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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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.