Design: Tacky Nostalgia? No, These Are Landmarks

The doo-wop architecture of the 1950s may not be classy, say preservationists, but it's a slice of history

Twenty years ago, it was simple enough to define an architectural landmark. American beauties like Monticello, the Smithsonian Institution "Castle" and Grand Central Terminal came to mind. These days, however, the definitions are becoming a little trickier -- and a little tackier. Supermarkets, drive-ins, car washes, neon signs and other exuberant examples of Pop architecture, mostly from the 1950s, are being touted for preservation, and some have already been set aside as historic landmarks by local and state agencies. "Many of the things that were taken for granted in the 19th century -- factories, mills, neighborhoods -- people now want to...

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