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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Urban Archeology Research Help Page
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Urban Archeology Research Help Page
uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1768
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-21 12:51 pm   Permalink

Would it be helpful to start a research "how too" thread. Not a page for specific locations but a general help page. People could field questions about how to do research, how to approach someone for information without freaking them out. Where to find and how to obtain information from local sources and things of this nature. Or is this better handled on location specific posts such as found in Locating Tiki. Some folks especially the new ones may be in a position to do some research but have no idea where or how to start. Just thought I would throw the idea out for consideration. Thanks.


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"Anyone who has ever seen them is thereafter haunted as if by a feverish dream" Karl Woermann

[ This Message was edited by: uncle trav 2009-04-21 12:52 ]

[ This Message was edited by: 2010-05-07 17:09 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11107
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-21 3:46 pm   Permalink

What a nice idea, Trav. Yet I am not getting my hopes up in terms of interest for this. Most folks are into Tiki for mug collecting and cocktail imbibing, and into the "pop" aspects of it (that weird and whacky low brow art), less than the "culture" (i.e. history, context,) of this pop culture. I am very grateful that SOME are inspired to the degree of really actively researching it, not just consuming it, but the majority will simply enjoy it being served on a platter.

 
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woofmutt
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 2599
From: Seattilite Telstar
Posted: 2009-04-21 4:29 pm   Permalink

"...But the majority will simply enjoy it being served on a platter."

I used to order the platter until I realized ordering the appetizers separately you got four egg rolls instead of two.


I think such a thread is a great idea and I wouldn't worry about those only interested in what blender will make the most Margaritas in an hour. So just start the thread or start it right here. My first advice:

1. Stop and look/ Go and see. Don't keep planning to do it some day because the wrecking ball may already be scheduled for tomorrow.

2. Photograph it. There's almost no reason to not have a camera with you where ever you go.

3. Ask. See an interesting Poly Pop item in a yard or business? Ask about it.
There may be an incredible story. (Better yet: They may have always hated the item your asking about and tell you to take it!)


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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1768
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-21 5:08 pm   Permalink

Thanks guys. I'll let the post ride and see what happens. Woofmutt your 1,2,3, is very true and good to know for people just starting out. I was at local city hall today doing some research. I was looking for plans for a local Tiki bar now long gone. Very helpful people. One interesting thing they had was a map program on the computer which can pick any location in the city and overlay maps from the past forty years onto any other city map. Very useful when tracking down older buildings. I also had the old address and a property parcel number. In my area this allows you to look at the public records for the old business you are researching for such things as plans, line drawings and sometimes photos. I did not get what I was looking for on this trip but had a good talk with the folks in the office who I can call on next time.

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Kikkietiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Nov 09, 2006
Posts: 89
From: Hollister, CA
Posted: 2009-04-21 5:10 pm   Permalink

Fantastic idea. From my perspective, starting out with a single mug and adding to my mug collection here and there was only my introduction to the world of tiki and my interest has grown from there. TC has opened whole new avenues of education for me about the genre and the need to preserve it. Personally, if I knew of places to go in my area where I could glean historical information I would love it and I would love to contribute in that way, so I think a thread of this nature will be helpful.

 
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Big Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2007
Posts: 2305
From: SoMass
Posted: 2009-04-21 5:14 pm   Permalink

I think this is a great idea. There is a defunct Tiki/Polynesian joint very close to me that I would like to explore. I'd love some tips on contacting the owner & seeing if he'd allow me to explore. BigBro, I think alot of us gravitate towards the collecting & Kustom Kulture aspect of tiki because it's easy & accessible, but most would like to delve deeper.

 
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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1768
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-21 5:18 pm   Permalink

Local libraries are a great place to start. Some offer a local history room or section. Many libraries also have research librarians who are a great help. Some library online sites offer some info but at times much more can be accessed on thees sites if you have a library card.Older city directories are great for old print ads as are phone books.Local historical societies can help also.

[ This Message was edited by: uncle trav 2009-04-21 18:03 ]


 
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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1768
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-21 5:23 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-04-21 17:14, Big Kahuna wrote:
There is a defunct Tiki/Polynesian joint very close to me that I would like to explore. I'd love some tips on contacting the owner & seeing if he'd allow me to explore.


Try the Chamber of Commerce. Many have records with business records going way back. They may be able to dig up a name. Or look for old building permits for that address at the local county clerks office this may help also with the name of the owner.

[ This Message was edited by: uncle trav 2009-04-21 17:25 ]


 
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Tiki-Kate
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 21, 2003
Posts: 1700
From: Yucaipa, CA
Posted: 2009-04-21 5:25 pm   Permalink

I also think that this is a great idea.

I'm the first to admit that I'm an incurable collector, but over the past few years I've developed a deep passion for urban archaeology. I was really inspired by the
Savage Renewal project of 2005. It was a great organized way to encourage people to participate in adding actual content to Tiki Central.

I agree with everything that woofmutt said. Don't just keep driving past and wondering about places. They'll all be gone eventually.

My favorite place for research is the public library. A good number of libraries still keep old phone books on hand. I generally start by getting my hands on as many phone books from the 1960's as they have available. I check the listings for Apartments, Motels, Hotels, Bowling Alleys and Restaurants. Depending on what I find in 1960 and 1969, I'll start checking through the late 50's and early 70's and just follow the trail from there. Boris recently discovered that some phone books even have a section of listings titles Hawaiian. I always bring a notebook to jot down addresses and a digital camera to photograph the listing with full ads. I'll mapquest the addresses that I come up with and go back and track down the old sites. I'm constantly amazed at how many are still there.

I know some people may be thinking, "That's all well and good Kate, but you live in the Tiki Mecca that is Southern California." As many of you know, I live in the Inland Empire which is the sweaty armpit of Southern California. And I've been surprised with a few delightful finds in my neck of the woods such as Trader Island and The Del Rosa Palms.

Tiki was so pervasive in the 1960's that no matter where you live, I bet you can find some trace of your area's tiki past if you only look for it.

[ This Message was edited by: Tiki-Kate 2009-04-21 17:26 ]


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11107
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-21 5:39 pm   Permalink

Goood! I tried to provoke some reaction, thanks.

First and foremost nowadays, comes the

INTERNET! Humu humu JUST posted a great source here!:

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=32079&forum=1&2

Mind boggling, but if MANY look, everyone will find something and can ad it to the puzzle.
And then the great LIFE archives. And on and on...

Now: I wrote and researched the Book of Tiki largely without the internet. I used:

Yellow pages: Current and vintage (at local library) Boris can tell you more!
Vintage Matchbooks and postcards (at paper collectors shows and collectors clubs)
Friends who are as nuts as I (now we also have Tiki Central)
Oceanic Arts (They were THERE!)
Libraries (for images and newspaper articles)
Used book stores.
Flea markets
Cruising the urban sea of L.A. and looking for tall palm trees

Like mentioned above: Once you have found the addresses, google street view is a god sent. Then go and photograph.

When cold calling veterans that have all but forgotten that they were purveyors of some part of Poly pop at some point, be prepared to be met with mistrust and suspicion." Who would be into THIS? They must have some ulterior motive.." Be patient and polite, and persistent but not pushy.

Go dig, kids, there is lots that is yet uncovered!



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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1768
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-21 5:45 pm   Permalink

A good addition to Map quest are the satellite image site. Google Earth is a good one but the one I use more is Terra Server. This site has black and white images and many are older so there is a better chance of finding some of the older sites on this website.
http://terraserver-usa.com/default.aspx

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Murph
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jul 11, 2006
Posts: 719
From: SoCal
Posted: 2009-04-21 5:52 pm   Permalink

Good idea!
I'm reading and learning on this thread.


 
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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1768
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-21 5:56 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-04-21 17:39, bigbrotiki wrote:
Be patient and polite, and persistent but not pushy.


This goes a long long way. Many folks have stories to tell and years of memories to sift through. Just the other day I was Talking to a nice woman at an out of town library on the phone. I told her of a Tiki spot I was looking for info on and bingo! she used to frequent the place. What could have been a two minute call turned into a history lesson for me and a trip down memory lane for her that lasted fifteen minutes. She mailed out some photos copies for me on the library's dime and was happy to help me out. A friendly approach is the best.

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"Anyone who has ever seen them is thereafter haunted as if by a feverish dream" Karl Woermann


 
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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1768
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-21 6:12 pm   Permalink

Don't overlook your local newspaper. Many have large archives which can go way back. Some may have bound editions and some on microfilm or microfiche. Newspapers also archive photos. My local library has both microfilm and microfiche machines that have attached photo copiers to print out the info on the screen. The librarian or volunteer would be more than happy to show you how to use these.

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"Anyone who has ever seen them is thereafter haunted as if by a feverish dream" Karl Woermann


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11107
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-21 6:52 pm   Permalink

And for the real quality images, try to find the original owners, the photographers, and the architects. The often idealistic RENDERINGS of Tiki temples are the holy grail. Blueprints are cool. Then 8x10 glossy B&W photos. Magazine articles they kept.

And don't EVER limit yourself or edit yourself: Examples:

In the 90s my research was so focused on quality examples of TIKI TIKI TIKI, that if an architect did just one Tiki place, but many other cool mid-century places, I just asked for the material of that one! Also when in the field: I did not photograph the great "Aztec House" Apartments in Glendale, complete with giant Chacmol figure outside and waterfall lobby! And last not least, I did not photograph enough examples of Tiki devolution. Now all these things are gone.

Your interests, knowledge and understanding evolve constantly, and as you make connections, it is great to have other examples than the perfect ones to create a broader context. Grab them while you can, they might not be around next time.


 
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