Budgetel Inns Directory, 1987

Cardboard Motels


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.


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


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.


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

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

2123 Burnham Rd.
1010 Breckenridge

Exit #20 east to West Commercial Blvd.
4811 U.S. Hwy 301 North
602 S. Falkenburg Rd.

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

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

1005 W. Washington Center Rd.
2650 Executive Dr.

10555 Rieger Rd.

444 Southbridge St.

41211 Ford Rd.
900 Wickham Rd.
DETROIT (Roseville)
20675 13 Mile Road
2035 Service Dr.
30900 Van Dyke Rd.

7815 Nicollet Avenue St.
6415 James Circle N.

730 Roebuck Dr.

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

10760 M Street

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

1538 Horseshoe Dr.
911 Bush River Rd.

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

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

2930 W. College Ave.
7540 118th Ave.
908 Washington St.
5100 N. Port Washington Rd.
5442 N. Lovers Lane Rd.
13th St. at Rawson Ave.
20391 West Bluemound Rd.
1950 Omro Rd.
1910 Stewart Ave.

3730 W. College Ave.

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

The Exciting World of Dinosaurs at Sinclair Dinoland – New York World’s Fair 1964-65

Cookbooks, Pamphlets, Brochures, World's Fairs

Sinclair Dinoland was an exhibit at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. Sinclair had used a brontosaurus as their mascot for years so it made perfect sense for them to have an exhibit featuring “LIFE-SIZE” dinosaurs.

This particular item is a 16 page brochure with background on Sinclair and the dinosaurs that roamed the World’s Fair exhibit. You will learn all about dinosaurs and why Sinclair quality oil is the best.

The Exciting World of Dinosaurs - 1964-65 New York World's Fair
A Realistic and Authentic Re-creation of Life-size Dinosaurs
Sinclair Dinoland


Why Sinclair is Interested in Dinosaurs
Stop at the Sign of the Sinclair Dinosaur

Robertson’s Department Store – South Bend, Indiana

Cookbooks, Pamphlets, Brochures

Located at 207-217 Michigan Street across from the once-famed State Theatre, Robertson’s Department Store was the anchor of a once lively downtown shopping area in South Bend, Indiana. It would ultimately become the victim of a collapsed industry and a failed urban renewal plan would set the area back for years to come.


South Bend Tribune archives

Originally founded in 1904 by George A. Robertson at 127 S. Michigan St, the original Robertson’s Department Store was a simple, one-room operation. Robertson’s offered quality goods and reasonable prices. By 1910, business has grown so much the Robertson was able to purchase the building the next door and expand the store into that location.

By 1923 the store had outgrown the space and was moved to the 200 block of S. Michigan St, at a location that once held the Studebaker brothers blacksmith shop.

The Robertson family would sell the store in 1932 to a pair of brothers, Will & Sig Welber. The Welbers would make Robertson’s a smashing success. In 1938, the Welber brothers would purchase 7,500 square feet in the building just south of the store.

Later that year, Robertson’s introduced a new concept to Indiana called “Chargea-Plate.” The idea was to provide a charge account system for customers to buy goods on credit. The store was the first in Indiana to offer this anything like that.

By 1941, Robertson’s had become a South Bend Institution. The famed tea room, located on the sixth floor, was the premier social spot in North-Central Indiana. The War would slow the store’s momentum for a few years.

Robertson’s wasn’t just for the white social elite of South Bend, the store was considered the best place in town to shop if you were an African-American. Most of the downtown shopping area was considered either unwelcoming or not available for non-white shoppers. Robertson’s actually allowed African Americans to try on clothing before they purchased. Barbara Brandy was one of the one of the first African American secretaries hired downtown at Robertson’s.

Robertson’s was truly for everyone. This Anonymous post in The Department Store’s comment section for the store provides great insight into life in South Bend Time at the time and what Robertson’s meant to the town:

Robertson’s anchored the downtown shopping experience in South Bend. A few blocks north was minor competition with Wyman’s Dept Store and there was a large JC Penney across the street from Robertson’s. Kresge’s bordered the store on the north and first Grand Leader and then the Francis Shop to the south. The bright lights and marque of the State Theatre across the street added to the adventure. Other stores right close were Osco with a beauty school above it, The Star Store, Schiff Shoes, St Joe Valley Bank, The Sherland Building, lots of other shoe stores, WT Grants and Woolworth (wood floors, tin ceilings, and fans), Richman Brothers, Granada Theatre to the north, and the Planter’s Peanut store with the peanut man.
The crowds moving up and down the streets; noises of the heavy traffic and fumes from buses/trucks; the handicapped man in front of Kresge’s on the sidewalk selling pencils; slush of the winter and heat of the summer; all in all it was a great exciting experience for us kids to be taken downtown. We’d normally park at the Sear and Roebuck store on Western Ave (free parking and eat a sandwich lunch in the car), and walk to Michgan Ave past Western Auto and that fish store. During lunchtime (not for us), but it was so exciting to watch the people stand behind someone waiting for them to finish their meal at the Kresge, Woolworth, or Grant lunch bars–very noisy with all of the glass dishes clanging.
Robertson’s was a little out of our price, but the basement offered a lot of back to school buys. A few times I got taken to see Santa there way upstairs. The big stores had escalators which was great to a kid. Penney’s for a long time had a black lady who worked the elevator for you–no push buttons.
In November 1948, Robertson’s installed the first escalators in the South Bend area, further making the store a fixture in downtown. 1950 would see another renovation that included adding air-conditioning to all seven floors.
In early 1951, Robertson’s would add a new revolutionary feature for the time called “U-ASK-IT.” Customers could push a button, wait for the operator, ask a question about any item in the store and get an immediate answer.

South Bend Tribune archival photo

Throughout the 1950s, Robertson’s would continue to provide service to shoppers, brides and everyone in-between. The department store was always looking to be at the forefront of changes to technology and service. In 1962, Robertson’s, at a cost of over $250,000, installed an IBM system called “the Mechanical Brain.” The “brain” allowed anyone who entered the store to find the perfect gift. A shopper would tell the woman behind the device all of the characteristics of the person for whom they wanted to buy and the device would find the “right” item.

The guide below, from my collection, is from a Robertson’s remodel that took place sometime in the 1963.  The guide contains a map and every possible bit of information you might want to know about Robertson’s six floors (and a basement) of wonder.

Business would take a hit as the  major Studebaker factory in the U.S., located in South Bend closed in December 1963. With that closure, other industry would leave town  and South Bend would be hit by  a giant recession. Any new buildings or businesses were built in the new mall area in the next town over, Mishawaka. Downtown South Bend was dying.

In 1974, a doomed urban renewal project converted S. Michigan St. from a busy street to a pedestrian mall. The move created no passing traffic and gave further reasons for people to not come downtown and business was crippled.

After years of struggling sales and a bankruptcy by their parent company, the giant store was a financial burden. In 1982, the store closed.


South Bend Tribune archives

South Bend mayor Roger Parent would work with ownership and re-open Robertson’s a month after closing.


South Bend Tribune archives

However, the big building was way too much store. In June 1984, the decision was made to move in to the smaller, now vacated J.C. Penney’s building across Michigan Street. The giant building would remain vacant for several years.

The move didn’t help. After two years Robertson’s closed. The last day was June 14, 1986. The original large Robertson’s building has been converted to apartments for seniors.

By the time I arrived in South Bend in 2007, the Robertson’s Apartments were just a reminder of a once-thriving downtown shopping area.

Newport Resort Motel – Miami Beach, Florida

Cardboard America, Cardboard Motels, Cookbooks, Pamphlets, Brochures

The Newport Resort Motel in the Sunny Isles area of Miami Beach opened in 1967. From the beginning, the Newport was designed with the hip, young crowd in mind. The verso on their first postcard says:

A swingin’ new way of life! C’mon down to the “in” place…it’s the lively one.
21″ Color TV & refrigerator in every room – 1000-foot fishing pier – 2-block private beach – 2 heated pools – restaurant – coffee shop – nightclub – tot’n teen programs – free self-parking.
On the Ocean at 167th St. – Miami Beach, Fla. 33154

Their early advertising smacks of late 1960s design and colors. This brochure shows of the Miami Beach sights.It also mentions the Newport’s multiple on sight eating & drinking establishments including: Dover Coffee Shop, The 7 Seas Nightclub & Lounge, The Pub Restaurant and the Rhum Rooms.

Entertainment was provided nightly from 9:30pm to 5pm. Joe Cavalier Revue provided the “Girls a La Mod” showcase. Music from Sheila MacRae dazzled while Jessie Ferguson & His Gospel Jazz Singers and The Treniers provided more upscale music, and Mike Vetro and His Brothers and Tom & The Craftsmen brought the party tunes. But the swingingest show was Pirates a Go-Go featuring the beautiful treasure chests .

The Newport wasn’t just for food, drinks and partying, there were brand new basketball and tennis courts.

You could fish or play mini-golf on their pier.

The Newport catered to newlyweds with their honeymoon packages and their new, world class amenities.

These die-cut rate schedules provide a glimpse of how the rates fluctuated from season to season. This one is from Spring/Summer/Fall of 1967

This one is from Winter/Spring of 1968:

The Newport is still open. There have been major renovations done to modernize the space and it looks like a great place to stay. I doubt the beautiful treasure chests are still there.