The Curt Teich Postcard Archives housed at the Lake County Discovery Museum in northern Illinois seems to be one of those happy convergences of documentation, history, place and manufacturing.
Here's a brief history of the Curt Teich company pulled from the museum's website:
The core collection in the Teich Archives, acquired by the Lake County Discovery Museum in 1982, is the industrial archives of the Curt Teich Company of Chicago,which operated from 1898 to 1978 as the world's largest printer of view and advertising postcards. The Company was founded by Curt Otto Teich (1877 - 1974),who immigrated to the United States from Lobenstein, Germany in 1896.
The Teich Company saved examples of every image printed, as well as company records and the original production materials for each card.
The core collection consists of over 360,000 cataloged images, 1898 to 1978, relating to 10,000 towns and cities primarily in the United States and Canada, and more than 87 other foreign countries.
The images range from bucolic countrysides to banal industrial shots to retro-y promotional materials like the one above of the "Admiral Oasis Auto Hotel" in Morton Grove, IL.
The archive's digital site, which features about 16,000 images, is a bit clunky and frustrating to search. It's part of a greater online archive of northern Illinois historical material called Digital Past.
If you're even a little bit of a history buff, it's fun to dig around in.