Beverly Motel
Mobile, AL
Olsson Motel
Mobile, AL
Reid Motel
Greenville, AL

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Alabama, known as the “Heart of Dixie,” has become an uneasy gathering place for immigrants from around the world who have chosen to run motels in small towns across the state. Occasionally, they encounter the rough edge of Alabama’s historically troubled relationship with outsiders but, for the most part, the newcomers have found themselves welcome and have chosen to make their new homes in communities in which “y’all aren’t from around here are you” could easily be city mottoes. Near the Georgia border in Phenix City (spelled that way to differentiate the city from the Arizona version) Kailas Desai has just added new rooms and works to refurbish her office. In Greenville, along highway 31, Dahya Patel has painted the logo for his “Reid Motel” in bright reds and yellows on the satellite dish. Both, strangers to each other, reflect a common ingredient in the changing face of American motel ownership: the value of these “Mom and Pop” establishments in anchoring new families into the fabric of American life.

Attalla, AL, Motel Postcard (click for larger view)

All text copyright Andrew Wood. Photos copyright Jenny Wood and Andy Wood.