Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This study of the Quonset Auditorium, one roadhouse among many on the regular tour route of R&B, gospel and country musicians in the post-World War II era (1947- 1959), illustrates the important role of roadhouses during a time of growth and change in popular music. It situates memories and experiences from the Quonset Auditorium in relation to regional and national movements of the day such as highway development, commercial and popular music, and the civil rights movement. With hindsight, we can see that the Quonset Auditorium stood at a crossroads as regards these social and technological movements of the post-WW II era and the metaphor of crossroads has been applied throughout this study. Roadhouses have received little detailed attention in literature about commercial music, and this study has meant to provide details from the Quonset Auditorium in order to flesh out the generalizations often made about roadhouses, and touring. This study has drawn primarily on oral accounts collected from a variety of individuals: musicians who performed there, past audience members and people with second hand memories of the Quonset. It also utilizes historical documents relating to the Quonset Auditorium in university yearbooks, newspapers and ledgers from show poster companies.


Anthropology | Folklore | Place and Environment | Sociology