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Collections: Local Vintage Matchbooks

Updated: Nov 20

Matchbooks are a form of lost art. It used to be completely normal to grab matchbooks from places like breakfast diners, fancy restaurants, bars, and motels. They were considered tiny souvenirs from trips. And most importantly— a solid form of advertising for businesses.

Several years ago, I started collecting vintage matchbooks from businesses in my hometown of Springfield, Missouri.

Some of the businesses were around when I was a kid, but most of them have been long gone for decades.

Once I started collecting them, I realized how fun it was because it was a challenge to find the good ones. Collections would be boring if we could find everything we were looking for after one trip to the flea market.

vintage matchbooks on coffee table

I decided to display my vintage matchbooks on my coffee table. It's a prime spot for me to see them on a daily basis, and friends can sift through them when they come over.

There are a lot of different ways to display matchbooks, but I like to put mine inside the glass dishes from a vintage snack set like this. I also used part of this set to display my perfume on my bedroom vanity.

vintage matchbooks on coffee table

I thought it would be nice and satisfying to line up each matchbook and snap a couple photos. It was also a good excuse to do some dusting.

If you're curious, I find the majority of these matchbooks at local estate sales and online auctions. And sometimes I'll find a some good ones at the flea market. Either way, they are always a treat!

vintage matchbook collection

Wooden Nickel Restaurant / Hoover Music / Lucy's / Heer's Garden Room / Venture / Hotel Davidson / Brooks Potato Chips / Missouri Home Savings / The Vintage House / J. Parrino's / Mille's Cafe / Farmers & Merchants Bank / Yellow Bonnet / Bamboo Inn / Steak & Ale / Leong's / Wal-Mart / Shady Inn / Freeman's / George's / W.F. Codys / Mrs. Brown's / Steak & Shake / Maple Restaurant / Gee's

The Shady Inn was my grandparents favorite restaurant. It was fancy steakhouse and cocktail lounge with sounds of a piano playing in the background. I remember going there with my family in the late 90s, but it closed in 2001. It was in business for over 50 years!

vintage matchbook collection

Heers / Shoney's / Heritage Cafeteria / Skyline Motel / The Grove / The Vintage House / Munchies / Springfield Little Theater / Country Kitchen / Harter House / Tiny's / Steak and Ale / Moseley's / Greene County Dairy / Arrowhead Restaurant / Clary's / The Bar Next Door / George's / Afterhours / Sir Gregorys / Auto Magic / Pizza Inn / Hooten's / Aunt Martha's / University Plaza / KOLR 10 / Pittsburgh Plate Glass / Holiday Lanes / Wendy's

There are two restaurants that I desperately miss from this list—Aunt Martha's Pancake House and The Heritage Cafeteria. If you know, you know.

Do you recognize any old haunts from these photos?

xoxo, Jacki

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