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

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.

Thrifty Scot Motels

Cardboard Motels, Close Cover

Thrifty Scot was a chain of motels across the Midwest. The first location opened on May 13, 1973 in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The chain was started by real estate developers Cy and Dan Brutger and within a few years the chain of no-frills, budget motels thrived.

St. Cloud Times – May 16, 1973

I know that there were at least 28 and as many as 30 locations scattered across nine states. I have not found a directory for the Thrifty Scot. I pieced this directory together after going through dozens of newspapers, websites and books. I am fairly certain that the address I have are correct. The locations without an address, are the ones I found mentioned but never found any details.

The chain dissolved in 1986 when all locations became Days Inns.

St. Cloud Times – May 11, 1973

COLORADO

FORT COLLINS
3625 E. Mulberry

Thrifty Scot 1 person: $26.90 2 persons: $30.90 Fort Collins, CO 80524 2 psns. 2 beds: $33.90 303/221-5490 Cribs & Rollaways: $3.00 Distance from campus: 5 mi., Exit 269B West from 1-25, AC, TV, phone, complimentary cont. breakfast, some rooms equipped for wheelchairs, some nonsmoking rooms, restaurants in vicinity. Reservations must be made by 15 June 1984.

IOWA

MASON CITY
2301 Fourth St. SW

NEWTON
I-80 & Hwy. 14 Exit

MINNESOTA

BEMIDJI
Highway 23

BRAINERD
Hwys 371 & 210

DULUTH

GOLDEN VALLEY
6300 Wayzata Blvd.

HIBBING

INTERNATIONAL FALLS

MINNEAPOLIS – BROOKLYN CENTER
Shinglecreek Parkway and Interstate 694

OWATONNA
Hwy. 14 & I-35

ST. CLOUD
130 N.E. 14th Ave.

WAITE PARK
40 South 10th Avenue

WINONA
Highway 44

MONTANA

BILLINGS
1345 Mullowney Lane

BOZEMAN
Oak Street

GLENDIVE
1321 N. 7th Avenue

HELENA
2001 Prospect Ave.

KALISPELL
1830 Highway 93 South

The Daily Inter Lake – May 10, 1977

NEBRASKA

LINCOLN
I-80 @ Airport Exit

OMAHA
72nd & Grover

NORTH DAKOTA

BISMARCK
East Highway 83

FARGO

SOUTH DAKOTA

chain-thrifty-scot-1

PIERRE

SIOUX FALLS
31st Street, West of I-29 Interchange

SIOUX FALLS
491 Cliff Avenue

SPEARFISH

WASHINGTON

SPOKANE
1919 N. Hutchinson Rd.

WISCONSIN

FOND du LAC

MANITOWOC
4004 Calumet Avenue

WYOMING

CASPER

 

Denny’s Travel Directory 1977-1978

Cardboard America

1977-78 - Denny's Travel Directory

This is a 1977-78 Denny’s Travel Directory featuring  the locations

This post is not the story of the rise of Denny’s. I feel like a chain of this size has been written about quite a few times (and on their site) and I would just be culling from their stories.

In 1977, Denny’s introduced the Grand Slam Breakfast and their business grew even further, with over 1,000 locations by 1981.

I wanted to focus on the status of the specific locations mentioned in this directory. this is a project to see how many of the over 600 Denny’s locations from 1977 are still in existence today.

Econo-Travel Motor Hotel Directory – Fall, Winter 1974/1975

Cardboard America

SPEND A NIGHT, NOT A FORTUNE

At the dawn of the 1970s, the motel industry was at a crossroads. Big motel chains had spent the 1960 building large, fancy motels with opulent cocktail lounges and restaurant attached.

As the economy struggled, occupancy fell in those motels. To combat this problem the motels would charge more to make up for the lost revenue. There is where a new concept is lodging kicked in.

No frills,budget motels began to spring up on highways and freeways all over the US. These budget motels appealed to salesmen and “to the family en route to a destination, including campers.”

Chains like Motel 6, Imperial ‘400’, Days Inn, Scottish Inns, Happy Inns, Friendly Inns, Family Inns, Regal 8, Thr-Rift Inns, Chalet Motor Lodges, and Econo-Travel Motor Hotels charged between $6 and $10 a night .These motels were not equipped with swimming pools, did not have a restaurant or bar as part of the  and many did not include television, just a simple room for the budget conscious traveler.

Econo-Travel Motor Hotels started in Virginia around 1968 and by 1971 there 64 motels. This directory, from the fall/winter of 1974-75, is the chain at its apex. A few years later many of these motel would close and the franchise would be rebranded as Econo Lodge and then later sold.

As always:
Green Link – Motel still there and it is still an Econo Lodge
Blue Link – Motel building still standing, no longer an Econo Lodge
Red Link – Building razed

2016-10-07-0001ALABAMA

BIRMINGHAM
103 Green Springs Hwy.
PHENIX CITY
1506 Phenix City By-Pass.

FLORIDA

ALACHUA
I-75 & U.S. 441 at Alachua
COCOA BEACH
5500 N. Atlantic Ave.
DAYTONA
2250 Volusia Ave.
FORT MYERS
1089 U.S. 41 Hwy N.
GAINESVILLE #1
700 NW 75th St.
GAINESVILLE #2
2649 SW 13th St.
JACKSONVILLE
6560 Ramona Blvd.
LAKE WALES
Rt. 60 & Hwy. 27
MELBOURNE
10911 W. New Haven Avenue
NATIONAL GARDENS
U.S. 1 & I-95
NORTH PALM BEACH
757 U.S. 1 North
ORLANDO #1
5870 S. Orange Blossom Trail
ORLANDO #2
9401 S. Orange Blossom Trail
ST. AUGUSTINE
I-95 & St. Rt. 16 near Holiday Inn
TAMPA
11414 Central Ave.
WILDWOOD
W. Hwy 44 between I-75 & Fla. 41

GEORGIA

ATHENS
2715 Atlanta Hwy.
ATLANTA
4230 Wendell Dr. SW
AUGUSTA
Molly Pond Road & U.S. 1
COMMERCE
I-85 & St. Rt. 441
SAVANNAH SOUTH
I-95 & U.S. 17 S

INDIANA

FORT WAYNE
1401 W. Washington Center Rd.

KENTUCKY

BEREA
I-75 Southbound Off-Ramp
BOWLING GREEN
U.S. 31 & I-65 Southbound off-ramp/connector
MADISONVILLE
U.S. 41 Pennyrile Parkway Exit

The Courier-Journal – November 24, 1974

LOUISIANA

SLIDELL
I-59 & Hwy. 190 across from Ramada Inn

MARYLAND

EASTON
U.S. 50 next to H&G Restaurant

MISSISSIPPI

TUPELO
767 E. Main St.

MISSOURI

SIKESTON
I-55 & Hwy. 60/62

The Daily Standard – April 19, 1973

NORTH CAROLINA

ASHEBORO
220 By-Pass & 49A
ASHEVILLE
190 Tunnel Rd.
DURHAM
2337 Guess Rd.
GOLDSBORO
U.S. Hwy 70 E. near Air Base
GREENSBORO
1747 McKnight Mill Rd.
GREENVILLE
810 Memorial Dr.
KINSTON
U.S. 258 & Rt. 11
RALEIGH
5110 Hollyridge Drive
ROANOKE RAPIDS
1615 Roanoke Rapids Rd.
ROCKY MOUNT
I-95 & U.S. 301 Connector
SELMA/SMITHFIELD
I-95 at U.S. 70-A (Pine Level Exit)
WASHINGTON
U.S. Hwy 17N at city limits
WILMINGTON
4118 N. Market St.

2016-10-07-0002

OHIO

FINDLAY
316 Emma St. 
GROVE CITY/COLUMBUS
2890 Marlane Dr.
LIMA
1800 Harding Hwy.

PENNSYLVANIA

HARRISBURG
650 Reily Street
READING
2310 Fraver Dr.

SOUTH CAROLINA

CHARLESTON #1
4500 Arco Lane
CHARLESTON #2
5169 Rivers Ave.
CHARLESTON #3
2237 Savannah Hwy
COLUMBIA #1
1617 Charleston Hwy.
COLUMBIA #2
127 Morninghill Dr.
DILLON
Rt. 9 exit of I-95
GREENVILLE
536 Wade Hampton Blvd.
HARDEEVILLE
I-95N & U.S. 17

TENNESSEE

GREENEVILLE
11E. By-Pass
JACKSON
1943 Hwy. 45 By-Pass
KINGSPORT
1704 E. Stone Dr.

Kingsport Times-News – January 24, 1973

TEXAS

COLLEGE STATION
2007 Texas Ave.
WACO
500 E. I-35

Waco Tribune-Herald – July 4, 1974

VIRGINIA

ASHLAND
I-95 & U.S. Rt. 54
BLACKSBURG
3333 S. Main St. (No clue but it is definitely gone)
BRISTOL
912 Commonwealth
CHARLOTTESVILLE
2014 Holiday Dr.
CHESAPEAKE #1
1439 George Washington Hwy.
CHESAPEAKE #2
3244 Western Branch Blvd.
CHESAPEAKE #3
4725 W. Military Hwy.
CHRISTIANSBURG
I-80 & U.S. 460 & 11
CULPEPER
U.S. 15 & U.S. 29 (No Clue)
DANVILLE
1390 Piney Forest Rd.

The Bee – October 21, 1974

HAMPTON #1
2708 W. Mercury Blvd.
HAMPTON #2
1781 N. King St.
HARRISONBURG
I-81 Exit 64 E; Rt. 33E
LEXINGTON
U.S. 11N, Near Holiday Inn
LYNCHBURG
2400 Stadium Rd.
MARTINSVILLE
800 S. Virginia Ave. (Not Sure)
NEWPORT NEWS
11845 Jefferson Ave.
NORFOLK #1
865 N. Military Hwy.
NORFOLK #2
3343 N. Military Hwy.
NORFOLK #3
1111 E. Ocean View Ave.
NORFOLK #4
1050 Tidewater Dr.
NORFOLK #5/VIRGINIA BEACH
5819 Northampton Blvd.
PETERSBURG
25 S. Crater Rd.
PORTSMOUTH
1015 Broad St.
RICHMOND #1
5408 Williamsburg Rd.
RICHMOND #2
6523 Midlothian Turnpike
RICHMOND #3
2125 Willis Rd.
ROANOKE #1
6221 Thirlane Rd, NW
ROANOKE #2
3816 Franklin Road, SW
SALEM
1535 E. Main St.
SOUTH HILL
I-85 at U.S. 58, near Holiday Inn
STAUNTON
On U.S. 250, W of I-81
VIRGINIA BEACH #1
3637 Bonney Rd.
VIRGINIA BEACH #2
5173 Shore Dr.
WILLIAMSBURG #1
216 Parkway Dr.
WILLIAMSBURG #2
Rt. 60 W, ½ mi. W of Pottery Factory
WINCHESTER
I-81 at Rt. 50 (Exit 80)
WOODBRIDGE
13317 Gordon Blvd. (Building still standing but boarded up)
WYTHEVILLE
1190 E. Main St.

WEST VIRGINIA

BLUEFIELD
3400 Cumberland Rd.

Horn & Hardart Automats in Philadelphia

Cardboard America

Horn & Hardart opened their first automat on June 9, 1902. The history of these restaurants and its impact on Philadelphia is beautifully captured in an article by Dr. Stephen Nepa in The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. The following section is from that 2013 article:

Beloved by generations of diners and immortalized in art, song, cinema, and poetic verse, Automats, also known as “automatics” or “waiterless restaurants,” were popular manifestations of an early-twentieth century modernizing impulse. Influenced by Frederick W. Taylor’s studies of scientific management and the widespread use of the assembly line, the Automat removed the process of ordering food through a professional waitstaff and allowed customers a faster dining experience via coin-operated vending machines. Designed to streamline dining out while offering a broad choice of freshly prepared menu items, Automats were integral features of Greater Philadelphia’s restaurant industry from the early 1900s through the mid-1960s.

Automats first appeared in Germany and Scandinavia in the 1890s. The first Automat in the United States opened in 1902 near New York’s Union Square. However, it failed to gain mass appeal and closed three years later. The Philadelphia area’s first Automat is credited to Joseph Horn (1861-1941) and Frank Hardart (1850-1918), whose local baking company imported the technology from Quisiana, a Berlin-based manufacturer….

Philadelphian Horn and New Orleans transplant Hardart had operated luncheonettes and bakeries in Center City since partnering in 1888. For their first Automat, they chose a site at 818 Chestnut Street. It proved an immediate sensation. After it debuted June 9, 1902, the Philadelphia Inquirer noted that Horn and Hardart had solved the city’s “rapid transit luncheon problem” of feeding people on the go. Their official slogan, “less work for mother,” affirmed their goal for faster restaurant service.

818 Chestnut St. – Courtesy of Phillyhistory.org

In 1932, there were over 40 restaurants, of which fewer than 20 were automats, in the Greater Philadelphia area and dozens more in New York. The company was thriving.

However, after the second World War, Horn & Hardart struggled to keep up with modern times. Changing tastes, reliance on automobiles and the flight to the suburbs slowed business. Urban renewal would claim at least one location when the company was forced to closed their commissary to make way for dorms at Thomas Jefferson University. One location at 16th and Chestnut hoped to revive business by selling alcohol, but to no avail.

The original Automat, at 818 Chestnut Street was auctioned off to the highest bidder in 1969. The interior of the venerable old restaurant was donated to the National Museum of American History and everything else sold. Horn and Hardart continued to limp until 1981 when the company filed for bankruptcy. May 12, 1990 saw the last location close it doors, ending the company’s near ninety-year run as Philadelphia eating institution.

This list, compiled from an undated address list and some research. Some locations may be missing. If you know of more, please leave a comment or e-mail me.

Automats/Cafeterias

234 Market St.
339 Market St.
818 Chestnut St.
808 Arch St.
909 Market St.
1508 Market St.
11th & Market Sts.
101 S. Juniper St.
219 S. Broad St.
248 N. Broad St.
1601 Chestnut St.
1815-17 E. Allegheny
11th & Ludlow Sts.
1321 Market St.
5141 Market St.

Cafeterias

104 S. 8th St.
11th & Market Sts.
101 S. Juniper St.
1508 Market St.
5537 Germantown
4670 Frankford Ave.
3413 Woodland Ave.
6826 Market St.
3638 N. Broad St.
219 S. Broad St.
6006 Market St.
14 Broadway

Restaurant Service

136 Market St.
730 Market St.
104 S. 8th St.
26 N. 11th St.
11th & Ludlow Sts.
106 S. 11th St.
101 S. Juniper St.
126 S. 4th St.
244 N. Broad St.
Broad & Chestnut
818 Chestnut St.
1508 Market St.
1601 Chestnut St.
3940 Chestnut St.
4847 N. Broad St.
1429 Arch St.
11 S. 18th St.
23 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore
412 Old York Rd.
54th & City Line

Retail Shops

232 Market St.
732 Market St.
820 Chestnut St.
17 S. 11th St.
1601 Chestnut St.
3951 Market St.
5137 Market St.
6008 Market St.
3634 N. Broad St.
4847 N. Broad St.
5706 N. Broad St.
5539 Germantown
5543 N. 5th Ave.
4647 Frankford Ave.
5233 Frankford Ave.
6828 Market St.
6333 Woodland Ave.
2710 Germantown
5048 Baltimore Ave.
7308 Frankford Ave.
7200 Ogontz Ave.
6038 Castor Ave.
23 W. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore
881 Main St., Darby
231 Haverford Ave., Narberth
412 Old York Rd., Jenkintown
63rd & Lancaster Ave., Overbrook
16 Broadway, Camden
719 Haddon Ave., Collingswood
144 Kings Highway, E. Haddonfield

Day Old Shops

243 S. 10th St.
108 W. Girard Ave.

Downtowner and Rowntowner Motor Inn Directory – Fall, 1968

Cardboard Motels

12016-10-03-0001Founded 1958, in Memphis, Tennessee, the Downtowner Corporation built and operated all of its own motels. Every Dowtowner Motor Inn was located downtown and offered a no-fills, cheap place to stay for the night. The Downtowner locations were strategically placed near a large hotel or convention center in hopes that business would spill over in their direction. It worked.

The Rowntowner Motor Inn brand was introduced in 1967 to designate locations more in the suburbs than downtown.

American downtown life declined heavily in the late 1960/early 1970s. Businesses, hotels, everything was moving away from the downtown area. The hotels were struggling to stay afloat and so was the Downtowner chain.

This 1968 brochure was printed right at the beginning of the chain’s slow, downward turn.

The company was sold to Aetna Life and Casualty Insurance in 1971 and sold again the next year to Perkins Pancake House. The company’s headquarters moved west. In 1973 the company was sold again for a third time and two years later a fourth time.

Twenty plus locations remained open through the eighties when the company was sold yet again for a fifth and final time. By 1993 there were only two locations left. Now there are none.

The locations below are what was listed in the 1968 book. A red link means the building is gone and a blue link indicates that the motel still stands under a different name.

The postcards and clippings below will directly underneath the location posted.

ALABAMA

ANNISTON
4th and Quintard [torn down Fall 2013]

BIRMINGHAM
5th Ave. North & 23rd Street [torn down between 2003-2005]

DECATUR
440 Johnston St. SE

FLORENCE
400 S. Court St.

1965-downtowner-motor-inn-florence-alabama

Times Daily – September 23, 1965

ARKANSAS

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK
135 Central Ave.

LITTLE ROCK
6th & Center St. [torn down in early 2000s]

FLORIDA

ORLANDO
S. Orange Ave. & Jackson St.27556558984_7f56bcfc85_b
Combined advantages of Motel and Hotel facilities in a Downtown location. 112 Spacious rooms – Color TV – Swimming Pool – Free Parking – Free Phone-A-Towner reservations to other Downtowner, Rowntowner Motor Inn and Royal Coach Inns.

GEORGIA

ALBANY
732 Oglethorpe [torn down in 2011]

ATHENS
Milledge and Lumpkin

ATLANTA
231 Ivy St. NE at Harris

1968 advertisement for the Velvet Swing – Courtesy of Atlanta Time Machine

COLUMBUS
Fourth & 14th Street

DALTON
609 Thornton Ave.

SAVANNAH
201 West Oglethorpe

ILLINOIS

SPRINGFIELD
400 North 9th St.
4087985294_7e1df48c90_bRestaurant – Free Parking – TV – HiFi – Free Reservation Service – Heated Swimming Pool – Private Meeting Rooms – Ultra Modern accommodations – In the Heart of Downtown
We are located between Lincoln’s Home and Lincoln’s Tomb.

Tony’s Restaurant in the Springfield Downtowner postcard courtesy of Neat Stuff Blog

KENTUCKY

LEXINGTON
347 E. Main St.
5744599781_519b5fde16_b155 air-conditioned rooms with TV, Musak, pool, direct dial phones. In the center of town, 5 blocks from UK. Bar and restaurant.

LOUISIANA

LAFAYETTE – ROWNTOWNER
108 Frontage Rd.

NEW ORLEANS
Bourbon and Toulouse

NEW ORLEANS – ROWNTOWNER
3900 Tulane Avenue

SHREVEPORT
Market and Travis

The Times – August 13, 1968

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE – ROWNTOWNER
Franklin & Paca Sts.

MICHIGAN

MUSKEGON
381 West Muskegon Ave.
5179414137_7013f184e4_bDowntown Muskegon, Michigan, northbound business route US-31, I-96 and M-46. 104 Rooms, dining, Cocktails, Swimming pool, Meeting and conference facilities, Color TV.

MISSISSIPPI

CLARKSDALE
305 East Second St.

COLUMBUS
321 Main St.

GREENVILLE
Washington and Poplar

The Delta Democrat-Times – April 17, 1968

GREENWOOD
Eleventh Street, Highway 49 and 82 By-Pass4994045801_72d25b558c_b76 Units – 1 1/2 Miles SW on US 49-82 By-Pass – Two-Story Motel – TV, A/C, Phones-Combination Baths – Pool – Dining Room and Cocktail Lounge.

JACKSON
225 East Capitol

Clarion-Ledger – July 27, 1968

MERIDIAN
1914 Eleventh Street

VICKSBURG
1315 Walnut Street

MISSOURI

COLUMBIA
111 East Broadway

KANSAS CITY
13th & Central8192519956_3860ea6ac0_b
Luxurious travel – living in the center of things – Walking distance to business – shopping – entertainment facilities. Spacious rooms – Free TV – Swimming Pool – Free Park – Free Reservations Service to All Downtowners Nationwide.

ST. LOUIS
12th and Washington

NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE
717 Central, NW26197794854_bdc1351d2b_bOn U.S. 66, 717 Central Avenue, NW
In the heart of downtown., PAT free reservation service, ultra modern accommodations, free parking, free tv – HiFi. Heated swimming pool, private meeting rooms, reasonable rates

Albuquerque Journal – December 24, 1968

SANTA FE
Don Gaspar at Alameda

NEW YORK

ROCHESTER
155 Broad Street East16947123432_048830f692_bThe beautiful swimming pool at the Downtowner Motor Inn, in the heart of downtown Rochester, New York.

Democrat and Chronicle – November 29, 1968

NORTH TONAWANDA
84 Sweeney Street

NORTH CAROLINA

ASHEVILLE
120 Patton Avenue

Asheville Citizen-Times – August 20, 1968

CHARLOTTE
West Trade & Mint

DURHAM
309 W. Chapel Hill Street

FAYETTEVILLE
134 Rowan Street

GOLDSBORO
210 South Center

RALEIGH
Hillsboro and Dawson

WINSTOM-SALEM
128 North Cherry

OHIO

CANTON
621 Market Street, NW

CLEVELAND
1800 Euclid

OKLAHOMA

OKLAHOMA CITY – ROWNTOWNER
U.S. 66 Across From Penn Square Shopping Center

TULSA
Fourth and Cheyenne6547257363_ec8b836f57_b93 Guest Rooms – Swimming Pool – Restaurant and Meeting Rooms.
Located in the Heart of the Oil Capitol
Phone LU 3-6251
All Color TV – Free Parking

SOUTH CAROLINA

CHARLESTON
157 Calhounmai

COLUMBIA
Main and Lady

FLORENCE
Irby at Palmetto St.
4910430671_cb3825048c_b

GREENVILLE
Main and Oak.

MANNING – ROWNTOWNER
I-95 and U.S. 301

4264745958_998e146e90_b

Jct. I-95 & U.S. 301, Manning, S.C.
100 rooms, connecting units, individually controlled heat and air conditioning. Color TV in every room. Direct dial phones, 2 heated pools, restaurant and lounge. Credit cards welcome. Near Lake Marion.

ROCK HILL
333 Oakland Ave.

SUMTER
Main at Loring

1968-downtowner-motor-inn-august-30-1968

The Sumter Daily Item – August 30, 1968

TENNESSEE

CHATTANOOGA
9th and Carter St.

JACKSON
Baltimore and Highland

KINGSPORT
Shelby and Center

Kingsport Times – March 8, 1968

MEMPHIS
160 Union Avenue19793248121_75d9fe59a1_b
126 Ultra Modern Rooms, Free Parking
Two Restaurants, Swimming Pool
All in the Heart of Downtown Memphis

NASHVILLE
7th and Union Avenue

 


The Tennessean – December 12, 1968

TEXAS

ABILENE
Pine and North Fifth

AMARILLO
4th and Polk St.

The Amarillo Globe-Times – December 20, 1968

AUSTIN
Eleventh and San Jacinto

CORPUS CHRISTI
Shoreline and Schatzel

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times – May 17, 1968

EL PASO
Main and Kansas St.

El Paso Herald-Post – July 1, 1968

FORT WORTH
10th and Houston Streets

HOUSTON
Texas and Fannin Streets

LONGVIEW
215 East Methvin

The Longview Daily News – November 9, 1968

MIDLAND
401 West Missouri

WACO
Eleventh and Austin

UTAH

SALT LAKE CITY – ROWNTOWNER
1500 West Temple

VIRGINIA

CHARLOTTESVILLE
NW Highways 250 and 29

MANASSAS
105 North Main Street

RICHMOND
Seventh and Marshall

ROANOKE
Bullitt and Jefferson

WEST VIRGINIA

WHEELING
10th and Main Street

WYOMING

CHEYENNE
1719 Central Ave.21244019252_9173893dcd_bCheyenne’s newest and most modern motor hotel – 88 air conditioned units – Famous Pancake House Restaurant – Dining room – Bar and lounge – Heated Garage – Parking free – Enclosed year around swimming pool – Banquet & meeting rooms & free television and Hi Fi. In the heart of Downtown Cheyenne, 1719 Central Ave.

MEXICO

ACAPULCO
Downtowner Sao Paulo
Costera-Miguel – Aleman No. 44

MEXICO CITY
Aristos Downtowner
Reforma 276

DOWNTOWNER/ROWNTOWNER MOTOR INNS UNDER CONSTRUCTION (With Opening Date)

Biloxi, Mississippi – (September, 1969)
Denver, Colorado – (Spring, 1969)
Gatlinburg, Tennessee – (addition) (June, 1969)
McKeesport, Pennsylvania – (May, 1969)
Memphis, Tennessee – (addition) (Spring 1969)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin – (Spring, 1969)
Newark, New Jersey – (January, 1970)

PLANNED:
Gallup, New Mexico
Greensboro, North Carolina
Gulfport, Mississippi
Knoxville, Tennessee
Louisville, Kentucky
Madison, Wisconsin [West Washington and N. Broom St.]
28381421673_2ab8429272_b
Mobile, Alabama
Monroe, Louisiana
Tallahassee, Florida
Wichita, Kansas

OTHER LOCATIONS THAT EXISTED AFTER THIS BOOKLET WAS PUBLISHED:
Rochester, New York – ROWNTOWNER
800 Jefferson Road

Cincinnati, Ohio – ROWNTOWNER
I-75 at Buttermilk in Northern Kentucky

Abra K Dabra: Pizza Magic

Close Cover
CHAIN - Abra K Dabra (1)

Matchbook cover for Abra K Dabra

Every so often I come across something in my collection that I hadn’t paid much attention to in the past but when I rediscover it I become fascinated and wanted to know more about it.

This is a matchbook for a place called Abra K Dabra. There were only two locations listed and it advertised “PIZZA MAGIC.”I had to know what this was all about.

I got a lot more than I could have possibly. imagined. What I got was a story about a bargain department store looking to expand their empire, the rise and collapse of an entire niche industry and magic, magic, magic.

After doing some cursory research, I found a blurb in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from Sunday, June 27, 1982:

K-mart Corp. is testing a new family restaurant concept featuring pizza and magic in the St. Louis Area. The company has opened two of the restaurants, called Abra K Dabra for their magic theme, at 1899 Edwardsville Road in Wood River, Ill., and at 5 Flower Valley Shopping Center in Florissant (MO). Both are adjacent to K mart discount department stores.

The restaurants feature pizza, sandwiches, salad, ice cream, beer, wine and soft drinks. Magic shows, filmed and live, are to be presented. There are token-operate video arcade games, a playroom for young children and a computerized piano bar for adults.

K-mart was looking to capitalize on the success of the success of Pizza Time (the parent company of Chuck E Cheese) and Showbiz Pizza which both used the pizza/arcade/family entertainment model.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch – July 19, 1982

In May, classified ads ran in the local papers looking for managers.  few weeks later the newly hired managers were instructed by K-mart to look for teenagers that could both be severs and magicians for the crowds. A K-Mart executive said that the number one qualification for hiring the teenagers is that they be “nice kids.” Their potential as magicians come second.

The two locations opened on June 17th, 1982 to fanfare and pizza(zz).

St. Louis Post Dispatch – July 12, 1982

But Abra K Dabra wasn’t just trying to corner the market on family entertainment, they were trying to attract adults with a new technological concept.

This brief article, “K-mart Puts Vid in Pizza Parlors” by Laura Foti that appeared in the August 7, 1982 issue of Billboard explains what K-mart was trying to accomplish.

“K-mart has found a unique way to use video clips from record companies. The retail chain is testing the clips in two in-store restaurants in St. Louis, with other locations possibly to follow.
The video clips, supplied by record companies through Handleman Co., the racker, are shown on large-screen television in the evenings. During the day, when the patrons are mostly family-oriented, K-mart’s Abra K Dabra pizza restaurants show magic acts, either live or on tape. But in the evening, according to Handleman’s Stephen Strome, “We want to attract a different crowd.”
Hence the decision to go with rock music. The record companies are thanked at the beginning of the tape, and K-mart’s own record department, the Music Place is plugged at the end.
The program, according to K-mart’s director of research Mike Wellman, is “in the early stages of development. We’ve been working with the record companies, and they’re very cooperative.”

Unfortunately for Abra K Dabra, they were doomed from the beginning. In 1983, family entertainment pizza places reached their saturation point and the bottom fell out quickly.

I haven’t found the numbers from Abra K Dabra, but Pizza Time, which had a record revenue of $99.3 million in 1982, lost over $6 million in the first few months of 1983 and had nearly $16 million in losses and write-offs of over $35 million in the fourth quarter of 1983. Showbiz Pizza also reported a loss that year. Abra K Dabra didn’t last until the end of 1983. Both locations were closed quickly in October or November with no fanfare. (EDIT: The Wood River store actually DID close with fanfare, as a young man actually chained himself to the inside of the pizza place, in hopes that they would not close it.)

 

Ultimately, the market was hurt by expensive but poor quality food, too many similar restaurants in the same market, bored parents that never grasped the video concept, and the changing taste of children who made up most of their business.

Abra K Dabra was quickly forgotten, a failed experiment in a changing time. The K-mart empire moved on without much of a hitch…for a while at least.