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Wednesday, February 10, 2016
History of the Motel
The names are familiar:
Holiday Inn, Ramada Inn, Motel 6, Howard Johnson, Travelodge and many
others. They are motels that you may
have stayed at, they are along every highway and some back roads across our
great land. You mostly like have visited one or more of them during your travels.
But do you know what was the first motel in the United States?
If you thought it was located somewhere along the east
coast you would wrong. The first motel
in the United States was the ‘Motel Inn’ located in San Luis Obispo,
California. Not only do they claim it was the first in our country, but they also claim was the first motel in the
San Luis Obispo is a town located halfway between Los
Angeles and San Francisco, California.
Architect Arthur Heineman built the first motel in 1925.
Rates were cheap, $1.25 per night for a 2
room ‘suite’ which included a small kitchen.
You won’t believe it but it also gave you a garage so your car had a nice
place to stay for the night too! Unfortunately,
the Motel Inn closed its door in 1991.
Staying in a motel, (the word motel means ‘motor hotel’),
was only for those of wealth and privilege back then. You had to have a car to go to a motel and
not many could afford one. If people
traveled at all they camped out. If they didn’t camp out they stayed at
home. I guess they could have coined the
In today’s world of travel there are more motels than you
can name. Besides the national chain
motels you have the mom and pop old time, old fashioned motels spread out here
and there. They are few and far between,
but some offer cheap rates due to the lack of amenities. A clean room, a basic TV and easy access to
the highway is about all you get.
Abby during one of our road trips
When we first started traveling between New Jersey and
Tennessee the first motel we stayed at was such a mom and pop place. It was the first time our dog was to stay at
a motel and we didn’t know how she would react.
The motel we choose was not busy at all and we had a room far from any of
the other guests. It was small, but it
was clean and that was the motel that proved our dog was OK at a motel. After that night we opted for the Holiday Inn
There are, however, some mom and pop family run motels
that have been in business for centuries and they truly care about their
facilities. While they may be old, they
are updated and WIFI isn’t a foreign word.
There is one in particular that I will tell you about in an upcoming
When you book your next motel stay, don’t expect to pay
$1.25 and get a garage! Times have
change and so has the cost of the room and the amenities!