Holiday Inn 1956 Directory

Cardboard Motels, Pamphlets and Brochures

In early 1956 Holiday Inn was just beginning to take over as the dominant motel chain. The first Holiday Inn Hotel Courts location opened by Kemmons Wilson at 4941 Summer Ave. in Memphis, Tennessee in the summer of 1952.

HI - Memphis First One

On U.S. 70-79-64
At Memphis, Tenn. City Limits East
120 Rooms & Baths – 100 % Air-Conditioned
Restaurant in Connection
Mailed from Memphis, Tennessee to Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Szukala of Alden, New York on December 6, 1952:
Dear Children,
Well I expect you are at the Doctors now, as it is Friday eve. This place is the nicest we have had, all new. I wish you could see it.

Within two years three more locations would open in Memphis and a few locations across several states.

TN - Memphis

1954 Advertising that ran in Tennessee and Mississippi

By the end of the decade Holiday Inn and their glorious Great Sign would come to dominate the American roadside landscape.

This directory, printed for 1956, shows the chain in its relative infancy. I took the directory and distill it into a few different parts. The first image is the directory entry, the second is a postcard image of the site and the final piece is a view of the location now.

Some of the information was rather difficult to find. I did the best I could to find accurate information on these locations. If I missed something or got something wrong please let me know.

AUBURN, ALABAMA

AL, Auburn

U.S. 280 at Junction State 147, on Florida Short Route 3 1/2 miles north of Auburn, a beautiful college town. Restaurant, television in every room, air-conditioned, swimming pool, telephones in rooms.

HI - Opelika

Status:

Lyman L. Pittman, Innkeeper
Located at the Intersection of U.S. 280 and Ala. 147
Opened: March 1, 1956
Closed: Sometime after 1980

Opelika

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA

AL, Birmingham

US 11 South, Birmingham’s only resort hotel. Near ball park, stadium, fairgrounds. Guest privileges Holiday Beach. Complete convention, sales meeting, exhibit facilities. “Restaurant of Distinction,” drug store, barber, playground, kennel, lawns, service station.

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eBay

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On U.S. 11 South – 9 1/2 Miles West of Downtown Mail Address – Box H – Bessemer, Alabama   16 minutes from downtown Birmingham, 7 acres of comfort and pleasure. 110 air-cond. rooms all on ground floor, parking at bedroom door. Restaurant, Cocktail Lounge-Bar. Children’s playground, swimming pool, other resort activities. Color TV.

BIRMINGHAM
Louis P. Woods, Innkeeper
U.S. 11, South Third Avenue
Opened: November 15, 1954

Part of the building is still standing. The back row of rooms has been long since torn down, the pool filled in and the restaurant building is no more. However, if you look at the satellite image you can see the footprint of the old Holiday Inn. A dive motel known as the Hiway Host currently occupies what is still standing.

Bessemer

PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS

AR, Pine Bluff

In US 65 at Junction with City Route 65. Swimming pool, restaurant, convention facilities, all beds king-size, tile shower and tub combination, room phones, TV, year-round central air conditioning with individual controls, Baby sitters; kennels.

HI - Pine Bluff

Mr. and Mrs. Dallas Biggers, Innkeepers
U.S. 65 at City Route 65
Opened: March 1, 1956

Much of the HI shell still stands. The back rows and part of the front motel building are gone. It is currently Classic Inn.

Pine Bluff

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO

CO, Colorado Springs

On US 85-87 (Denver Highway) at 5700 North Nevada, two miles north of the city. 104 luxurious rooms and suites, all air-conditioned and heated. Swimming pool. All rooms have television, radio and telephones.

HI - Colorado Springs

Opened: October 1, 1955

This one is tricky. I cannot find any trace of what happened to the building. It appears to be long gone.

UPDATE: Thanks to KoHoSo for bringing to my attention that I have a card in my collection that shows what happened to this location after if ceased to be a Holiday Inn.

2989816575_f2d85659dd_o.jpg

Albert Pick Motel
5700 N. Nevada Avenue on Denver Highway 85-87
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Phone: Melrose 3-3876 Teletype CU-8436
104 Air-conditioned rooms, all with radio, television, 24-hour telephone service. Swimming Pool. Sirloin Room, Coffee Shop. No charge for children under 12

After hotelier Albert Pick split from the Holiday Inn chains, he rebranded the property under his name. You can see in the postcard above that it is definitely a Holiday Inn layout.

There is nothing left of this location.

Thanks, KoHoSo

GREAT BEND, KANSAS

KS, Great Bend

On US 50-N in West end of Great Bend (at 5220 West 10th). Large meeting and banquet room, restaurant with small private dining rooms. Barber and beauty shop; service station; swimming pool. Individual heating and air conditioning; telephones.

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Opened: May 18, 1956 (a month later than advertised)
Attached to Alexander’s Cafe

KS, Great Bend - 1956-05-18 - Great Bend Tribune, 18 May 1956, Fri, Page 11

Great Bend Tribune – May 18, 1956

This located ceased to be a Holiday Inn a while back, but the building is entirely intact. The former restaurant appears to be the office for a storage facility that erected sometime in the 1990s.

Great Bend

LAWRENCE, KANSAS

KS, Lawrence

On US 59 at junction with State 10 (23rd St.) in southwest part of city. Excellent restaurant; 52 air-conditioned rooms with free TV. Holiday Room (capacity 100); spacious lobby; service station; complete hotel service. All new, all the best.

HI - Lawrence

Allan E. Hall, Innkeeper
U.S. 59 at Kansas 10
23rd and Iowa Streets
Opened: September 1956

This location was torn sometime after 1991. A Days Inn now stands on the site.

Lawrence

SALINA, KANSAS

KS, Salina

On US 81 (S. Brodway at Armory Rd., 1 1/2 mi. south of US 40. Swimming pool, terrace, play area. Near Smoky Hill SAC air base and Kanapolis Lake (Federal park project). Complete automotive service. Teletype connection with other Holiday Inns.

HI - KS, Salina

Paul Bryant, Innkeeper
U.S. 81 – Broadway at Armory Rd.
Opened: September 21-23, 1956

The Salina Journal - September 21, 1956

The Salina Journal – September 21, 1956

Amazingly, the majority of the former HI is still standing. Not sure when it ceased to be a Holiday Inn, but the Village Inn sign looks like a post-great sign addition, so it may have lasted into the 80s or longer.

Salina

TOPEKA, KANSAS

KS, Topeka

On US 24 about 600 ft. west of cloverleaf junction with US 75 at north edge of city. Fine restaurant; Holiday Room (capacity 100); heated swimming pool. Free TV in each of the 52 air-conditioned rooms. Spacious lobby; full hotel service. All new!

HI - Topeka

Mrs. Grace Friend, Innkeeper
Junction Highway 24 and 75 West
Opened: August 1956

This one is also a bit tricky. Based on the location and the fact there was definitely something with an entrance on this spot, it very could have been here. No matter how you look at it, this location closed a while ago.

Topeka

WICHITA, KANSAS

KS, Wichita

US 54, East (7411 East Kellogg) just a few minutes drive from downtown and from McConnell Air Base, Boeing, Beech and Cessna plants. Glass-enclosed heated swimming pool. Excellent coffee shop; gift shop. AAA approved.

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Gary F. Thomas, Innkeeper
East 54 Highway
7411 East Kellogg
OPENED: December 1954

The building was torn down quite a while ago and nothing remains of the old site.

wichita

ALEXANDRIA, LOUISIANA

LA, Alexandria

US 71, 165, 167 at State 1 (north end McArthur Drive at circle). Easy access to England Air Force Base and downtown. Fifty miles from Fort Polk. Swimming pool.

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The Town Talk – August 23, 1954

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eBay

James P. O’Neal, Innkeeper
U.S. 71, 165 and 167 By-Pass North on State
Highway 1 – McArthur Drive
Opened: May 1955

I had a little bit of trouble finding this one. The only specific address(es) I could find said McArthur Rd. at circle. it was probably in this general area.

Alexandria

CLARKSDALE, MISSISSIPPI

MS, Clarksdale

US 61 North, inside city limits. In the heart of the Delta cotton country, 75 miles south of Memphis. A Holcomb Hotel with Admiral Benbow Inn Restaurant, specializing in seafood. Swimming pool, gift shop, sample rooms, Holiday Room for meetings.

HI - Clarksdale

Teletype: CLKD 185 – Telephone: MAin 4-4391
Enjoy excellent food, in an atmosphere of comfort and convenience. Year-’round air-conditioning with individual controls, swimming pool, TV, advance reservation by Teletype. 24-hour telephone service.

Paul R. Harrington, Innkeeper
U.S. 61, North
1901 State Street
OPENED:  August 8, 1954

The Clarksdale Holiday Inn was the 5th Holiday Inn to open and the first one outside of Memphis. Hotelier Albert Pick franchised this location as part of his growing empire of hotels and motels.

Most of the building is still standing. One of the rows has been torn down, but the covered entrance and restaurant building still stand.

Clarksdale

GREENWOOD, MISSISSIPPI

MS, Greenwood

One mile west of downtown Greenwood on US 82 and US 49-E bypasses. 100% air-conditioned and steam heated. Phone in every room, TV. Beautiful dining room, convention facilities. Everything for family groups and commercial travelers.

HI - Greenwood

1900 Strong Ave. – U.S. 49E and 82 By-Pass
Teletype: Greenwood, Miss. 166 – Telephone: 4472
Enjoy excellent food, comfort and convenience, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Every room has TV and individually controlled air conditioning. Large lobby, 24-hour service, one rate, no extras.
“The fine old innkeeping tradition in a modern setting.”

R.E. Simmons, Innkeeper
Highway 82 and 49, East By-Pass
1900 Strong Avenue
Opened: March 8, 1955 (Grand opening April 1, 1955)

I believe this is still the same building. I don’t have a picture of the old one, so I can’t totally be sure.

Greenwood

HATTIESBURG, MISSISSIPPI

MS, Hattiesburg

US 11 and 49 South (900 Broadway Drive) just off the Clover Leaf. Swimming pool, restaurant, room phones, convention facilities. Wall to wall carpet, TV, tile baths with tub and shower combination, year-round air conditioning with individual controls. Baby sitters; kennels.

HI - Hattiesburg

U.S. Highway 11 South and 49 at Cloverleaf
900 Broadway Drive
Swimming Pool – Air-Conditioned – Restaurant – TV and Telephone in every room.

Charles Wynn, Innkeeper
U.S. 11, South and 49 at Cloverlead
900 Broadway Drive
OPENED: April 1, 1955

Over the past few years this location has gone through a number of changes.

This aerial view shows what once was the restaurant building and the outline of the pool.

hattiesburg

A little while later you can see the restaurant and pool have been torn down.

Hattiesburg2

This more recent street view shows the property has been cleaned up a little and grass is growing where people one swan and ate under the glow of the Great Sign.

hb3

LONG BEACH, MISSISSIPPIMS, Long Beach

US 90 on the Gulf, 6 mi. west of Gulfport, 1 1/2 hrs. east of New Orleans. Stable with ten horses, trail rides, lessons for children. Deep-sea fishing. “The Pub,” Lounge, 1500-ft pier for Gulf Fishing. Year-round swimming pool. Fine golf facilities.

Clarion-Ledger, 02 Nov 1955, Wed, Page 23

Clarion-Ledger – November 2, 1955

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Courtesy of Matchsets

L. Victor Philippi
U.S. 90 – 6 Mi. W. of Gulfport
OPENED- July 1, 1955

I am not going to lie to you – this one has had me stumped. If you’ll notice in the brochure, this Holiday Inn has a completely different sign than the rest of them. Information is hard to come by.

I believe this may have been the location. Most of the waterfront in Long Beach was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Long Beach

NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI

MS, Natchez

Located within city limits at US highway 61-84 by-pass south. 52 air-conditioned rooms, all with radio, television and telephones. Beautiful swimming pool; delicious dining in moderate priced Coffee Shop.

HI - Natchez

The Historical City famous for its Ante-bellum Homes
U.S. Highway 61 North
Ph. 2-3686 – AC: 601 – T.W.X. NHZ 266
Restaurant – Swimming Pool – Free TV
Free Advance TWX Reservations

OPENED: June 1, 1955

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This one did not last long in the Holiday Inn chain. The location is no longer listed in the 1959 Fall directory. It looks like a series of motels occupied the building and lasted for about 50 years.

The building is gone now, having been torn down in the late 1990s. However, on the 1996 satellite photo of Natchez, I believe you can see the original structure.

Natchez 90s

Here’s the same location as of 2015

Natchez Now

WEST POINT, MISSISSIPPI

MS, West Point

Junction US 45-W and Miss. 10 on shortest and best route from Great Lakes area to Gulf, Florida and Southwest. Near Natchez Trace and Columbus USAF Base. Swimming pool; playground and park in connection. Fishing and gold nearby. Fine food.

HI - West Point

James R. Keenan, Innkeeper
U.S. 45 West and Miss. 10
OPENED: July 1, 1956

Another tricky location. I cannot find an image of the overall shape and design of this location. The address is fairly vague, too. I was able to find a couple of motels on Google Earth from 2006 that may or may not be this location.

West Point 20066

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

MO, Kansas City

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13900 East US 40 Highway Greater Kansas City’s Largest and Finest Highway Hotel. Teletype: INDP., MO.61 – Telephone HUmboldt 3-9579

James A. Spears, Innkeeper
U.S. 40 at Noland Road
13900 East U.S. Hwy. 40
OPENED: November 14, 1954

This was the seventh location to spring up. It was torn down years ago in the name of the name of commerce.

Kansas City

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

MO, St. Louis

HI - St. Louis

By-pass U.S. 66 and 67
4543 North Lindbergh Blvd. at Long Road
Telephone: HA 8-8900
Swimming Pool – Air-conditioned – Restaurant – Free TV – Free Teletype Reservations

William Costello, Innkeeper
By-Pass 66 and 67
OPENED: July 1, 1956

One of the largest locations in the early years with 5 motel buildings and a restaurant. The court was modified in the 70s or 80s and now very little remains of the St. Louis location.

St. Louis

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINANC, Greensboro

NW corner US 29 north and 16th St. inside city limits – 2 1/2 miles from center of city. Featuring 150-seat restaurant, free television, telephones in all rooms, Honeymoon suite.

HI - Greensboro

U.S. 29 North at 16th St. in City Limits
90 Rooms and Baths – 150-Seat Restaurant – Banquet Facilities – Sales, Sample Room – Bridal Suite – Television, Telephones – Wall-to-Wall Carpets – Tom Kellam, Innkeeper – Phone: BR. 5-5371

Tom Kellam, Innkeeper
U.S. 29 North at 16th Street
OPENED: November 15, 1955

This is one of the most complete locations left. The front building/restaurant is gone but the other two buildings are still standing.

Greensboro

CANTON, OHIO

OH, CantonSouth side of US 30 in downtown Canton, Ohio, the last major city you pass through en route to New York City for a comfortable one-day drive via the turnpike. Conference and salesmen’s sample rooms available.

HI - Canton

Courtesy of William Bird

C.L. Maier, Innkeeper
U.S. 30 Downtown
800 W. Tuscarawas
OPENED: July 1, 1956

This is another location that remains fairly intact. The pool is gone, but you can see the outline to the right of the building.

Canton

TOLEDO, OHIO

OH, Toledo

Stony Ridge Interchange of the Ohio Turnpike and Ohio Route 120 (Detroit-Toledo Expressway). 18 minutes SE from center of Toledo – 1 hr. from Detroit. In the heart of industrial Ohio and Michigan. Completely new…entirely superior.

HI - Toledo

Highway 120 at No. 5 Interchange Ohio Turnpike
Indoor Pool – Cocktail Lounge Restaurant
Sauna Baths
Phone: Stoney Ridge Ohio TE 7-2045

Paul Richards, Innkeeper
Route 120 at No. 5 Interchange of Ohio Turnpike
OPENED: June 1, 1956

This location is mostly standing as well. The pool has been filled in and the current motel looks like it might be in rough shape.

Toledo'

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA

OK, Oklahoma City

12001 Northeast Urban Expressway on US 66 and 77, one mile west of Turner Turnpike toll gate. Only a few minutes to any place in Oklahoma City. Spacious living combines downtown hotel features with resort hotel luxuries at rates all can afford.

HI - Oklahoma City

Holiday Inn is Oklahoma’s Most Distinctive Hotel. Spacious living combines downtown hotel features with resort luxuries at rates all can afford. Featured are 150 beautiful rooms, year ’round Air-conditioning, 24-hour coffee shop, the beautiful Sirloin Room, Terrace dining. Gift Shop and Swimming Pool.
Holiday Inn Hotel
12001 Northeast Urban Expressway
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
One Mile West of the Turner Turnpike On U.S. Highways 66 and 77

Cliff Potts, Innkeeper
U.S. 66 and 77 Northeast
12001 Northeast Urban Expressway
OPENED: December 1954

No clue. I cannot find this location. The street address does not exist anymore and the other directions are pretty vague. Leave a comment if you have an idea or know where it was located.

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

SC, Charleston

On US 17 (Ocean Highway) 2 1/2 miles south of Old Historic Charleston. Restaurant, television, swimming pool, 20 minutes drive to world-famous gardens. Fine golf courses, drive-in theater, ocean beaches, Fort Sumter National Monument nearby.

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2 1/2 Miles South of Historic CHARLESTON, S.C.
On U.S. Ocean Highway 17
Telephone: SOuth 6-1651 – Teletype CS 286

Kirk Nabors, Innkeeper
U.S. Ocean Highway 17S.
OPENED: February 19, 1955

Another location that I cannot find anywhere on the map. There is no street address and US 17 goes on for miles and miles. I assume it’s gone.

JACKSON, TENNESSEE

TN, Jackson

US 45 North – on the road to Florida. Near Country Club. Swimming pool, year-round air conditioning, restaurant, convention facilities. Service station, television, wall to wall carpeting, telephone in every room. Plenty of parking space.

Holiday Inn Hotel Jackson Tennessee

W.M. Berfield, Innkeeper
U.S. 45 North
OPENED: Spring 1955

This one was also difficult to find. I believe that this aerial view shows where the HI once stood. It’s the empty lot on the left side.

Jackson

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (DOWNTOWN)

TN, Memphis Downtown

US 61 South (980 S. 3rd St.) two minutes from center of downtown. Convention facilities for 400 persons. Swimming pool, sample rooms, radio station, shopping center adjoining lobby. Limousine stop for all airlines. 172 rooms.

HI - Memphis South

Memphis, Tennessee
U.S. 61 – 980 South Third
Air-Conditioned – Swimming Pool – Restaurant – In the City’s Business District

Jack Scheibler, Innkeeper
U.S. 61 at 64, 70 and 79 Downtown
980 S. Third Street
OPENED: November 1, 1953

The Jackson Sun, 02 Nov 1953, Mon, Page 11

The Jackson Sun – November 2, 1953

This was the third Holiday Inn to be built. The building still stands but has been heavily modified to become a Traffic Signal Maintenance & Construction supply for the city of Memphis.

Memphis 3rd St,

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (EAST)

TN, Memphis East

US 70-79-64 (4941 Summer Ave.) in east Memphis. In the heart of Memphis’ finest residential area, 20 minutes from downtown, within 5 minutes of best golf courses and clubs. Swimming pool, dining room, gift shop. 120 rooms.

HI - Memphis

4941 Summer Ave. – U.S. 70, 79 & 64 East
Memphis, Tennessee
Phone: 34-6687
3 Other Locations in Memphis:
U.S. 61 South – U.S. 51 North – U.S. 51 South
450 Rooms – 450 Baths – 100% Air-Conditioned – Steam Heat – Pleasure Eating – Bridal Suite – Free Swimming Pool for Guests Only

Walker Gray, Innkeeper
U.S. 64, 70 and 79
4941 East Summer Ave.
OPENED: August 1, 1952

This is the original Holiday Inn. It opened in the Summer of 1952. The ribbon was cut by the five children of Kemmons and Dorothy Wilson.

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The location stated with 120 rooms and expanded to 450 rooms a few years later. The location was so successful that the Holiday Inn headquarters were located on Summer Ave. nearby.

Memphis

This location was sold in 1973 and demolished in 1994. An historical marker is located on the site.

Memphis Sign

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (NORTH)

TN, Memphis North

US 51 North (4022 US 51 N.) at city limits. 20 min. from downtown. Nearest to Firestone, Bruce, Humko, Kimberly-Clark, US Rubber, Int’l Harvester, duPont, Grace Chemical, and largest US Naval air training center. Dining room, swimming pool. 120 rooms

HI - Memphis North

4022 U.S. Highway 51 North
Phone: 56691
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
3 Other Locations in Memphis:
U.S. 70, 79 & 64 East
U.S. 61 South – U.S. 51 South
450 Rooms – 450 Baths – 100% Air-Conditioned – Steam Heat – Pleasure Eating – Limited Free Sample Rooms Upon Request

Mrs. Kate McDonald, Innkeeper
U.S. 51 North
4022 Thomas St.
OPENED: Winter 1953

The fourth of the original four Holiday Inns. The building still stood as of the 1997 aerial view (the red dot and three long buildings).

Memphis 1997

There is nothing currently at that location.

Memphis Now

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (SOUTH)

TN, Memphis South

US 51 South (2300 S. Bellevue). Ten minutes from Memphis airport. Limousine stop for all airlines. Twenty minutes from downtown. Playground with electric merry-go-round for children. Swimming pool, dining room, 76 rooms.

HI - Memphis 4

2300 So. Bellevue Blvd. – U.S. 51 South
Memphis, Tennessee
Phone WH 8-1522
3 Other Locations in Memphis
U.S. Highway 70, 79 & 64 East
U.S. Hwy. 61 South – U.S. Hwy. 51 North
450 Rooms – 450 Baths – 100% Air-Conditioned – Steam Heat – Pleasure Eating – Limited Free Sample Rooms Upon Request

Valley Hull, Innkeeper
U.S. 51 South
2300 S. Bellevue Ave.
Opened: Spring 1953

The second Holiday Inn Hotel Court to open in Memphis was located on S. Bellevue Blvd. The sprawling complex contained 450 rooms and a restaurant. The location lasted a little while, but changing neighborhoods and tastes, even in the Holiday Inn brand, caused this location to fall out of the chain.

You can see by the aerial view that many of the buildings are still standing.

Memphis South

AMARILLO, TEXAS

TX, Amarillo

US 60 & 66 (1411 NE 8th) in north Amarillo. Individually controlled year-round centrail air-conditioning. King-size Gyramatic mattresses, room phones, radios, TV. Heated swimming pool.  Kiddie Korral. Easy access to downtown.

Holiday Inn Motel Amarillo Texas

Bill Currens, Innkeeper
U.S. 60, 66
1411 N.E. 8th Street
Opened: October 31, 1954

The Amarillo location, built at the same time as the Independence/St. Louis location, opened on Halloween day 1954. It was officially the 6th location in the chain (behind four locations in Memphis and the one in Clarksdale, MS.

This is the 1991 aerial view on Google Earth. You can see the shell of the early Holiday Inns. The building would be torn down before the next aerial photo was taken in 1995.

Amarillo

This is the site now.

Amarillo2

PORTSMOUTH, VIRGINIA

VA, Portsmouth

US 13 (Military Hwy) just east of junction with us 17, Norfolk county, Va. 10 minutes to downtown Norfolk or Portsmouth. Convenient to Azalea Gardens, historic houses, shopping center. Golf privileges. World’s largest naval base, shipyard nearby.

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Courtesy of 1950s unlimited.

W. Ken Howard, Innkeeper
U.S. Highway 13 and 460
438 W. Ocean Drive
Opened: January 15, 1956

Not sure which one of these locations was the HI. I believe it may have been the one on the far right of the aerial view below.

Chesapeake

Motel Samantha – Oxford, Alabama

Cardboard America, Cardboard Motels

You’ll enjoy your visit to the new Motel Samantha!

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.

1954-11-04 - The Anniston Star, 04 Nov 1954, Thu, Page 23

The Anniston Star – November 4, 1954

An open house on December 9-11, 1954 welcomed the community to the new, modern motel

1954-12-08 - The Anniston Star, 08 Dec 1954, Wed, Page 12

The Anniston Star – December 8, 1954

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.

s-l500

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.

1955-04-13 - The Anniston Star, 13 Apr 1955, Wed, Page 20

The Anniston Star – April 13, 1955

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.

Holiday Inn

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.

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The Anniston Star – November 15, 1964

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.

 

 

 

 

Budgetel Inns Directory, 1987

Cardboard Motels

12017-07-12-0001

In the early 1970s America was in the middle of an economic crisis. With less money to spend, America’s travel plans understandably changed. Once affordable chains like Howard Johnson and Holiday Inn had essentially become hotels and with the hotel amenities such as a pool, restaurant, and often a night club, prices had gotten too high for a family looking to just stay somewhere decent to stay for a night. New motels with fewer frills and a lower price were now in vogue.

Budget motel chains such as TraveLodge, Motel 6, Super 8, began to take a much bigger piece of the roadside lodging. These big chains began taking a major hit and were so worried that they both tried budget motel chains offshoots with the short-lived Howard Johnson’s 3-Penny Inns and Holiday Inn, Jr.

1973-09-27 - The Sheboygan Press, 27 Sep 1973, Thu, Page 3

The Sheboygan Press – September 9, 1973

A budget motel arms race  began to build as many economical, inexpensive motels with just the basics – a clean lobby,  hot shower and a place to sleep. The Marcus Corporation, a Milwaukee-based company that ran a series of  theatres, Captain’s Steak Joynts, Big Boy franchises and operated the venerable old Marc Plaza and Pfister Hotels in downtown Milwaukee, wanted to get in on the budget lodging game and began construction on the first motels in the chain in the summer of 1973.

Located in Sheboygan and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the motels would offer $8 per night rooms “in keeping with the increasing importance of economy in the minds of travelers and consumers.” The Marcus Corp., also announced that a Big Boy franchise would be adjacent door to every future Budgetel.

1973-10-06 - The Oshkosh Northwestern,  06 Oct 1973, Sat,  Main Edition,  Page 16.jpg

A view of the not-yet finished Budgetel in Oshkosh – The Oshkosh Northwestern – October 6, 1973

1975-05-29 - The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle,  29 May 1975, Thu,  Page 25.jpg

The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle – May 29, 1975

The Oshkosh located opened on March 8,  1974 and the Sheboygan location, after some construction delays, in November of that year. (The $8 price promised had already been increased to $8.95 by opening and would be $9.50 in 1975). They were an immediate success. A third location in Bloomington, Minnesota would open on June 1, 1975. Two other motels under the Guest House Inns name, were added to the chain.

In the Fall of 1975 the Budgetel would introduce a new idea called the Road Runner Club. According to an advertisement in the Wausau Daily Herald on September 24, 1975, the Road Runner Club was:

A new concept in accommodations for frequent travelers: stay ten nights at any one or all of our Budgetels and Guest House Inns within one year, and your eleventh night is free.”

That incentive program, never before offered by a lodging chain, would reward guests for staying a Marc budget motel. It worked like a charm.

By the 1982 there were twelve Budgetel locations. Over the next fours years, the would be locations  in eighteen states across the Midwest and Southeast. In 1986, when this brochure was published, there were 47 locations with 6 more to open by the end of 1987. One decade later 153 Budgetel properties in thirty states.

In 1998, Marcus Corp. announced that the franchise would change its name name to Baymont. Doris Keller, head of the Company’s Franchise Advisory Council, stated in 1998 interview that the name no longer reflected the subsidiary’s features and amenities. “Budgetel has always been a great hotel product for business and leisure travelers, but the name is a misnomer.”

In July 2004, Marcus Corporation would sell the chain to La Quinta Corporation.. La Quinta was sold in 2005 to the Blackstone Group who in turn sold the Baymont name to what it is now known as Wyndham Worldwide. The Baymont is now part of a group of 15 hotels owned by Wyndham including Super 8 & TraveLodge.

The 1987 brochure offers a glimpse of the Budgetel in all of its 1980s glory. There’s the lobby complete with flowers everywhere at two women with floppy bows.

12017-07-12-0001

A conference room with more flowers, a painting of a flowers, a very modern lamp and a VCR available upon request.

12017-07-12-0002

The last picture shows the Leisure Suite complete with more flowers, a floral bedspread and a woman in a shiny lamé shirt with shoulder pads for days.

12017-07-12-0003

The address listed below were the locations of every Budgetel Inn in 1986 and 1987. The key:
GREEN – Motel still standing, now a Baymont Inn
BLACK – Motel still standing, now a La Quinta Inn
BLUE – Motel still standing but not a Baymont Inn or La Quinta
RED – Motel gone
ORANGE – Actual street location unknown/cannot find current or previous location

ALABAMA
BIRMINGHAM (Open Summer ’87)
513 Cahaba Park
HUNTSVILLE
4890 University Drive NW
MONTGOMERY
5225 Carmichael Rd.

ARKANSAS
FORT SMITH
2123 Burnham Rd.
LITTLE ROCK
1010 Breckenridge

FLORIDA
FORT LAUDERDALE WEST (Open Winter ’87)
Exit #20 east to West Commercial Blvd.
TAMPA EAST
4811 U.S. Hwy 301 North
TAMPA SOUTHEAST
602 S. Falkenburg Rd.

GEORGIA
ATLANTA (Lenox-Buckhead)
2535 Chantilly Dr. NE
ATLANTA (Peachtree-Norcross)
5395 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Norcross, GA
BRUNSWICK
105 Tourist Dr.
COLUMBUS
2919 Warm Springs Rd.

ILLINOIS
CHICAGO NW (Glenview)
1625 Milwaukee Ave.
CHICAGO NW (Hoffman Estates)
2075 Barrington Rd.
CHICAGO SOUTH (South Holland)
17225 Halsted St.
DECATUR
5100 Hickory Point Frontage Rd.
WILLOWBROOK (Hinsdale)
16 W. 395 79th St.

INDIANA
FORT WAYNE
1005 W. Washington Center Rd.
INDIANAPOLIS – AIRPORT
2650 Executive Dr.

LOUISIANA
BATON ROUGE
10555 Rieger Rd.

MASSACHUSETTS
WORCESTER/AUBURN
444 Southbridge St.

MICHIGAN
DETROIT WEST (Canton)
41211 Ford Rd.
DETROIT AIRPORT
900 Wickham Rd.
DETROIT (Roseville)
20675 13 Mile Road
JACKSON
2035 Service Dr.
WARREN
30900 Van Dyke Rd.

MINNESOTA
MINNEAPOLIS-AIRPORT
7815 Nicollet Avenue St.
MINNEAPOLIS NORTH
6415 James Circle N.

MISSISSIPPI
MERIDIAN
730 Roebuck Dr.

MISSOURI
NORTH KANSAS CITY
2214 Taney
ST. LOUIS (Westpoint)
12300 Dorsett Rd.
ST. LOUIS SOUTH (Festus) (Open September ’87)
1303 Veterans Blvd.

NEBRASKA
OMAHA
10760 M Street

OHIO
CINCINNATI NORTH
12150 Springfield Pike
CLEVELAND (Independence)
6161 Quarry Lane
CLEVELAND (Mayfield Heights)
1421 Golden Gate Blvd.

SOUTH CAROLINA
COLUMBIA EAST
1538 Horseshoe Dr.
COLUMBIA WEST
911 Bush River Rd.

TENNESSEE
JACKSON
2370 N. Highland Ave.
MEMPHIS
6020 Shelby Oaks Dr.
MEMPHIS AIRPORT
3005 Mill Branch Rd.
NASHVILLE AIRPORT
531 Donelson Pike
NASHVILLE NORTH (Open Late Summer ’87)
120 Cartwright Ct.

TEXAS
DALLAS (Plano) (Open August ’87)
621 Central Parkway East

WISCONSIN
APPLETON
2930 W. College Ave.
KENOSHA
7540 118th Ave.
MANITOWOC
908 Washington St.
MILWAUKEE NORTHEAST
5100 N. Port Washington Rd.
MILWAUKEE NORTHWEST
5442 N. Lovers Lane Rd.
MILWAUKEE SOUTH-AIRPORT (Open Winter ’87)
13th St. at Rawson Ave.
MILWAUKEE WEST
20391 West Bluemound Rd.
OSHKOSH
1950 Omro Rd.
WAUSAU
1910 Stewart Ave.

WISCONSIN AFFILIATE
GUEST HOUSE INN
APPLETON
3730 W. College Ave.

Coming in Spring of 1988 an all new Guest House Suites.

Koala Inns

Cardboard Motels, Close Cover

MA - Koala Inn (2)

Stay with the Frugal Bear! That was the motto of a chain of motels located in the Northeast known as Koala Inns. Koala was another budget motel franchise that sought to entice budget-conscious travelers by providing luxury at a low price.

Hartford Courant, 23 Sep 1973, Sun, Page 223

Hartford Courant – September 23, 1973

The first Koala Inns location opened in Windsor Locks, Connecticut near Bradley International Airport on December 3, 1973. Soon other locations open in Schenectady, New York; Hartford, Connecticut and Braintree, Massachusetts. Montreal, Quebec and Syracuse, New York were planned to open but eventually fell through.

Hartford Courant, 23 Sep 1973, Sun, Page 216

Hartford Courant – September 23, 1973

The original goal of Koala Inns was to open a new location every six weeks but the parent company, International Motel Management Corporation backed away from that plan in the Summer of 1974. The group blamed high construction costs and mortgage interest rates for backing away.

Democrat and Chronicle, 27 Aug 1974, Tue, Metro, Page 44

Democrat and Chronicle – August 27, 1974

With expansions plans gone, the four Koala Inns continued to operate as a very small collective of motels. The locations did not seem to be in the safest of areas as I came across multiple stories about robberies, assaults, drug use and even the Windsor Locks night manager being abducted and beaten in June 1974.

The Windsor Locks location would be hit hard by a tornado that tore through the area on October 4, 1979, killing 3 people and doing millions of dollars worth of damage.  The roof was torn off the motel and several of the rooms were destroyed. The motel would re-open in May of 1980.

Hartford Courant, 05 Oct 1979, Fri, Page 29

Hartford Courant – October 5, 1979

A few more locations would open in the next several years: Hyannis, Massachusetts; Framingham, Massachusetts; Woburn, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire and Bangor, Maine, making the Koala Inns a recognizable name in New Englandin the 1980s.

Hartford Courant, 30 Jun 1985, Sun, Page 121

Hartford Courant – June 30, 1985

The chain would be sold in 1989 and the properties converted into Days Inns and Koala Inss would be another small, forgotten chain of budget motels.

Akua Motor Hotel – Anaheim, California

Cardboard Motels
1018 E. Orangethorpe Ave.
Anaheim, Calif. 92801
Your home away from home, located in Orange Country near Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. One block north of Riverside Freeway, near Santa Ana and Garden Grove Freeways…Large Rooms, Queen size beds, Direct Dial Phones, heated pool, Morning coffee in your room.
The Akua Motor Hotel opened in October 1961 at “the jungle’s edge” next door to the famous Palms Restaurant and Dutton’s Jungle Gardens.
1961-10-08 - The Los Angeles Times, 08 Oct 1961, Sun, Page 468

Los Angeles Times – October 8, 1961

The Akua would be home to countless tourists on their way to Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm throughout the 1960s but it would be tourists of a different sort that would occupy the motel for nearly two weeks.
After voting to strike against the NFL in July of 1968,  the Los Angeles Rams established the Akua as their strike headquarters. The players were unhappy with the lack of pay they were receiving. The strike lasted only 12 days with $1.5 million added to the players pension fund.
The AKua would undergo several ownership changes but always remained the Akua

The motel is still standing and is still named the Akua but the fabulous sign is gone.

Photo Courtesy: Roadway Architecture.

Thins don’t seem too rosy at the motel right now. Last November a man was shot at 11:15a.m. in the lobby of the motel and, according to the OC Register:

Police have been called to the Akua Motor Inn several times in the past for reports of thefts, narcotics violations and domestic disturbances, Wyatt said. In June, 33-year-old Daniel Richardson of Irvine was shot to death at the motel.

 

When Bottle of Scotch is Depleted

Cardboard America, Cardboard Greetings, Cardboard Motels, Uncategorized

va-norfolk-el-camino-motel-restaurant

Mailed from Scranton, Pennsylvania to Mr. W. Simpson & Winifred of Hayward, California on June 18, 1962:

6-16-62
Hi, Flew in last Sunday, all packed & moved. Will arrive in Penna. when bottle of scotch is depleted.
Will write soon.
Love, V & G.

va-norfolk-el-camino-motel-restaurant-2

Dr. Pott’s: Archaeology & Disco in the Cincinnati Suburbs

Cardboard America, Cardboard Motels

Come with us on archaeological expedition and DISCOver the story of an archaeology themed disco located within the Holiday Inn Riverfront in the Cincinnati suburb of Covington, Kentucky.

ky-covington-holiday-inn

1963 Holiday Inn Cincinnati Riverfront postcard 

The Holiday Inn Riverfront had opened in the 1960s with a modest Holiday Inn restaurant attached to the side. Over the next 15 years people ate, people chatted, and people moved on through without giving the restaurant much of a thought. The basement featured a conference room and a small bar, but no real entertainment.

By the late 1970s, tastes had changed and a new dance craze had taken over the country and Cincinnati was no different.

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By the end of 1979 the area was home to a number of disco clubs and disco-themed restaurants including:

  • Amanda at 311 Delta. Ave.
  • Bentley’s at 36 W. 5th
  • Lucy’s in the Sky at Eighth at Linn on the Top Floor of the Holiday Inn Downtown
  • Tomorrow’s at Fifth and Race
  • Rookwood Pottery at 1077 Celestial St. in Mt. Adams
  • Max and Erma’s at 123 Boggs Lane
  • Lighthouse Ltd. at Vine and Calhoun
  • Spanky’s in the Holiday Inn North at 2235 Sharon Rd.
  • The Conservatory at 640 W. Third in Covington
  • Past-Times Saloon at 2640 Glendora
  • Badlands at 419 Plum St.
  • Trumps at Princeton Pike and Kemper Rd.

The glut of clubs did not stop entrepreneur Jeff Ruby from opening a new club in the basement of the Holiday Inn Rivermont. A short bio about Jeff Ruby from his website:

Ruby took a job in 1970 with Winegardner and Hammons’ Holiday Inn in downtown Cincinnati. There, he turned a 12th floor bar into the “Den of the Little Foxes” (a lá the Playboy club) at Lucy’s in the Sky disco and made it the place to be for those who wanted to see and be seen. His success at Lucy’s quickly propelled him to the post of Regional Director of all seven Holiday Inns in Cincinnati.

Ruby had a complicated history with nightclubs. Ruby had helped Lucy’s in the Sky in the Holiday Inn Downtown to success. However, it wasn’t all great. Ruby was in attendance at the Beverly Hills Supper Club on the evening on May 28, 1977 when an inferno swept through the sprawling club. 165 people died but somehow Ruby had managed to escape. That event did not deter him from wanting to open a new nightclub.

In a December 1978 interview Ruby said that he believed “there’s still a (dance) market for real people,” and he wanted to have a “clientele less chic and more down-to-earth than some of the discos around town.” Ruby would

Through his Holiday Inn connections he met Robert Fields, who had opened clubs in several Holiday Inns including Peary’s Explorers Lounge in Anchorage, Alaska and Runway 22 at Chicago-O’Hare, the new club would contain a theme very close to Fields’ heart.

Archaeology had been a hobby for Fields since childhood. During his teen years he told his father that he wanted to be an archaeologist but his father had told him that he couldn’t do it because he would never make any money. Fields was determined to prove that he could be successful and still share  his passion.

Fields’ design featured an archaeological themed nightclub/disco replete with 700-100 Peruvian textile fragments in the walls near the bar, replica Aztec pottery and a central room that resembled an Aztec temple. The new club would hold 350 people and featuring local bands and hottest disco tracks available.

The new place would be called Dr. Pott’s. The logo featured a character with a bow tie, pit helmet and coat eerily similar to Howard Carter, the famed archaeologist who discoverd King Tut’s tomb in the 1920s.

ky-covington-dr-potts-the-cincinnati-enquirer-14-dec-1978-thu-page-92

Cincinnati Enquirer – December 14, 1979

Dr. Pott’s opened on December 15, 1979. Featuring celebrity host Jim LaBarbara and the both live and recorded disco sounds of  Mason-Dixon Dance Band, the opening night celebration was a major success.

ky-covington-dr-potts-the-cincinnati-enquirer-15-dec-1978-fri-page-82

Cincinnati Enquirer – December 15, 1978

Throughout 1980, Dr.Pott’s became THE place to party, find “romance” and dance the night away. However, not everybody was allowed to join in the fun. On January 29, 1980 country music stars The Gatlin Brothers were denied entry because they were wearing faded denim jeans.

 

By the middle of 1981 the disco craze had faded and the music itself became a joke. Ruby and Dr. Pott’s continued to book live entertainment but disco was a thing of the past. By 1986 the club, struggling to maintain a crowd, tried once again to capitalize on a fad and became a comedy club. The Dr. Pott’s/comedy marriage would only last a short time and a new comedy club called Cassidy’s would open in the same location.

ky-covington-dr-potts-1986-10-05-the-cincinnati-enquirer-05-oct-1986-sun-page-49

Cincinnati Enquirer – October 5, 1986

Dr. Pott’s success was short-lived and all the memories of the archaeology-themed restaurant would be forgotten. However, Jeff Ruby would not fade away. After forging a business partnership with Cincinnati Reds legends Johnny Bench and Pete Rose,  Ruby would go on to numerous bigger and better things. His website gives a brief timeline of the successes to come:

 

After opening The Precinct in 1981 he followed with The Waterfront in 1986, Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in 1999, Carlo & Johnny in 2001, Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Louisville in 2006, and Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Nashville in 2016. Consistency and quality are hallmarks of a Ruby restaurant – a fact supported by the 3 decades of success at The Precinct, Cincinnati’s longest continually-running fine dining restaurant.

Today, managing the growing Ruby brand is a family affair as each of Ruby’s children is deeply involved in the company. Daughter Britney Ruby Miller serves as Corporate Director of Operations, and sons Brandon and Dillon fill roles as General Manager of The Precinct and Assistant General Manager of the Nashville location respectively. Together, the family owns 5 eateries in 3 states with another 2 steakhouses in development.

*In addition to the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire, Ruby would survive a 1987 accident that left him in critical condition with a fractured skull and a blood clot on the surface of his brain. He slipped in and out of a coma for nearly two weeks. Chances of survival were around 10% and yet Ruby managed to check himself out the hospital 33 days later.

Holiday Inn – Anniston-Oxford, Alabama

Cardboard America, Cardboard Motels
 On Interstate 20 Where “U.S. 431 & Ala. 21 meet U.S. 78”
Swimming Pool – Air-conditioned – Restaurant – Free TV – Free Holidex Reservations

1965 Holiday Inn Passport Description and map

Notes:
A fairly standard early 1960s Holiday Inn design. The postcard shows the Great Sign, the exterior layout, cars in the parking lot,  a restaurant (not sure the name-can’t find it anywhere) and a very early photocropping job of the sky. You can see it in the lines on the tress and the majestic splendor of nature’s blurs.The card is from a few years before the guide based on the cars.

 

Now:

The property went through a few changes, but I am pretty sure that this is the location. The exterior was painted, the Holiday Inn signage on the building gone and the sign has the all the marking of the 80s Holiday Inn signs that replaced the GREAT sign. The property fell on hard times and became, at one point, Oxford Inn and Suites.

Here’s an aerial photograph dated January 7, 2004. (thanks to Google Earth) It’s difficult to tell if it is still a Holiday Inn or not. It has the trade mark lay-out.

 

A 2008 Google Maps street view of the Oxford Inn and Suites:


An undated, but probably 2012 aerial photo of the property being torn down


The final aerial view taken on November 28, 2012 shows only the outline of the motel

 

The final street view from 2014 shows that there’s an empty field and a Bojangles on the current site.There is a newer Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites just down 431 on Colonial Drive.

 

A Picture of Debbie Reynolds

Cardboard Greetings, Cardboard Motels, Uncategorized

tx-austin-san-jose-motel-1

1316 So. Congress – Highway 81
1 mile south from main business center. Close to everything – Brick exterior – Carpeted rooms – Tile baths – Phones – Vented heat – Air-Conditioned – TV. AAA Approved. Member of the Best Western Motels.

Mailed from Austin, Texas to MGM Studios in Culver City, California on May 16, 1956:

Dear Sirs,
Please send me a picture of Debbie Reynolds!
Pat Kolb
1316 S. Congress
Austin 22, Texas

tx-austin-san-jose-motel-2

Tall Corn Motel Motor Inn – Davenport, Iowa

Cardboard America, Cardboard Motels, Uncategorized

Located at the junction of Highways 6 and 150, in Davenport, Iowa, the Tall Corn Motel opened for business in 1953. In November, 1954 the hotel was sold by Everett Herold to William Minnick of St. Joseph, Missouri who had previously run several motels in the West. Minnick would operate the motel for many years.

s-l1600

eBay

Easy to spot with its corn husk sign near the big water tower, the Tall Corn featured:

FREE COFFEE
86 Modern Units. Electric Kitchens. Air-conditioning, Television, Radio and Telephone, Wall-to-wall carpeting in each room. Cocktail Lounge, Swimming Pool, Children’s Playground. Close to restaurants, shopping centers,bowling alley, golf course. 

The Tall Corn thrived throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1970, the motel was granted a cafe license. However, the economic struggles of the early 1970s led to hard times for the Tall Corn and by the early 1980s the motel was closed. The building is gone now, replaced by a bank.