Wally Trindade, Tucson motels
Hi Andy - I got your web site from the San Jose State Alumni magazine. I'm a music teacher at Cabrillo College in Aptos and also the leader of Wally's Swing World, a popular Bay Area Jazz band. Anyway, I love your site and wanted to make sure you were aware of a wonderful strip of road called the Miracle Mile (no, NOT Wilshire Blvd.) but the one off I-10 near downtown Tucson AZ. Both sides of the street are lined with classic motels. Me and my wife and kids discovered it last summer while on vacation. We're always on the lookout for stuff like this when traveling, but this blew our minds because it was so concentrated, one cool place after another, and old restaurants (still open) too.
Jeff Rogers, Motel Research
Hi - this is Jeff Rogers. I am one of the authors of "The Motel in America" that you cite and quote on your Motel Americana website. I am a Geography prof at The Univ of Tennessee at Martin.
I was talking to a USAToday reporter (Laura Bly) who has written a feature article on Holiday Inn's 50th anniversary and she asked if I had seen your website. I am ashamed to admit I was completely unaware of it, but it's now bookmarked on my internet browser . . .
I just wanted to let you know that I am very impressed with both the content, design, and good spirit of Motel Americana. I also greatly appreciate your kind words for and references to "The Motel in America".
It's interesting that you compare Holiday Inn to Wal-Mart. I authored the chapter on Holiday Inn for the book and I have launched a prospective research project where I will systemtically examine the fate of abandoned Wal-Marts in the Mid-South. Eventually, I would like to extend the research to other types of places to present a broad view of how Americans "recycle" their built and physical landscapes.
Again, my compliments to your and your wife on your website and thanks for citing the book.
John Hammond, Clarksville, TN Motel
[A great motel] still stands with that great sign along US 41A in Clarksville, TN. Many motels lined that route in the Hopkinsville, KY-Clarksville area due to being approximately 1 days drive from the Chicago area. This was the main route from the mid-west to Florida. My grandparents ran a couple of motels in the Hopkinsville area during the 60's. My earliest memories are of the wires of the switchboards and greeting of the weary travelers hoping to hear exotic tales of Florida, Rock City etc. I can also remember the pink neon numbers which were above the doors for each unit. Unfortunately, only one, the Little River still stands. It does still have its original sign though. There are still quite a few motels from Hopkinsville through to Nashville.
Thornton, Steve, Montana & Idaho motels
I think I've got some good ones from the Highline -- US 2 across the northern tier, plus other places. I notice you only have a couple from Montana -- we stayed at Jim Bridger Courts last summer. Maybe more to follow this year as we head down OR -- CA -- NV - AZ - UT in search of national parks (and relatives). Your site is awesome, it's an idea I've had many times before, from a trip to Reno and the motels up and down the Aurora strip here in Seattle. But ideas aren't worth diddly; you did it. And it's a beautiful thing. These places are disappearing. Keep up the good work.
Clarke Ingram, Van Wert, OH
I'm back from another road trip with more motel news, this time from Van Wert, Ohio. The old Tourotel just east of town, which has been closed for probably 30 years, has finally been torn down. It appears that the owners, who had been using the motel for storage, have built a barn on the property. Stripe's Westgate Motel on the west side (which has been Stripe's as long as I can remember) has changed its name to the Economy Inn, but is still in business, while the Restwell Motel further west on old US 30 has been converted to apartments. Finally, there is good news from Green Bay, Wisconsin regarding the Packer City Motel, which I reported as closed and gone last year. The motel is still there, and is open, but has replaced its old neon sign with a plastic one, which must be why I missed it driving through the area at night last year. Green Bay has some other glorious old motels, including the Arena Motel next to Lambeau Field, the Bay Motel (with a radio speaker in the ceiling of every room!) and the Valley Motel with its wonderful old neon sign. . . By the way, old two-lane Route 30 through Van Wert is a real treat - lots of Lincoln Highway markers, great neon signage from the 1940's and 1950's, two drive-in theaters (the Van-Del and the Ridgeway) still operating, and three, count 'em, THREE sets of new Burma-Shave signs along the roadside!
Wiley Brewer, Wigwam Village
Hello and thanks for having your web site, I enjoy looking at the differant places you have listed here. I have some photographs of the Wigwam Village in Cave City Kentucky. I know you have a section on them , I was just wondering if you would like to have some up to date photos of the place. I have stopped here for many years and it remains the best place for me. It still is in business today and welcomes all to visit. This is only my small way in helping the Wigwam remain open by offering my photos. . .
Mike Nicholson, Route 66 in TX
Beautiful site. The Parts about Shamrock and McLean are great. I was born and raised Just on the South side of McLean, just to the E. of the Gray County Barn. I have just recently moved back to here after an absence of 25 years. Lots of changes. The only thing I noticed was that the Cadillac Ranch W. of Amarillo, was "done" by Stanley Marsh, not March. Yall have done a great job with the site, by the way, the old boy and the tail lite in Shamrock. His was probably out for months and maybe both of them were out. I was a Deputy Sheriff in Shamrock back in the late 60's. Keep up the good work
Wayne Monroe, TENN memories
Our family used to travel through Chattanooga in the 1950's and stayed in area motels from time to time. We normally used US41 through the city. I am trying to find pictures and information about a motel that, to the best of memory, was located on Main street just before US41 turned left (going north) onto Broadway. For any of your people who can recall, I seem to remember that it appeared to be stucco and had a two word name. Could be Alamo Plaza?
Posted March, 2002
Wiley, Greetings from Kentucky
Hello Friend, I liked looking at your site about the Motels, I live in Louisville Ky and have grown up on the once big Hambugers you once could get at Wigwam Village, The Resturant of course has been close for about 30 years now. I still like to go and photograph the place still. Your photos were great of the Caveland too and Star. I will send you some of my Wigwam Photos if you would like to put them on here too. Just let me know,
Here is one I like Best
Posted February, 2002
Steve Matsumura, Santa Cruz or Monterey Motels
I saw the article in "VIA" (AAA) Magazine, interesting! I was wondering, do you have any information on motels strictly along the calif. coast (S.F. to Santa Cruz or Monterey)? I once saw a postcard of a motel somewhere in the Half Moon Bay/Princeton-by-Sea area. It was funky looking, single story type architecture with its own restaurant off to the side; located right by the breakwater (of course, with all the recent storms in the past, I don't know if it was washed out to sea). Would you by any chance have any knowledge of a place like this? I thought it was called "Johnson's Pier Inn" or something to that effect. If you can help me with some information of such an existence and location I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you in advance.
Drew Knowles, Yukon Motel and Big 8 Motels
Did you know that the signs for both the Yukon Motel and the Big 8 have been taken down? Yes, amazingly sad, but true--both classic pieces have been replaced with cheap modern plexi replacements.
Drew Knowles - author of the Route 66 Adventure Handbook
Charles Roth, Coral Court Motel
My first inkling that the Coral Courts Motel situated on City Route 66, just outside the City Limits of St. Louis was other than just a regular motel came when I was 18 years old, working a day job in a dry goods warehouse and hopping cars at the old Parkmoor Drive-in a few nights a week.
After midnight when the restaurant closed I would usually hitchhike back to my boarding house, hoping for a free ride that would save me the bus fare and on a number of occasions I was picked up by young men a few years older than I. They were usually in a pretty good mood and full of stories about what they had been doing earlier in the evening. In several instances it turned out that they had been out on a date that wound up in a short stay with their ladies at the Coral Courts. How these young Lotharios would brag, educating a potential customer for the motel.
To look at it, the Coral Courts, a series of tan firebrick buildings built in the art-deco fashion and sprawled over several acres looked to be just as advertised, a wayside stop for tourists and their families. What one found out later was that the back portion of the property was just that, with green lawns, swings and gliders; an idyllic setting for the weary traveler. It was the units up front that really made the money, often turning over several times a night.
While the office fronted the highway, the circular drive took you around to the back of it where you pulled up, and if you were a regular tourist you would get out of your vehicle, climb up a set of six or seven stone steps and register in a normal fashion.
If, on the other hand, you were looking for private accommodations for romance, you drove up, stopped your car and waited. Very shortly a maid would come down the stairs with an armful of linens, stoop down and scrutinize you closely, and without a word being said, would direct you to a particular unit in a particular building where she would meet you.
The units had an attached garage, although a very narrow one because the place had been built at a time when the cars were much narrower than those in the 50║s, and you had to be very careful pulling in and out or, to my sorrow one time, you could scrape your car on the garage doorway.
You entered the unit through the garage and inside you found the maid who had checked the room for clean linens and towels and who handed you a small white printed registration card on which you registered. Very informal and it is doubtful that among the Smiths and Jones there was ever a legitimate name. The maid║s watch was checked and you were left a card telling you when your time was up. Four hours later as I recall it and if you were still there, you could count on the phone ringing and the Desk Clerk suggesting that you either re-register or depart.
The motel was connected with a kidnapping crime involving a young child with the surname of Greenlease and with a scandal involving the ransom money (all of which can be documented in the local papers at that time) but other than that it actually had a decent reputation. They apparently looked after the interests of their clientel as I can testify from an experience that I had there one night.
At one point in the 60's I had a bright yellow Dodge Station Wagon with the wood decal sides. I mean bright and I mean yellow! During the time that I drove it I only saw one other in the entire metropolitan area of St. Louis. If you saw that vehicle, it had to be me or some other unknown person.
One night two couple of us had been out wining and dining pretty heavily and when we parted I wound up with my lady at the Coral Courts, leaving him and his lady at their motel. Having had a fair amount to drink and with one dented fender to my credit, I decided not to attempt to park in the garage and left the vehicle out in the parking area provided.
A few hours later my friend with whom I had been carousing earlier drove by, saw my vehicle and decided he'd stop by, wake us up and we could all have breakfast together. He knew where I was headed, know for sure it was my wagon so decided to knock on some doors to get us up, for either breakfast or a continuation of the party from the night before.
Management saw him walking the lot, apprehended him, assured him that no one he knew was there and that if he preferred police assistance to remove himself from the premises, they would be glad to provide it.
I am sure that past experience had resulted in encounters with disgruntled husbands, boyfriends and probably even private detective and they knew just how to handle it.
It's been 30 years or so since I was a guest and, as I look back on it, I have to be one of literally thousands who reflect on our times there with a smile on our face . . . ladies too!
C Milton Stoddard, "Sunset Motel" in Massillon, OH
Just saw your web page and thought I would ask you a question. Don't know if you can help me out or not but here goes. Was trying to find any information on a "Sunset Motel" in Massillon, Ohio on Lincoln Hwy. East in the late 50's or early 60's. It was yellow and white with a big white house in front with the motel in the back. Across the street was a Howard Johnson. My father owned it and would sure like to see any information you have on it or how to find it. Thanks so much.
Joe in Cerritos, Chalet Motel on Route 66 in Flagstaff
Just a short note. Your web site was featured with others in LA Times on Sunday, 2/17/02.
Twice in the past 2 years we stayed at Chalet Motel on route 66 in Flagstaff, AZ several times. This is a place probably built in the early 60's when route 66 was the only way through northern Arizona. We have returned to Flagstaff seveal times a year since 1998 as our daughter attends NAU. The Chalet is a budget motel on route 66. We would return there but the upkeep isn't all it should be. Stained towels, dirty carpet, etc is a turn off. There are many vintage motels in Flagstaff along 66, maybe some might be in nicer condition? Worth checking out.
Tom Hoffman , Hillside Motel, Knoxville Maryland
I just found this site and I love it! The only motel chain I ever use is Motel 6. All the others are ripoffs. If there's no Motel 6 where I'm going, I rustle up a mom and pop.
I'm a native of Washington DC now living in Radford VA, 275 miles to the southwest. I maintain a lot of ties to the Washington area, though and return there several times a year to visit friends, have lunch with former co workers, and revisit old haunts. Most of the time, I get a room at the Hillside Motel in Knoxville MD, on U.S. 340 at the Potomac River bridge. This is about three miles from the popular tourist destination of Harpers Ferry WV. I then take a commuter train from Brunswick MD into downtown Washington each day.
The Hillside is a classic old motel of uncertain age. The office is in a separate building in front of two wings where the rooms are. The rooms are very basic but passable. Window air conditioners, but no phones in the room. A single is $40.00 including tax. There is a diner-type restaurant called Cindy Dee's directly across the street. It used to be open all night but now closes at 9. It has jukeboxes at the tables with country music. Killer bacon and eggs.
On a humorous note, the Hillside is located on Keep Tryst Road. I'm not kidding.
By staying there I save a boatload of money over motels closer to Washington, even after adding the train fare of $11.75 round trip. And I don't have to fight Washington traffic either. When I make these trips, I never drive within 50 miles of the city.
Has anyone besides me ever noticed this: the more you pay for a room, the further you have to hike from your car? Stay at the Hillside, and you park in front of your door. Drive 40 miles down to Gaithersburg, and you'll pay $90 or more for the room. Then you'll have to tote your luggage up steps and/or down a corridor to your room.
Isn't this backwards? Isn't convenience something most people expect to pay for? In the motel business, it seems to be the exact opposite.
Carolyn Hasenfratz, John's Modern Cabins
Your web site has been one of my favorites for a long time. I am a member of the Route 66 Association of Missouri and we are currently trying to save an old motel called Johns Modern Cabins, or at least part of it. I have put together a web page that tells about the motel and our preservation efforts. Please take a look at it and if you would like to link to it we would appreciate it very much.
John's Modern Cabins News
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