Remember This? Free Souvenirs

Dorri Partain
Northeast News

Numerous trinket and curio shops popped up along Route 66 so travelers could easily find unique souvenirs to take back home- but the best souvenirs are often free.

Operators of small businesses advertised their business with give-away items such as matchbooks, ashtrays, pens, pencils, and postcards. Whether you stuck them in a drawer when you got home or used them daily to remind you of your travels, these items often outlast the business they’re advertising.

Whether you smoked or not, the ashtray had a handy calendar with all Sundays and holiday dates marked in red. It could also be used to hold jewelry, soap, or just placed on a shelf to remind you of all the wonderful things that took place in 1959. Produced by the L.J. Houze Convex Glass Company of Marion Point, Pennsylvania , these smoked glass convex trays were produced as souvenir/gift items from 1948 to 1995. The Desert Air Motel of Tucumcari, New Mexico was built in 1935, remodeled in the 1950’s, and still stands at 406 E. Route 66 Blvd., but was renamed the Americana Motel by 2009.

Matchbooks have been popular advertising items since the 1920’s but it’s rare to find any business that offers them today due to smoking bans in most businesses. Both these matchbooks from Albuquerque, New Mexico could still be useful once the matches were gone- just check the handy milage charts inside to see how far away the next town is, or how far away you are from home. One chart shows it’s another 803 miles on to Los Angeles while the other shows it’s 822 miles back to Kansas City (via U.S. Route 54). The Desert Sands Motor Hotel was still operating at 5000 Central Avenue until a series of fires in 2017 lead to its demolition.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Remember This? Little LuLu Moppet

    March 3rd, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor She may be little, but she hasn’t aged a bit while providing laughs to generations. “Little Lulu” […]


    “Her husband may have built landmarks, but Sarah Coates helped build lives.”

    March 3rd, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Sarah Walter Chandler was born on March 10, 1829, in Kennett Square, Penn., to Quaker parents John […]


    Remember This? Gates Ol’ Kentuck Barbecue

    February 24th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Countless barbeque restaurants dot the neighborhoods in and around Kansas City today, but during the early years […]


    Lincoln Electric Park, a delight to the city’s Negro population

    February 24th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News As part of our Black History Month, we revisit a set of images we ran in […]


    Paseo YMCA plays major role in Black History

    February 17th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week, as part of our ongoing Black History Month series, we spotlight the Paseo YMCA located […]


    Remember This? Ragtime two-step

    February 17th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor More than 70 years after its composition, a Ragtime two step became a chart-topping recording. “The Entertainer” […]


    Remember This? I AM LOVED pin-back buttons

    February 10th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor It’s a small item with a big message that’s been translated into multiple languages and sent to […]


    Family Flower business a staple of Northeast Community

    February 10th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Rose Marie Serrone opened her flower and gift shop in a single story, Art Deco-style building in […]


  • Remember This? The electric coffee percolator

    February 3rd, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Need coffee for a crowd? Perk up your party with a Party Percolator that brews dozens of […]


    Quindaro town-site, an important portal on the Underground Railroad

    February 3rd, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher During Black History Month, our Historic Postcard column will spotlight locations and people important to Black History […]


    State of the art zoo for 1909

    January 27th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This circa 1914 hand colored postcard published by the Southwest News company of Kansas City, Missouri shows […]


    Remember This? Gremlins Cereal

    January 27th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Do you have any Gremlins in your kitchen cupboard? From the shoebox to the cereal box, this […]


    Remember this? Bathroom radios

    January 20th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor It’s a radio – it’s a toilet paper holder – it’s both! Combining two practical items into […]


    Flying High in Kansas City

    January 20th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week, in theme with our Remember This column on a novelty transistor radio, we’re featuring another […]


    Faultless Starch Reading Library

    January 13th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week’s postcard is a bit of a departure from the penny postcard we normally profile in […]


    Remember this? Trading stamps

    January 13th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Lick ’em, stick ’em, save ’em and trade ’em for quality merchandise – it was like getting […]


  • Northeast Newscast


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • Postcard


  • Remember This?


  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.