“As a child, Martin Treu probably never irked his parents by saying, ‘Are we there yet?’ because he was busy looking at the scenery. Brilliant neon signs and glossy storefront display windows made indelible marks on young Treu, so much so that for years, the adult Treu devoted his life to a study of America’s main streets and the icons and architecture that define them.
The result of that study is Signs, Streets, and Storefronts: A History of Architecture and Graphics Along America’s Commercial Corridors, an exhaustive review of the cultural, zoning, and demographic changes that brought America’s business districts into being. Drawing upon hundreds of sources and case studies, the author meticulously lays out the pre-auto, auto boom, and modern era habits that carved their marks on America’s business strips. From Sarasota, Florida to Los Angeles and New York, Treu documents one main street after another, with photos often showing the same buildings as they looked during different eras. The book is a must-read for any fan of architecture—and for city planners. It is a thorough dissection of the trends and clashes that continue to shape and regulate our nation’s commercial corridors.”