Ryann Ford’s Rest Stops

With “Rest Stops: Vanishing Relics of the American Roadside,” architectural photographer Ryann Ford seeks to capture relics of a bygone era of leisurely road travel across the Southwest.

Rest Stop in Monahans, Texas: Ryann Ford
Abiquiu, N.M.
Monahans, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Anthony, N.M.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Fort Stockton, Texas

In her series “Rest Stops: Vanishing Relics of the American Roadside,” Austin-based architectural photographer Ryann Ford documents rest areas along highways across the Southwest. Drawn to the simplicity of the structures set within stark landscapes, Ford selects sites featuring small covered picnic tables. The effort is timely, as many of these structures are quickly disappearing. 

Ford asserts that the rest stops offer unique designs specific to the geography and culture of each location. Using old maps and Google Streetview as her primary research tools, Ford identifies locations to shoot over the course of a week-long road trip. As roadsides become increasingly homogenized, this project offers a glimpse of vernacular architectural expressions that hearken back to an era of bygone leisurely road travel. 

The photo gallery for this article is expanded content for Texas Architect, September/October 2013.

by: Catherine Gavin

Talk About It

About 4 years ago: Cathleen Hart

Ryann's rest stop photos brought back many happy memories from my childhood family road trips. I vividly remember Dad lifting his wooden camp box out of the station wagon and setting it on one of the concrete picnic tables. My brother and I were happy to get out of the car and run around. I have always appreciated the structures in Galveston with the giant circles in the sides.

About 4 years ago: Bob Treat

Awesome photos!