A frothy, neon-lit, giant root-beer mug high atop a freestanding support quickly identifies a Frostop diner. Red, blue, green, and yellow letters spelling BURGERS, spaced across the width of the facade, advertise the signature item on the menu. Above them, a pediment-shaped metal and neon sign displays the restaurant’s name at its center. The restaurant, small-scaled and unobtrusive compared with its signage, has a continuous window that wraps around the front and one side above the tile-covered lower wall. On the other side, a deep, cantilevered roof shelters what formerly was a drive-in area, where customers had to walk only a few steps to the service windows. Exterior surfaces are caramel- and khaki-colored tile. Inside, a counter and booths are arranged around the perimeter of the space. These features, with only slight variations, were found in other Frostops in southern Louisiana, most of which have since been demolished. Ted’s Frostop is a rare surviving example of the kind of fast-food outlets that proliferated along America’s highways in the 1950s and 1960s in response to the surge in automobile ownership. The buildings, designed to be seen at a distance, joyfully utilize brightly colored, outsize signage made possible by the availability and reasonable price of such materials as aluminum, plastic, and neon. The first Frostop opened in Springfield, Ohio, in 1926; the name and products were franchised nationwide.
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