"Cream and Sugar?" - The Coffee Pot in Austin, Indiana, 1935

by Michael Boss
Gouache on Rag Board
11" X 17"

From the Collection of Carol Hobbs, Hill City, Kansas

The big curve along Highway 31, about a mile south of Austin, Indiana, seemed like the perfect place for travelers to stop for coffee. Long before Interstate 65 was built, US 31 was the main route between Indianapolis and Louisville, Kentucky. What better attraction for a coffee shop than a coffee pot?! The idea for this rather stunning example of Roadside Americana, or Vernacular Architecture, came from Louisville businessman J.G. Bennett, and was built in 1929 along the west side of the curve.

The first floor included the kitchen and a coffee room. Upstairs was a dining room with windows for a picturesque view of the countryside. The Coffee Pot sold drinks, eats and gasoline for about ten years. It remained closed before, during and after World War Two. During 1950, the Eugene Millers purchased the building for a home. They made additions and lived on the premises until 1957. The land was needed for a larger development and the Coffee Pot was demolished in 1960.
The painting was based on photos taken not long after the Coffee Pot's opening.