will ever be appreciated.

Here in the perfumed precincts of avant-garde, oh-so-cool London there is definitely already a substantial minority of admirers of brutalist schemes like the Barbican complex and brutalism in general.

Experience suggests that what the 'in crowd' believes today very often filters down to the general population, in time, regardless of the fact that I think it's an awful, thanatotic, inhumane, ideologically revolting style.

I would actually retain some brutalist buildings as a reminder to posterity.
 
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