1961 Buick Magazine

February 1961 Buick MagazineY’all are probably tired of hearing me mention the family’s 1959 Buick LaSabre station wagon, but that vehicle is why I have a copy of the February 1961 Buick Magazine. In it, readers get to rhapsodize over the features in their new and old Buicks.

F.G. Chambers of Cincinnati, Ohio, is very pleased with his 1961 Invicta, which he is convinced is better than his 1957 Special and gets better gas mileage. He brags that his buddy, has a “much more expensive competitive make that doesn’t ride any better and that certainly doesn’t have the smooth transmission of my Buick.” In addition to power brakes, power steering and windows, he has the guidematic light dimmer and rear window defroster. “I also have my car equipped with Wonder-Bar Radio. That floor button control is out of this world.”

 Buick demographics

February 1961 Buick Magazine

If you are curious about the demographics of Buick owners in those days, just check out the cutline for the photo at the bottom right of this spread on New Orleans: “DRESSED APPROPRIATELY for the occasion, two attractive young [emphasis mine] ladies look on the Mardi Gras fun”. You had to be a Buick owner to think those are “young” ladies. I don’t think they could see young with a telescope.

On a second note: Missourian Editor John Blue impressed on me that “You never write that a female was a lady. You can tell if she is a woman, but you don’t know that she’s a lady.”

Control Arm Suspension

February 1961 Buick MagazineThe driver if this car doesn’t seem at all nonplussed to find herself on a raft afloat on a nondescript body of water. She doesn’t even seem concerned that a couple of hooligan fisherboys are apt to scratch her paint job. In 1961, the portholes are still there, but the fins are disappearing.

Cypress Gardens

February 1961 Buick MagazineI was just looking at footage of Cypress Gardens in family home movies from when we went to Florida in 1961. The Gardens were living-breathing PR machines for Florida. They even had a photo booth where you could call your friends up in the frigid north and describe to them the action flying by. If you weren’t all that good at photography, the announcer would tell you the exposure settings before the skiing beauties passed by.


February 1961 Buick MagazinePeter Jay Noto of Oaklawn, Illinois, wrote, “Every two years I buy a new car. I travel quite a bit being an actor, and Buick offers me the best performance together with complete pleasure. My next one will be a 1961 Buick Convertible.”

That name didn’t ring a bell, so I turned to Google. The only reference that popped up was on Page 10 of the June 29, 1960, Economist Newspapers where a gossip column by Vic Short said, “Peter Jay Noto reminds me he read the leading male role for “Living Venus” as mentioned here a few weeks back, but movie producer Lewis said that play wasn’t Pete’s particular cup of tea, that the Oaklawn theater guild actor would be better cast in a teenage flicker.”

Living Venus sounds imminently forgettable, but it did serve as the film debut of Harvey Korman.

Old Jackson Road

The magazine came to Mr. and Mrs. L.V. Steinhoff, courtesy of Wiethop Buick Sales at Sprigg and William. I was pretty sure that’s where Dad bought our LaSabre, but I would have sworn it was called Clark Buick.

I’m not sure when Kingsway Drive quit being called Old Jackson Road.


Old Jackson Road

These pictures were taken at the intersection of County Roads 618, 620 and 306. Let me tell you how we got there.

When we moved out on Kingsway Drive, we – like most folks – called it Old Jackson Road. If you didn’t take Highway 61 through the 10-Mile Rose Garden to get from Cape to Jackson, you’d go by way of Old Jackson Road. You’d coast down from our house near Kurre Lane, make a sweeping right-hand curve past the Cape La Croix Creek concrete marker (it’s been moved) and keep on going. There was no such thing as Lexington in those days.

Girls sure were careless.

Just before you got to where Route W turns to the right, you’d cross an old steel bridge over 3-Mile Creek (where there was a deep swimming hole). It’s concrete these days and the water’s too shallow to swim.Thinking back on it, that area might have been used for more than swimming. We boys were mystified about how so many girls lost their underwear there.

After you passed the Seabaugh farm on the left, you’d curve around to go through the Houck Railroad Cut that features prominently in Steinhoff family lore. (Dynamite was involved.)

618 is closed for construction

Finally, you’d come to a place where you had to turn left to go over I-55. That’s the intersection of 618, 620 and 306. That’s where the first picture with the Road Closed sign was taken. If you went straight, you’d climb a short hill, then plunge down a steep hill with a sharp curve at the bottom. That’s significant because the last time I did that ride on my bike, I didn’t realize I could go that fast. When I hit the curve I became very aware of how tiny, tiny my bike tires were and how much it was going to hurt if I misjudged the curve and painted the blacktop with skin crayon.

If you survived the curve, soon you’ve find yourself staring at – and being stared BACK at – by the exotic animals that inhabited 5H Ranch. BUT, we couldn’t go that way Saturday because of the Road Closed sign.

Abandoned quarry

If you made the left turn and crossed I-55, you’d enter a curve that swept to the right and downhill. On the left was where Bill Hampton lived. His family owned Hampton’s Bakery on Broadway across from Houck Stadium. Bill shot our wedding in 1969. Just before you crossed a bridge at the bottom of the hill, there was a hill with an abandoned quarry cut into it.

You can tell from this cut why they hadn’t bothered to work it much. There’s some limestone, but it’s not of very good quality. The quarry would have been off to the left behind the trees in this photo. The road to it has been overgrown for years. About a half mile down the road was the turnoff to Old McKendree Chapel.

Hill has been taken down

Looks like the hill has been taken down enough that the ride down 618 isn’t going to be as exciting as it was.

 View back to Cape

You can see how much the grade has been flattened in this photo looking back toward Cape. It’ll be easier to climb on icy days (and on my bike).

It’s not just concrete

You’re driving on more than concrete when you go down the road” there’s an awful lot of steel in that slab. I hate to think how much of that rebar I humped one hot summer.