Newly revealed photos from the Library of Congress show Tampa Bay’s vintage roadside signs and storefronts


This week the Library of Congress published well over 10,000 vintage photographs of classically American roadsigns and storefronts. Photographer John Margolies captured the pictures while on long, cross-country journeys along U.S. highways. 

Margolies took his 35 mm camera to Florida between 1979 and 1990, where he photographed gas stations, storefronts, boardwalks, billboards and hotels. Many of the photographs are within the Tampa Bay area. Since the photos are public domain, Creative Loafing Tampa selected a few of our favorite, outlandish attractions.

 Just as Andy Warhol celebrated everyday products, Margolies captures and celebrates ubiquitous, American signage and storefronts all across the United States. Dairy Quick, once on Tampa’s Nebraska Avenue, is gone but its sign will forever be immortalized thanks to Margolies. 

This collection begins in the Tampa Bay area, before branching out to the rest of the state from Jacksonville to North Miami Beach. Included in the captions are links to the Library of Congress photo page, readers can find more about each photograph. Much of the eccentric signage featured in the slideshow has yet to be demolished.

— Christopher Cann