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12 Unusual Drive-Through Services

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While drive-through windows are often found attached to fast food restaurants and banks, sometimes unlikely businesses also tempt customers with the convenience of staying in your car. Here are 12 of them.

1. A LITTLE WHITE WEDDING CHAPEL // LAS VEGAS

With wedding packages starting at $75 (plus the cost of a marriage license), A Little White Wedding Chapel is mostly known for its “Tunnel of Love Drive-Thru.” Since 1951, the Las Vegas chapel has been the prime site for “quickie” weddings, including the ones of notable celebrities such as Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, and Britney Spears and Jason Allen Alexander. They even have an on-site Elvis Presley impersonator, just in case you need “a hunk, a hunk of burnin’ love!”

2. ROBERT L. ADAMS MORTUARY DRIVE-THRU // COMPTON, CALIFORNIA

Established in 1974, the Robert L. Adams Mortuary Drive-Thru in Compton, California aims to “bring the business of death and a convenience of the living” together. The funeral home offers drive-through viewings of the recently deceased behind bullet-proof glass.

"You can come by after work, you don't need to deal with parking, you can sign the book outside and the family knows that you paid your respects," owner Peggy Scott Adams told The Los Angeles Times. "It's a convenience thing."

3. SMARTMART // MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

 

Smartmart is a gas station and automated drive-through convenience store in Memphis, Tennessee. Customers drive up to one of the store’s four ATM-like touchscreen display kiosks to select the items they’d like to buy. Once purchased, a series of conveyor belts and computer-operated dispensers go to work to search and assemble your order, as it spits out your items underneath the kiosk itself.

4. DAIQUIRI BAY CAFE // METAIRIE, LOUISIANA

Believe it or not, there’s a bar in New Orleans that serves alcoholic beverages from a drive-through window. The Daiquiri Bay Cafe (DBC Bar & Grill) is a unique drinking experience in Louisiana. Due to the very loose open container laws in New Orleans, you can drive up to a service window and buy a strawberry daiquiri as long as it’s served in a closed container without a straw inside.

5. CHRISTIAN LIFE CENTER // FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA

If you’re driving down West Commercial Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale and have a sudden need to find solace and meaning in life, then pull into the Christian Life Center’s “Divine Drive-Thru.” Every Friday, the church’s prayer team joins motorists behind the wheel in a prayer to God.

“We want to be able to minister to our community here in Broward County,” Pastor Sol Levy told 7 News Miami. “And what better way would there be than to catch people driving home from work?”

6. CHANDELIER DRIVE-THRU TREE // LEGGETT, CALIFORNIA

Ramakrishna Gundra via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

It's more of an attraction than a service, but in 1937, the Underwood Family added the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree to attract more people to their grove in Leggett, California (about 180 miles north of the San Francisco Bay area). Over the decades, the site has become a popular tourist site, as most cars and motorcycles can fit through the nearly 7-foot high drive-through inside of the 276-foot coast redwood tree.

7. KOCIAN LAW FIRM // MANCHESTER, CONNECTICUT

The offices of the Kocian Law Firm’s Manchester, Connecticut branch used to be the location of a Kenny Rogers Roasters fast food chicken restaurant. Instead of remodeling the building, the firm’s lawyers decided to keep the drive-through window and use it to offer their clients convenient law services.

"We represent a lot of injured people," said attorney Nick Kocian to NBC Connecticut. "If you have somebody who's in a wheelchair or somebody who's hurt, it's convenient."

8. SIMCOE DRIVE THRU ART GALLERY // SIMCOE, ONTARIO

The Downtown Simcoe Drive Thru Art Gallery is an annual community art show in the heart of the small town of Simcoe, Ontario. People can simply drive down Peel Street to view murals, banners, and paintings created by fellow townspeople. Each piece is placed along town streets and free to view.

9. FARM STORES // VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN FLORIDA

Since 1957, Farm Stores has been an all-in-one grocery store, bakery, and restaurant serving fresh fruits, vegetables, and milk to their customers. With dozens of locations throughout the state of Florida, Farm Stores is an easy way to go shopping. Just pull into one of two drive-through lanes and tell the attendant what you want and they’ll fulfill your order. All without leaving your car.

10. DRIVE-THRU VOTING BOOTHS // MARTINEZ, CALIFORNIA

In Martinez, California, the Contra Costa County Clerk of Elections Department set up a drive-thru voting booth so citizens could simply drop off their ballots instead of finding a parking space, walking into the building, and waiting in line to vote.

"We have a lot of foot traffic that traditionally comes into the office, clogs the parking lot, clogs other business going on in the office," Assistant Registrar of Voters Scott Konopasek told ABC 7 News in the Bay Area.

11. WESTERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY // WESTERVILLE, OHIO

 
The Westerville Public Library has been an institution in Westerville, Ohio since it first opened in 1930. And to make things easier for their patrons, the Westerville Public Library opened a drive-thru window in 1999. Now the people of Westerville can reserve items online and pick them up without leaving their cars.

12. SAYRE WOODS BIBLE CHURCH // OLD BRIDGE, NEW JERSEY

Every Christmas, members of Sayre Woods Bible Church in Old Bridge, New Jersey put on "A Drive Through the Christmas Story," a live-action re-creation of the birth of Jesus Christ told through 10 vignettes. Drivers are given a CD that includes holiday music and narration, which they can play as they drive through the elaborate Nativity scene. It’s free, open to the public, and runs through the majority of the holiday season.

"A Drive Through the Christmas Story is an outdoor display of 10 life-size Bible scenes depicting the events concerning the birth of the Savior," RoxAnne Tauriello, the creator of the drive-thru, told USA Today. "What you'll see are live characters in New Testament wardrobe, live animals, special backdrops in open buildings that will house the characters with special props and lighting, and you will hear holiday music and the related scripture verses to the Christmas story as you go on a guided tour all within the convenience of your own car."

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Jack Taylor, Getty Images
8 Arresting Facts About Scotland Yard
Jack Taylor, Getty Images
Jack Taylor, Getty Images

Depicted in fiction for well over a century as the world's premier police force, Scotland Yard might be the most famous banner for law enforcement in history. Though the name itself is officially a term for the location of the London Metropolitan Police headquarters, it’s taken on a colloquial use to describe the collective brain trust of that station’s patrolmen and detectives. Here’s what we’ve deduced about the past, present, and future of this historic—and sometimes controversial—institution.

1. IT GOT ITS NAME FROM A TRICKY BIT OF GEOGRAPHY.

London didn’t have a formal police force until 1829, when Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel arranged for a squad to replace the fractured system of watchmen, street patrols, and the River Police. Colonel Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne were tasked with organizing the force: Mayne’s house at 4 Whitehall Place opened to an adjacent courtyard that had once been a medieval palace that hosted Scottish royalty while they were in London. This “Great Scotland Yard,” which was also reportedly the name of the street behind the building, became synonymous with Rowan and Mayne’s efforts to create a new era in law enforcement.

2. CHARLES DICKENS TAGGED ALONG ON PATROLS.

Author Charles Dickens poses for a photo
London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images

The renowned author of Great Expectations and other literary classics wasn’t a policeman, but he did perform the 19th-century equivalent of a ride-along. Dickens was friends with Charles Frederick Field, a Scotland Yard inspector, and their relationship led to Dickens occasionally accompanying patrolmen on their nightly rounds. He even based a character in his novel Bleak House on Fields.

3. THERE WERE DIRTY COPS AMONG THE RANKS IN THOSE EARLY DAYS.

For all of the public acceptance of Scotland Yard—Londoners were initially wary of the plainclothes cops walking among them—the squad suffered a sensational blow to its image in 1877. Known as the “Turf Fraud Scandal” or the “Trial of the Detectives,” the controversy erupted after a Parisian socialite named Madame de Goncourt was conned by two men named Harry Benson and William Kurr. Scotland Yard inspector Nathaniel Druscovich was dispatched to Amsterdam to capture a fleeing Benson while others pursued Kurr. The men proved surprisingly elusive, which prompted suspicion among Scotland Yard officials. When the two con men were finally arrested, they explained that an inspector named John Meiklejohn was taking bribes in exchange for tipping off Kurr to police activity. Two other policemen were implicated; the three each received two years in prison. The high-profile breach led to a reorganization, with the Yard inserting detectives into a new Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to help minimize misconduct.

4. THEY HELPED PIONEER FINGERPRINTING.

A Scotland Yard employee examines fingerprints
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

At one time, the science of fingerprinting was more of a theory than anything that could be put into practice. Most police forces instead relied on anthropometry, a system created by French police officer Alphonse Bertillon, which used 11 body measurements taken by calipers to provide a unique physical identity for an individual. While fingerprinting was beginning to take off in India in the late 1800s, the English-speaking world didn’t adopt the forensic technique of lifting and matching prints until 1901, when Sir Edward Henry, then the assistant commissioner of Scotland Yard, instituted the Metropolitan Police Fingerprint Bureau. In 1902, a billiard ball thief was convicted based on a fingerprint he left on a windowsill. In 1904, a Yard detective demonstrated the efficacy of fingerprinting at the St. Louis World’s Fair, helping spread the new science to American law enforcement officials.

5. THEIR PATROL OFFICERS DIDN’T CARRY GUNS UNTIL 1994.

The uniformed police officers who wander London’s streets with an eye on keeping the peace were unarmed for most of the 20th century. It wasn’t until 1994 that select patrol officers were permitted to carry guns, a policy shift that stemmed from increased assaults on police. The addition of firearms was limited to armed response cars intended to be dispatched to high-risk calls; previously, officers were instructed to keep their weapons in a lockbox inside their vehicles. Today, 90 percent of Metropolitan police officers go on duty without a gun, a policy largely maintained in response to a relatively low number of guns carried by civilians. Less than four in 100 British citizens own a firearm.

6. THEY HAVE A SQUAD OF “SUPER RECOGNIZERS.”

A surveillance camera is posted in London
Leon Neal, AFP/Getty Images

With surveillance cameras dotting London, facial recognition for identifying criminal suspects is in high demand. But no software can outperform Scotland Yard’s team of “super recognizers,” who are recruited for their ability to match a face to a name based on their own memory. These officers are hired by administering a facial recognition test first implemented by Harvard in 2009. Those in the top percentile have an uncanny ability to retain facial feature details and are often dispatched to cull out known criminals like pickpockets at public gatherings. One such specialist, Constable Gary Collins, identified 180 people out of 4000 while examining footage of the 2011 London riots. Software was able to identify exactly one.

7. THEY KEEP A SECRET CRIME MUSEUM HIDDEN FROM THE PUBLIC.

Housed across two floors at the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in London is the Black Museum, a macabre cavalcade of evidence from nearly 150 years of investigative work. Established in 1875, the collection houses body parts (gallstones that failed to dissolve in acid along with the rest of a murder victim) and seemingly innocuous items that take on sinister connotations: A set of pots and pans that once belonged to Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen and were used to boil human flesh. It’s closed to the public, though visiting law enforcement and sometimes celebrities can secure an invite: Laurel and Hardy and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have toured its inventory. A sample of the collection went on display at the Museum of London in 2015.  

8. YOU COULD LIVE THERE ONE DAY.

The former New Scotland Yard building at 10 Broadway
Jack Taylor, AFP/Getty Images

The Metropolitan Police have changed locations several times over the years. It was situated at its original location of 4 Whitehall Place from 1829 to 1890, then housed in a large Victorian building on the Victoria Embankment from 1890 until 1967. That’s when the operation was moved to a 600,000 square-foot building at 10 Broadway in Westminster: a famous revolving sign announced a New Scotland Yard was taking up residence. In 2014, the building was sold to investors from Abu Dhabi for $580 million: London cited operating expenses and budget cuts as the reasons for the sale. The buyers plan to mount a residential housing project in the spot. Scotland Yard staff moved to a trimmed-down facility at the Curtis Green Building in Westminster and within walking distance of the Houses of Parliament.   

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Are You Eco-Conscious? You Could Win a Trip to the Dominican Republic
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iStock

Do you love lounging on the beach but also want to take action to save the planet? You'll be able to do both if you're chosen to serve as a "sustainability advisor" for a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic, Lonely Planet reports.

The worldwide contest is sponsored by Eden Roc at Cap Cana in Punta Cana. The winner and one friend will receive a five-night stay at the Relais & Châteaux hotel, where they'll partake in specially curated activities like a food-sourcing trip with the hotel's chef. (One caveat, though: Airfare isn't included.)

You don't need a degree in conservation to enter, but you will need an Instagram account. Give the resort's Instagram page (@edenroccapcana) a follow and post a photo of you carrying out an eco-friendly activity on your own page. Be sure to tag the resort and use the official hashtag, #EcoEdenRoc.

The only requirement is that the winner meet with hotel staff at the end of his or her trip to suggest some steps that the hotel can take to reduce its environmental impact. The hotel has already banned plastic straws and reduced its usage of plastic bottles, and the sole mode of transport used on site is the electric golf cart.

Beyond the resort, though, the Dominican Republic struggles with deforestation and soil erosion, and the nation scored poorly on the 2018 Environmental Performance Index for the agricultural category.

Entries to the contest will be accepted until August 31, and you can read the full terms and conditions here.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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