24 June 2014

[liff_in_OR] Newberg's Classic Dairy Queen Sign

Newberg is the first town you get into after leaving the Portland Metroplex going south on Oregon State Hwy 99W. It's the vanguard of wine country, the sentinel admitting you to that charming area known as Yamhill County.

At the entrance to the center of town, the highway splits into a couplet made up of First Street and Hancock, and this continues for about ten or twelve city blocks. At the west end, the two streets snap back together, cross the railroad tracks, and head on southwest to the land of the eternal traffic jam, Dundee. And, if you didn't look quickly, you'll have missed it.

404 West First Street. It's a DQ that looks quite a bit like just about every other DQ you're likely to see; cream-colored walls, red mansard roof.  But there's something that might catch the eye a little more than other things, especially if you have an eye for the classics.

Some ten-fifteen years back, the DQ wasn't the commodious sit-in place it was, it was a traditional drive-up. Anyone familiar with the adorbs little DQ drive-up and sit-out at SE 56th and Division here in Portland will be able to picture this. It was quite a bit the same. Well, about ten or fifteen years back, the Newberg DQ decided to give its patrons the inside-dining experience. I was sad, a little. It's nice to sit inside with your burger, but the old-fashioned burger driveups have a charm that can't be denied or resisted.

But they kept the old sign. Standing fifteen or twenty feet up, on a stout pole that shows a bit of rust, the stylized ice-cream cone keeps happy watch on the western entry to Newberg, taking in the equipment rental place, a Dutch Bros, a trailer court across the way, and a 100% Hispanic tire-seller across the street.

Whether or not you'd ever live in Newberg, there's a definite American-small-townness that recalls the rosy memories of prim little farming towns. The past wasn't perfect, but certain facets were adorable.

In Newberg, some of it can be found under the sign of DQ. Roadside neon, the way it used to be … and still is.

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