Special Report

Classic Images of Motels and Inns From Past and Present

Source: Public Domain / Library of Congress

Coronado Motel, Pueblo, Colorado

The 1940s Coronado Motel in Pueblo was included in the Green Book of establishments that were welcoming to African Americans during the segregation era and is now in the National Register of Historic Places. It was also featured in the 1983 Chevy Chase movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”

Source: Public Domain / Library of Congress

Eldon Motel, Eldon, Missouri

The Randles Court Motel in Eldon was built in the early 1930s. It was originally known as the Boots Tavern and Boots Cottage Court and was taken over by Helen Randles in 1947. Part of the property was damaged by fire in 2017 and it took another hit from a tornado in 2019.

Source: Public Domain / Library of Congress

The Smith Motor Court, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Smith’s Motor Court in Myrtle Beach had a classic layout of single-story adjoining rooms facing a courtyard. The city has boomed in recent years but has lost some of its treasures, including Smith’s and the Chesterfield Inn and the Myrtle Beach Pavilion, which were demolished. It still has the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove on the Boardwalk, which claims to be the “nation’s largest gift shop.”

Source: Public Domain / Library of Congress

Del Camino Motel, El Paso, Texas

The 1930s-era, mission-style Del Camino was said to have been the second-largest motel in the world at one time. It had 275 rooms and included a dining room, coffee shop, and swimming pool. At one point it even had a bullfighting museum. The building was condemned and demolished in 1993.

Source: Public Domain / Library of Congress

Motel Inn, San Luis Obispo, California

The Motel Inn in San Luis Obispo is said to have been the world’s first motel. It opened in 1925 and closed in 1991. The building is now the administrative office for the Apple Farm Inn next door.