Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John Allais Jakle  

Pen Name: John A. Jakle


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1939 in Terre Haute, Indiana

-- Website --
-- John Allais Jakle on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Jakle lives in Central Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

John A. Jakle is an emeritus professor of geography and landscape architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Human Spatial Behavior: A Social Geography
ISBN: 0881331414

Waveland Pr Inc. 1985

Book by Jakle, John A., Brunn, Stanley, Roseman, Curtis C.

Images of the Ohio Valley: A Historical Geography of Travel, 1740-1860 (Andrew H. Clark Series in the Historical)
ISBN: 0195022416

Oxford University Press. 1977

Images of the Ohio Valley: A Historical Geography of Travel, 1740-1860

The American Small Town: Twentieth Century Place Images
ISBN: 0208019197

Archon Books. 1982

The Tourist: Travel in Twentieth-Century North America
ISBN: 0803275617

University of Nebraska Press. 1985

Surveys the tourist industry in the United States and Canada, looks at travel by rail, steamship, automobile, bus, and airplane, and explains what things attract tourists

The Visual Elements Landscapes
ISBN: 0870235672

University of Massachusetts Press. 1987

An examination of how visual and aesthetic dimensions amplify the functional interpretation of cultural landscape.

Common Houses in America's Small Towns: The Atlantic Seaboard to the Mississippi Valley
ISBN: 0820310743

University of Georgia Press. 1989

A geographical field guide to the American house. Based on an inventory of seventeen thousand homes in twenty sample cities from the Atlantic Seaboard to the Mississippi Valley, this book explores how Americans housed themselves in the 1980s.

Features:Houses are divided into categories based on form, creating five broad families―one room deep, two rooms deep, irregularly massed, bungalow, and ranch.Photographs illustrate such diverse types as the hall and parlour cottage, salt box house, and raised ranch house, and such characteristics as height, roof form, and facade material.Charts and maps plot regional variations, revealing for example the prevalence of pre-World War I housing in the Middle West and of post-World War II ranches in the South.Glossary of structural forms gives more formal definition and description for the sixty-seven specific dwelling types analyzed.

Derelict Landscapes: The Wasting of America's Built Environment (Geographic Perspectives on the Human Past)
ISBN: 0847677362

Rowman & Littlefield Pub Inc. 1992

The success of World War II and the world economic hegemony that followed bolstered America's confidence to configure itself anew. Growth became a panacea to solve all problems since the American engine for change appeared boundless. Cities were turned inside-out as people, enterprise, and wealth fled to suburbs. Unfortunately, all has not been progress. American society has proven wasteful of its built environments. In "Derelict Landscapes", John A. Jakle and David Wilson present a portrait of various kinds of landscape dereliction in the United States - disinvestment, underutilization, vacancy, abandonment, and decay and degradation - and the cultural values that have underlain both personal and societal predispositions to be wasteful. They argue that a society can be known by the landscapes it creates and nourishes, and seek to answer the disturbing question: does widespread, chronic dereliction in the built environment suggest basic flaws in the American system? In the concluding chapters, Jakle and Wilson examine successful experiments at reversing dereliction and highlight the role of "locality-based communities" as an alternative to waste.

The Gas Station in America (Creating the North American Landscape)
ISBN: 0801847230

The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1994

In the first volume of their celebrated "Gas, Food, Lodging" trilogy, John Jakle and Keith Sculle offer a comprehensive history of the American gas station, exploring every aspect of this roadside icon, including its evolving architectural identity

its place in both the American landscape and popular culture

the corporate decisions that determined its look and location

its metamorphosis into the mini-mart

and its role as the most visible manifestation of one of the world's largest industries. From the quaint curbside filling stations of the 1910s to the novelty designs of the 1920s (when stations were built to resemble English cottages, Greek temples, Dutch windmills, and Spanish missions) to the Bauhaus-inspired stations of the 1930s to today's nationwide chains of brightly lit look-alikes, The Gas Station in America is the definitive book on the subject. Richly illustrated with more than 150 images--postcards of gas stations, vintage ads, maps, and other memorabilia--this book bears witness to an economic and cultural phenomenon that continues to be a defining part of the American experience.

The Motel in America (The Road and American Culture)
ISBN: 0801853834

The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1996

In the second volume of the acclaimed "Gas, Food, Lodging" trilogy, authors John Jakle, Keith Sculle, and Jefferson Rogers take an informative, entertaining, and comprehensive look at the history of the motel. From the introduction of roadside tent camps and motor cabins in the 1910s to the wonderfully kitschy motels of the 1950s that line older roads and today's comfortable but anonymous chains that lure drivers off the interstate, Americans and their cars have found places to stay on their travels. Motels were more than just places to sleep, however. They were the places where many Americans saw their first color television, used their first coffee maker, and walked on their first shag carpet.

Illustrated with more than 230 photographs, postcards, maps, and drawings, The Motel in America details the development of the motel as a commercial enterprise, its imaginative architectural expressions, and its evolution within the place-product-packaging concept along America's highways. As an integral part of America's landscape and culture, the motel finally receives the in-depth attention it deserves.

Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age (The Road and American Culture)
ISBN: 0801861098

The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1999

Eating on the run has a long history in America, but it was the automobile that created a whole new category of dining: "fast food." In the final volume of their "Gas, Food, Lodging" trilogy, John Jakle and Keith Sculle contemplate the origins, architecture, and commercial growth of fast food restaurants from White Castle to McDonald's.

Illustrated with 217 maps, postcards, photographs, and drawings, Fast Food makes clear that the story of these unpretentious restaurants is the story of modern American culture. The first roadside eateries popularized once-unfamiliar foods -- hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, milkshakes, burritos -- that are now basic to the American diet. By the 1950s, drive-ins and diners had become icons of rebellion where teenagers sought freedom from adult authority. Like the gas station and the motel, the roadside restaurant is an essential part of the modern American landscape -- where intentional sameness of design "welcomes" every interstate driver.

City Lights: Illuminating the American Night (Landscapes of the Night)
ISBN: 080186593X

The Johns Hopkins University Press. 2001

Today's cities shine brightly at night, illuminated by millions of street lamps, neon signs, and incandescent and fluorescent bulbs burning in the windows of office blocks, apartment buildings, and homes. Indeed, the modern city is in large part defined by this brilliance. In contrast, cities before the end of the 19th century were dominated by shadows and darkness, their oil lamps mostly ineffectual against the night. The introduction of modern lighting technologies in the 1870s--at first natural gas and later electricity--transformed urban life in America and around the world.

This promethean story and its impact on the shape and pace of life in the American city is engagingly recounted by John A. Jakle in City Lights. Jakle reveals how artificial lighting became a dynamic instrument that altered every aspect of the urban landscape and was in turn shaped by the growth of America's automobile culture. He examines the technological and entrepreneurial innovations that made urban illumination possible and then explores the various ways in which artificial lighting was used to enhance -- for reasons of commerce, safety, aesthetics, and mobility -- such public spaces as streets, festivals, world's fairs, amusement parks, landmarks, and business districts. From the corner street lamp to the dazzling display of Broadway's "Great White Way," City Lights offers a lively and informative investigation into the geography of the night.

Postcards of the Night: Views of American Cities
ISBN: 0890134561

Museum of New Mexico Pr. 2003

Early 20th century postcard art offers a number of lessons about the transformation of American urban geography and representations of place, says Jakle (geography, U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). He includes reproductions of some 80 postcards depicting urban night scenes from 1900 to the 1970s (primarily from the first four decades) in his reflections about the transformation of the city nightscape, discussing the impacts of technological, economic, and social change. Annotation (c) Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Signs in America's Auto Age: Signatures of Landscape and Place (American Land & Life)
ISBN: 0877458901

University Of Iowa Press. 2004

Cultural geographer John Jakle and historian Keith Sculle explore the ways in which we take meaning from outdoor signs and assign meaning to our surroundings. With an emphasis on how to use signs the authors consider the vast array of signs that have evolved since the beginning of the 20th century.

Lots of Parking: Land Use in a Car Culture (Center Books)
ISBN: 0813925193

University of Virginia Press. 2005

When the automobile was first introduced, few Americans predicted its fundamental impact, not only on how people would travel, but on the American landscape itself. Instead of reducing the amount of wheeled transport on public roads, the advent of mass-produced cars caused congestion, at the curb and in the right-of-way, from small midwestern farm towns to New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles.

Lots of Parking examines a neglected aspect of this rise of the automobile: the impact on America not of cars in motion but of cars at rest. While most studies have tended to focus on highway construction and engineering improvements to accommodate increasing flow and the desire for speed, John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle examine a fundamental feature of the urban, and suburban, scene―the parking lot. Their lively and exhaustive exploration traces the history of parking from the curbside to the rise of public and commercial parking lots and garages and the concomitant demolition of the old pedestrian-oriented urban infrastructure. In an accessible style enhanced by a range of interesting and unusual illustrations, Jakle and Sculle discuss the role of parking in downtown revitalization efforts and, by contrast, its role in the promotion of outlying suburban shopping districts and its incorporation into our neighborhoods and residences.

Like Jakle and Sculle's earlier works on car culture, Lots of Parking will delight and fascinate professional planners, landscape designers, geographers, environmental historians, and interested citizens alike.

Published in association with the Center for American Places

Motoring: The Highway Experience in America (Centre for American Places)
ISBN: 0820330280

University of Georgia Press. 2008

Motoring unmasks the forces that shape the American driving experience-commercial, aesthetic, cultural, mechanical-as it takes a timely look back at our historically unconditional love of motor travel. Focusing on recreational travel between 1900 and 1960, John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle cover dozens of topics related to drivers, cars, and highways and explain how they all converge to uphold that illusory notion of release and rejuvenation we call the "open road."

Jakle and Sculle have collaborated on five previous books on the history, culture, and landscape of the American road. Here, with an emphasis on the driver's perspective, they discuss garages and gas stations, roadside tourist attractions, freeways and toll roads, truck stops, bus travel, the rise of the convenience store, and much more. All the while, the authors make us think about aspects of driving that are often taken for granted: how, for instance, the many lodging and food options along our highways reinforce the connection between driving and "freedom" and how, by enabling greater speeds, highway engineers helped to stoke motorists' "blessed fantasy of flight." Although driving originally celebrated freedom and touted a common experience, it has increasingly become a highly regulated, isolated activity. The motive behind America's first embrace of the automobile-individual prerogative-still substantially obscures this reality.

"Americans did not have the automobile imposed on them," say the authors. Jakle and Sculle ask why some of the early prophetic warnings about our car culture went unheeded and why the arguments of its promoters resonated so persuasively. Today, the automobile is implicated in any number of environmental, even social, problems. As the wisdom of our dependence on automobile travel has come into serious question, reassessment of how we first became that way is more important than ever.

My Kind of Midwest: Omaha to Ohio (Center for American Places - My Kind of . . . series)
ISBN: 1930066872

Center for American Places. 2009

“Will it play in Peoria?” That question—only half-joking—hovers over everything from politics to television, an acknowledgment that the Midwest is perhaps the most emblematic regions of the United States today. Stereotypes both good and bad abound about Midwesterners, but in this incisive yet poignant book, John Jakle reveals a rich and telling portrait of the contemporary Midwest and its people.

In engaging prose, Jakle chronicles his childhood and adult life in the Midwest interwoven with a look at the region’s geographic and cultural history. My Kind of Midwest reveals that the region is more than just a group of “flyover states,” as Jakle tells a engaging narrative that recounts his youthful explorations of the flourishing cities of Detroit and Chicago in the 1940s

the rapid growth and importance of gateway cities such as Omaha, Kansas City, and Cincinnati along the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri rivers

and the integral role of tourism to Midwestern states’ economies.

An intimate and compelling narrative of one man’s connection to the American landscape, My Kind of Midwest will be essential reading for all those with ties to the heartland.

America’s Main Street Hotels: Transiency and Community in the Early Auto Age
ISBN: 1572336552

Univ Tennessee Press. 2009

In small cities and towns across the United States, Main Street hotels were iconic institutions. They were usually grand, elegant buildings where families celebrated special occasions, local clubs and organizations honored achievements, and communities came together to commemorate significant events. Often literally at the center of their communities, these hotels sustained and energized their regions and were centers of culture and symbols of civic pride. America's main street hotels catered not only to transients passing through a locality, but also served local residents as an important kind of community center.

This new book by John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle, two leading experts on the nation_s roadside landscape, examines the crucial role that small- to mid-sized city hotels played in American life during the early decades of the twentieth century, a time when the automobile was fast becoming the primary mode of transportation. Before the advent of the interstate system, such hotels served as commercial and social anchors of developing towns across the country. America’s Main Street Hotels provides a thorough survey of the impact these hotels had on their communities and cultures.

The authors explore the hotels' origins, their traditional functions, and the many ups and downs they experienced throughout the early twentieth century, along with their potential for reuse now and in the future. The book details building types, layouts, and logistics

how the hotels were financed

hotel management and labor

hotel life and customers

food services

changing fads and designs

and what the hotels are like today.

Brimming with photographs, this book looks at hotels from coast to coast. Its exploration of these important local landmarks will intrigue students, scholars, and general readers alike, offering a fascinating look back at that recent period in American history when even the smallest urban places could still look optimistically toward the future.

John A. Jakle is emeritus professor of geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Keith A. Sculle is the head of research and education for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. He and Professor Jakle have coauthored The Gas Station in America

Motoring: The Highway Experience in America

Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age

Signs in America_s Auto Age: Signatures of Landscape and Place

and Lots of Parking: Land Use in a Car Culture. With Jefferson S. Rogers, they are also coauthors of The Motel in America.

Remembering Roadside America: Preserving the Recent Past as Landscape and Place
ISBN: 1572338237

Univ Tennessee Press. 2011

The use of cars and trucks over the past century has remade American geography—pushing big cities ever outward toward suburbanization, spurring the growth of some small towns while hastening the decline of others, and spawning a new kind of commercial landscape marked by gas stations, drive-in restaurants, motels, tourist attractions, and countless other retail entities that express our national love affair with the open road. By its very nature, this landscape is ever changing, indeed ephemeral. What is new quickly becomes old and is soon forgotten.

In this absorbing book, John Jakle and Keith Sculle ponder how “Roadside America” might be remembered, especially since so little physical evidence of its earliest years survives. In straightforward and lively prose, supplemented by copious illustrations—historic and modern photographs, advertising postcards, cartoons, roadmaps—they survey the ways in which automobility has transformed life in the United States. Asking how we might best commemorate and preserve this part of our past—which has been so vital economically and politically, so significant to the cultural aspirations of ordinary Americans, yet so often ignored by scholars who dismiss it as kitsch—they propose the development of an actual outdoor museum that would treat seriously the themes of our roadside history.

Certainly, museums have been created for frontier pioneering, the rise of commercial agriculture, and the coming of water- and steam-powered industrialization and transportation, especially the railroad. Is now not the time, the authors ask, for a museum forcefully exploring the automobile’s emergence and the changes it has brought to place and landscape? Such a museum need not deny the nostalgic appeal of roadsides past, but if done properly, it could also tell us much about what the authors describe as “the most important kind of place yet devised in the American experience.”

John A. Jakle is Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Keith A. Sculle is the former head of research and education at the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. They have coauthored such books as America’s Main Street Hotels: Transiency and Community in the Early Automobile Age

Motoring: The Highway Experience in America

Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age

and The Gas Station in America.

Picturing Illinois: Twentieth-Century Postcard Art from Chicago to Cairo
ISBN: 0252036824

University of Illinois Press. 2012

The American picture postcard debuted around the start of the twentieth century, creating an enthusiasm for sending and collecting postcard art that continued for decades. As a form of popular culture, scenic postcards strongly influenced how Americans conceptualized both faraway and nearby places through portrayals of landscapes, buildings, and historic sites. In this gloriously illustrated history of the picture postcard in Illinois, John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle study a rich and diverse set of images that chronicle what Illinoisans considered attractive, intriguing, and memorable. They also discuss how messages written on postcards reveal the sender's personal interpretation of local geography and scenery.

The most popularly depicted destination was Chicago, America's great boomtown.Its portraits are especially varied, showing off its high-rise architecture, its teeming avenues, and the vitality of its marketplaces and even slaughterhouses. Postcards featuring downstate locales, however, elaborated and reinforced stereotypes that divided the state, portraying the rest of Illinois as the counterpoint to Chicago's urban bustle. Scores of cards from Springfield, Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, Urbana-Champaign, Quincy, and Vandalia emphasize wide-open prairies, modest civic edifices, and folksy charm. The sense of dichotomy between Chicago and the rest of Illinois was, of course, a substantial fallacy, since the city's very prosperity depended upon the entire state's fertile farmlands, natural resources, and small industries.

Jakle and Sculle follow this dialogue between urban Chicago and rural downstate as it is illustrated on two hundred vintage postcards, observing both their common conventions and their variety. They also discuss the advances in printing technology in the early 1900s that made mass appeal possible. Providing rich historical and geographical context, Picturing Illinois: Twentieth-Century Postcard Art from Chicago to Cairo illustrates the picture postcard's significance in American popular culture and the unique ways in which Illinoisans pictured their world.

The Garage: Automobility and Building Innovation in America's Early Auto Age
ISBN: 1572339586

Univ Tennessee Press. 2013



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