Red apples, polar bears and wishbones

Then: The Red Apple Restaurant and Grocery was at 3421 N. Broadway until about 1950. On its right was a root beer stand and, on its left, a Conoco filling station.

There was a short, delightful era of architecture during the first part of the 1900s, probably not very important or memorable, but an awful lot of fun. Playful architects designed and built numerous structures right out of fantasy land. For lack of a better name, we'll call this the "Folk Art Style."

Filling stations, restaurants and tourists cabins especially were transformed into teepees, igloos, fruit, hats, animals, story-book characters, windmills, lighthouses and numerous other eye-catchers. Perhaps the most famous of this style was the Brown Derby in Hollywood where the stars dined.

Wichita joined in on the fun, too. On the southwest corner of Oliver and Central was the Polar Bear Frozen Custard Stand, housed in a large iceberg. Farther down the street was a prohibition era road house with a picturesque roof right out of the Black Forest, later known as the Wishbone Building.

And my favorite as a child was the Red Apple Restaurant, 3421 N. Broadway, gleaming like a ripe Jonathan, with a crooked green smokestack for a stem. It just had to be explored.

Only the Wishbone is left. It is dismantled and in bad shape but restorable if the will can be found to do it.

Now: The location today is occupied by an auto body shop.