Work Title: Doo Wop Motels: Architectural Treasures of the Wildwoods
Work Author(s): Kirk Hastings
130 color photographs, 128 pages, Softcover $19.95
Reviewer: Peter Terry, Ph.D.
On a seven-mile-long barrier island at the southern tip of New Jersey lie the four towns of Wildwood Crest, Wildwood, North Wildwood and West Wildwood. These towns are collectively known as The Wildwoods. Here, in the late 1950s the confluence of beach culture, post-war prosperity, automobile ownership, and the age of Sputnik led to an explosion of American creative motel architecture. Fun, funky, brightly lit in neon, their kidney shaped pools adorned with towering plastic palm trees, this oasis of unique architecture has been dubbed "Doo wop" after the musical style popular in the late 1950s. Hastings, a graphic artist who grew up in Wildwood Crest and is now the president of the Wildwood Crest Historical Society, has written a colorful and fascinating introduction to this unique American architectural culture.
Doo Wop Motels is composed of three distinct parts. The first is a history of Doo wop motel architecture and its sub-categories of Modern (think Jetsons), Vroom! (think implied motion), Poynesian Pop (think Disney's Swiss Family Robinson), Phony Colonee (think Early American plantation), and Chinatown Revival (think Howard Johnsons meets Pogoda). This section of the book is fascinating and entertaining, and makes one wish for a stroll along the Doo wop beach front. In section two, Hastings brings readers up...