You’ll enjoy your visit to the new Motel Samantha!
Opened by Elbert Holmes on the newly opened (as of 1950) Highway 78 By-Pass, the 30-unit motel boasted air-conditioning, central heat, colored tile baths and plenty of parking.
An open house on December 9-11, 1954 welcomed the community to the new, modern motel
The Motel Samantha was one of two properties owned by Elbert Holmes. The Blue Top Motor Court in Marietta, Georgia had opened in the late 1940s and was a successful motel.
Holmes relocated to Alabama and chose Highway 78 in Oxford as a prime location for his new motel. The highway was a fairly sleepy country road until General Electric Opened a plant in 1952 and the opening of the Motel Samantha signaled a commercial movement to the once sleepy area. A Howard Johnson’s restaurant opened just down the road a short time after the motel. Bucks Coffee Shop on the west end of 78. became a local hangout. A truck stop known as Rainbow Inn, was a popular restaurant. However, it was the beautiful neon sign featuring a light-up American Indian in a headdress that become the most recognizable business on the Highway.
Popular with local visitors, the motel become the go-to spot throughout the 1950s. In the early 1960s, Interstate 20 was built nearly parallel to the highway and, a short time after that a brand new Holiday Inn opened at the intersection of 78 and 21. Oxford had officially arrived.
The Holiday Inn signaled a new era for the town, but hurt the Motel Samantha. Elbert Holmes died in 1964, and his son took over the property. After Elbert’s death, it was decided that The Blue Top Motor Court became too much of a burden and the property was put up for auction.
Information about the motel becomes difficult to find after 1965. I can find local ads for the motel until 1973. I am not totally sure where the motel was exactly located, as it appears the property was torn down.