Admiral Benbow Inns, 1977

The Admiral Benbow was never very big. I believe the franchise topped out at 18 locations. At the time of this publication in 1977, Admiral Benbow Inns were a part of the Morrison’s Cafeteria franchise group. The scan to the left is from the back of a directory for Morrison’s, which I will share and…

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Thrifty Scot Motels

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. I know that there were at least 28 and…

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1991 Shoney’s Inn Directory

Shoney’s Inns were a smallish franchise of motels started by the Shoney’s Restaurant group. The motel was started as a test run in 1974 and lasted through 1991. The majority of the locations were in the Southeast. The brochure would be the last one the group would ever produce, as the franchise would be sold in…

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

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…

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Diamonds Restaurant and Inn – Villa Ridge, Missouri

The Banana Stand opened in Villa Ridge, Missouri about 35 miles west of St. Louis in 1923. The small roadside stand owned and operated by Spencer and Ursula Groff was an big hit.  Every year the place expanded. In the 1930s the now restaurant was renamed The Diamonds. In 1947, The Diamonds were serve a record…

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Downtowner and Rowntowner Motor Inn Directory – Fall, 1968

Founded 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.…

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Newport Resort Motel – Miami Beach, Florida

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 &…

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Cactus Pete’s and the Creation of a New Town

Peter “Cactus Pete” Piersanti was born in 1917 in Superior, Wyoming. The youngest of six kids to Italian parents. The family moved to Ogden, Utah. Growing up poor during the depression, Peter had always dreamed of being rich. In 1941, Peter purchased a local bar and grill with a card room in the back. Shortly…

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Tyee Motor Inn – Olympia, Washington

Where The Real Business of the Legislature Was Done The Tyee Motor Inn in Tumwater (Olympia) first opened it doors in June 1958 and featured 39 modest rooms and few amenities. After a few years the Motor Inn expanded and become a luxury motel with a restaurant and bar. into a luxury motel and by…

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