In Friday morning’s SAH session on Architecture of the Road, Ethel Goodstein-Murphree of the University of Arkansas gave an enlightening paper called “The Common Place of the Common Carrier: The American Truck Stop.” She devoted a whole section to the Red Hot Truck Stop in Meridian, whose sign is still standing last I saw, but whose building was torn down for the Super Walmart around 2000. She had some great historic photos of the truck stop, along with some she took in the 1980s or 1990s. I learned that the truck stop, a wonderful mostly glass affair topped with a low shed roof, was built in 1955 and was designed by none other than Chris Risher Sr., a Meridian architect and one of our most talented (but now sometimes forgotten) Modernists.
Chris Risher, Sr. is also one of those architects that I need to know more about–I don’t know where in the world his drawings have gone to or whether they still exist, don’t know many of the buildings he designed (one lovely documented building is the Vise Building in downtown Meridian, but I’m sure there are scores of other cool Modern buildings in and around Meridian for which he is responsible), don’t know much about his life in general. I do know his son, Chris Risher, Jr. went on to a career in architecture and taught at a number of schools, including Yale (you can read an interesting discussion of Modernism and the “Mystic Southerners” that included Chris Risher, Jr. here).
Anyway, learn something new every day, which is hard when you know as much as I do, but I do the best I can . . . .