April 19: Golden Arches

2016/04/19 § Leave a comment

During this month in April 1955 (actually, on the 15th), the first McDonald’s opened.

The McDonald’s concept was dreamt up by some people from New Hampshire but introduced in California during the 1930s.  It took a milkshake machine vendor from Illinois, Ray Kroc, to come up with the business plan in the 1950s that allowed the business to expand even more quickly than the average American’s waistband.

This first iteration of the ubiquitous burger joint was a simple box wrapped by red and white tile with huge windows for walk-up customers.  The “golden arches” of the M for McDonald’s was not just stuck on the building, it was part of the building with the appearance of structural support to the roof.  McDonald’s facility with advertising is, to say the least, legend (remember this? or this?); it’s not surprising to see this early and keen use of the building as such a strong ad for the company.

Can you believe they tore the original down, in 1984? (The sign, with Speedee–whose little neon legs run run run, is original.)  The rebuilt store is now hyped as a “museum,” which is sort of stretching the word a bit (and she whose name is its root should know).  But indeed this is a cultural landmark of sorts and worthy of preservation.

But this other nonsense in Pennsylvania, the Big Mac Museum Restaurant?  Enough is enough already.

Image: the flagship store in DesPlaines, Illinois (from this source)


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You are currently reading April 19: Golden Arches at Clio’s Calendar: Daily Musings on Architectural History.


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