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

 

1991 Shoney’s Inn Directory

Cardboard Motels

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 1991. Two locations remained as Shoney’s Inns through the late 2000s.

The restaurant chain is still going, although they already filed for Chapter 11 in 2000. A little more than 250 locations remain, down from the 1300 that were open at one time.

ALABAMA

MOBILE
6556 U.S. Hwy 90

TUSCALOOSA
3501 McFarland Blvd.

ARKANSAS

SEARCY
3204 E. Race St.

TEXARKANA
5210 State Line Hwy.

FLORIDA

FERNANDINA BEACH
2707 Sadler Rd.

FORT WALTON BEACH
203 Miracle Strip Pkwy.

KISSIMMEE
4156 W. Vine St.

MELBOURNE
4431 W. New Haven Ave.

TAMPA
8602 Morris Bridge Rd.

GEORGIA

ATLANTA – NORTHEAST
2050 Willowtrail Pkwy.

ATLANTA – SOUTH
6358 Old Dixie Hwy.

ATLANTA-WEST
3900 Fulton Industrial Blvd.

AUGUSTA
3023 Washington Rd. (torn down between 2012-2014)

BRUNSWICK
I-95 & US 341

DOUGLAS
1009 N. Peterson Ave.

DUBLIN
I-16 & U.S. 441S

FITZGERALD
235 Ocilla Hwy.

GAINESVILLE
520 Queen City Pkwy. SW

HINESVILLE
786 East Oglethorpe

LAKE PARK
621 Hwy 376

MACON
3850 Riverside Dr.

MOULTRIE
1713 First Ave. SE

PERRY
110 Perimeter Rd.

STOCKBRIDGE
110 Hwy. 138

THOMASVILLE
305 U.S. 19 South

TOCCOA
230 Stephens Circle

VALDOSTA
1828 West Hill Avenue

VIDALIA
2505 Lyons Hwy.

ILLINOIS

MARION
1 Bittle Place Rd.

INDIANA

ELKHART
26434 North Pointe Rd.

KENTUCKY

GEORGETOWN
200 Shoney Dr.

LEXINGTON
2753 Richmond Rd.

MURRAY
1503 N. 12th St.

LOUISIANA

BATON ROUGE
8818 Gwenadele Dr.

BOSSIER CITY
1836 Old Minden Rd.

METAIRIE
2421 Clearview Pkwy.

MARYLAND

BALTIMORE
1401 Bloomfield Ave.

MISSISSIPPI

GULFPORT
9375 Hwy. 49

JACKSON
839 Ridgewood Rd.

MISSOURI

INDEPENDENCE
4048 S. Lynn Court Dr.

NORTH CAROLINA

CHARLOTTE
2541 Little Rock Rd.

SOUTH CAROLINA

CAMDEN

The Greenville News – September 1, 1983

928 Hwy 1. South

COLUMBIA
7333 Garner’s Ferry Rd.

GREENVILLE
50 Orchard Park Dr.

HILTON HEAD
Hwy. 278 & Museum St.

TENNESSEE

CHATTANOOGA – AIRPORT
5505 Brainerd Rd.

GALLATIN
221 West Main St.

LEBANON
822 S. Cumberland St.

McMINNVILLE
118 Sunnyside Heights

MURFREESBORO
1954 S. Church St.

NASHVILLE (MUSIC ROW)
1521 Demonbreun

NASHVILLE (MUSIC VALLEY)
2420 Music Valley Dr.

NASHVILLE (NORTH)
100 Northcreek Rd.

VIRGINIA

HARRISONBURG
45 Burgess Rd.

MANASSAS
8691 Phoenix Dr.

RICHMOND
7007 W. Broad St.

STAUNTON
I-81 & U.S. 250

WINCHESTER
1347 Berryville Ave.

WEST VIRGINIA

CROSS LANES (CHARLESTON)
102 Shoney’s Dr.

Other known Shoney’s Inns:

NEWARK, DELAWARE
900 Churchman Rd.
Opened November 1982, SHoney’s left sometime in the late 1980s. It’s a Days Inn now.

 

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.

Diamonds Restaurant and Inn – Villa Ridge, Missouri

Cardboard America

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 1,480,000 customers. Everything was looking great. Luck would change for The Diamonds on February 28, 1948. A fire decimated the restaurant, gutting it beyond repair. But that would not be the end of the story. The Diamonds would reopen bigger and better than ever.

The St. Louis Star and Times – July 1, 1949

 

Former Banana Stand busboy Louis Eckelkamp was in charge of the restaurant at the time of fire and he vowed to make a new, bigger restaurant with everything needed for the traveling tourist.

The new Diamonds Restaurant opened on July 10, 1949 at its new location on U.S. Highway 50 and Route 66. The new fireproof building cost around $350,000 to erect. It contained a full basement, first floor seating for nearly 400 people, a coffee shop, cafeteria, curio shop, drive-in cafe, bus ticket office, travel bureau, popcorn stand and filling station. It was truly one-stop shop.

Upon opening, it was approximated that 75 buses a day stopped at The Diamonds, bringing the restaurant nearly 5,500 customers a day. The locals would also frequent the restaurant, knowing that that a pleasant atmosphere and good food could be found there.

The restaurant thrived for over 20 years at that location, but in 1971 The Diamonds had dreams of expanding. An even newer restaurant and motel would be built just slightly down the road on the more-traveled Interstate 44 and Grey Summit Interchange just off of Route 66.

The old building would become the Tri-Country Truck Stop. The restaurant building/truck stop would close in 2006. The building still stands and is said to be haunted. Supposedly, there is an apparition at the old restaurant and another presence nicknamed George. George has been “known” to get a little ghost-handsy with women. The old site is alleged to open sometime this year.

28127563970_1d3915e976_z

The motel featured 162 units and a pool. The new location offered more gas services and advertised itself as the closest fuel/lodging location to Six Flags. The new location, however would suffer. The fuel crisis of 1973, along with a crippling recession slowed traffic to a crawl. The Diamonds had been successful for so long that they were able to weather it, but they would never be the same.

Sometime in the mid 1980s, business had slowed to such a crawl that the decision was made to close the place down. The third Diamonds would sit idle for a bit and ultimately be torn down. The motel is still standing and is now the Travelodge Six Flags/Grey Summit.

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

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.

 

 

Cactus Pete’s and the Creation of a New Town

Cardboard America, Cardboard Motels

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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 after that, Piersanti set up a pinball machine distribution company with some rather dubious connections.

During World War II, Piersanti enlisted in the U.S. Army and served overseas. Shortly after his return, he resumed his businesses. This would not last long. Piersanti and 16 others were charged with criminal conspiracy in relation to the enforcement of Ogden’s regulation again pinball games.

In March 1944, the mayor of Ogden resigned very suddenly. This raised numerous red flags. After investigation, the group of gamblers, saloon owners and generally shady characters was alleged to have bribed Bramwell to look the other way on gambling regulations.

The case was stalled by lawyers until December of 1946. Judge Charles G. Cowley ultimately decided that was insufficient evidence to charge any of the defendants with conspiracy and the case was dismissed.That was it for Piersanti in Utah.

In 1947, Idaho passed a law allowing slot machines in the eastern and rural parts of the state. Can you guess where he moved next?

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Life Magazine – August 20, 1951

As soon as the law passed, several “businessmen,” gamblers and people of ill-repute settled in a remote area of Idaho near the Wyoming and Montana borders later called Island Park. The unincorporated town was established as a resort and lodge town with slot machines and an ability to circumvent the liquor laws at the time that prohibited the sale of liquor outside of city limits.

Piersanti was thriving in this environment. He made enough money to become one of the original lodge owners of Island Park Lodge.

While at Island Park, Piersanti met another gambling entrepreneur named Don French. The two would become fast friends and business partners.

 

Then it all crashed down. On December 3, 1953, the Idaho state legislature outlawed gambling of all kinds. The ban would begin on January 1, 1954. That was it for Piersanti in Island Park and the start of a minor empire.

Don French had already moved to a remote area on the Nevada-Idaho border and opened the Horse Shu Club with 50 slot-machines and a soon to be opened 30-unit motel.

Piersanti and several ideas saw French’s success and tried to join in. Several applications for Nevada gaming licenses were filed in June of 1954 and denied. Nevada’s tax commissioners established a policy of opposition against granting general gambling licenses to the northeastern Nevada region.

The commission was afraid that granting licenses near the Idaho border, where gambling is illegal, would result in a “bad situation” with a neighboring state. Also, it was believed that such an isolated area could not be properly policed.

Undeterred, Piersanti decided to start small and applied a few weeks later with a plan to only operate slot machines. The commission approved.

In 1956, a small cinderblock building with the name “Cactus Pete’s” opened. There was a gas station, a few slot machines, six rooms and hot-water mineral baths. For a time, there was no electricity or phone service in and Piersanti himself tended bar. Business boomed.

 

Reno Gazette-Journal – April 8, 1959

The location was the key to the entire early operation. These businesses lured Idahoans, especially citizens of the Twin Falls area, only 47 miles away, across the border to spend their gambling money. The only issue was the town did not have a name.

The settlement was first recognized in May of 1958 as the unincorporated town of “Horse Shu.” The population was listed as 65. Cactus Pete hated the named. He felt like the named placed more emphasis on the Horse Shu Club than his now thriving business.

Due to the protest, Elko County commissioners urged French and Piersanti to come up with a town name that they both liked. The two were now in heavy competition and couldn’t agree on anything, let alone a town name. The commissioners were frustrated and renamed the town “Unincorporated Town No. 1” as punishment. For the remainder of 1958 the “town” was in flux. Some called it Horse Shu. Others called it Cactus Pete’s, Nevada. The telephone company referred to it as Idavada.  After nearly a year of squabbling the two settle on the name of Jackpot.

Town name or not, Piersanti had big plans. He partnered with A.L. “Bud” Gurley and Dale Wildman to develop a new motel and runway, for easier access to the remote town. Twin Falls contractor Ray Neilsen, whose son Craig would later build Ameristar Casinos, constructed the complex.

The 15-room Desert Lodge Motel motel opened in 1958 to great success.

Idaho State Journal – May 25, 1960

For the next decade or so, business boomed. Piersanti and Gurley bought out Wildman, and eventually took over management of the faltering Horseshu. Gurley died in 1967, and Piersanti became a partner with Neilsen, George Detweiler of Twin Falls and Al Hurley, Pete’s bookkeeper.

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Postcard showing Cactus Pete’s interior from the early 1960s.

In 1969 they built a two-story, 50-room motel that still stands to this day.

Piersanti sold his interest in Cactus Pete’s in 1971. Things would change a lot of next 30 years. Here’s a brief timeline courtesy of the UNLV Center for Gaming Research:

1971: Ray Neilsen died and his wife Gwen took control of his shares. Neilsen’s son, Craig, assumed a leading role in the day-to-day operation of Cactus Pete’s.

1984: Neilsen became president of Cactus Pete’s, Inc.

1987: Craig Neilsen assumed sole ownership of the corporation.

1991: Cactus Petes completed a $22 million hotel and casino expansion and the property became one of the largest gaming facilities in northeast Nevada. Construction work included enlarging the casino, adding a hotel tower, restaurants and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

1993: Ameristar Casinos, Inc. was founded as the parent company of Cactus Petes and Ameristar Casino Vicksburg. Stock began trading on the NASDAQ National Market on November 9.

Cactus Pete’s is still going and is still a nice, out of town trip for Southern Idahoans.

After a brief stay in Las Vegas, Piersanti bought the Senator Club in Carson City, Nevada and renamed it Cactus Jack’s Senator Club. He ran the Senator Club until 1989, then retired to Lake Tahoe.

Peter Piersanti died in 1994, the way he had always wanted, as a rich man.

Tyee Motor Inn – Olympia, Washington

Cardboard America

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 1961 had become a popular convention and banquet hall. It also became an unofficial home for Washington state legislators.

 500 Tyee Drive Olympia, Wash. 98501 What began in 1960 as a modest restaurant-motel business has grown through public acceptance and acclaim into one of the West's finest finest motor inns, and now serves as the dining and social headquarters of Southern Puget Sound. Master Hosts.

According to an October 4, 1999 article by Peter Callaghan in The (Olympia) News Tribune:

“Anyone who experienced Tumwater’s Tyee Motor Inn during its glory days uses the same description: It’s where the real business of the Legislature was done.”

“Committees may have have met in the capital office buildings. Representatives and senators performed official duties in the domed Legislative Building. But the deals were cut in the dining room, around the pool, in the bar – and sometimes in the bedrooms of the Tyee.”

“The sprawling motel was the winter home to about a quarter of the members of the Legislature and many of the lobbyists. Love entertainment, sometimes including national acts like Frank Sinatra and Liberace, helped pack the lounge. The Jacuzzi suites near the pool were a popular venue for rowdy parties hosted by some of the state’s most powerful special interests.”

During the 1960s the motel owners continued to expand the motel and by January 1970 the Tyee Motor Inn boasted 209 units and 11 banquet rooms.

 

On January 27, 1970, an accidental fire severely damaged the motel. The fire started in or near an overhead broiler in the motel’s kitchen. The 209-unit motel, valued at at least $3.4 million, sustained major damage, with only 39 units and 11 cabanas left standing after the fire. No deaths or serious injuries were reported.

Daily Chronice, January 27, 1970

The postcard on top (courtesy of SwellMap) shows what the original complex looked like before the fire. I believe the second postcard pre-dates the fire and shows the fantastic mid-century entrance . The third postcard features an elevated view of the newly rebuilt complex showcasing the new pool and manicured trees and yard.

After the fire, the Tyee was rebuilt but struggled to regain its status as the place to be and get deals done.

The Daily Chronicle – October 5, 1972

The rebuilt complex suffered anther fire in 1972. This one started in the room next to trumpeter Harry James. 11 cabana units were destroyed.

Again the Tyee was rebuilt but newer hotels brought newer amenities and nicer lounges. Newly signed reforms requiring disclosure of expenses for entertainment by lobbyists lead to a steady decline

After the fire, the Tyee was rebuilt but struggled to regain its status as the place to be and get deals done.

The rebuilt complex suffered anther fire in 1972. This one started in the room next to trumpeter Harry James. 11 cabana units were destroyed.

Again, the Tyee was rebuilt but newer hotels brought newer amenities and nicer lounges. Newly signed reforms requiring disclosure of expenses for entertainment by lobbyists lead to a very steady decline.

Peter Callaghan’s article mentions the sad end of the Tyee:

“Brad Nelson, the Tyee’s last manager, said the hotel lost out in competition with cheaper motels and the other full-service hotels that have been kept up over the years. The Tyee’s final owners – Starwood Hotels and Resorts – decided to sell rather than renovate.”

The Tyee’s days were numbered. The Inn was torn down in October, 1999. A Fred Meyer store occupies the space now.

Pantley’s Pagan Hut – Depoe Bay, Oregon

Cardboard America, Cardboard Motels, Uncategorized

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From the verso:

Luxuriously furnished apartments offer fireplaces and kitchens where a touch of the bell brings service from the cocktail bar or dining room. From large windows you will view the magnificence and splendor of the Pacific and its rugged Oregon coastline. Beautiful PAGAN HUT open daily year around. Heated, glass-enclosed swimming pool.

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Courtesy of Swell Map

The Eugene Guard – May 19, 1956

Pantley’s opened sometime in the 1950s. It  was originally known as King Surf Resort and the Tiki Room was known as the Pupule Lanai.

Robert Pantley purchased the property sometime before or around 1956. I am not totally sure it wasn’t called King Surf Resort for a while and the tiki restaurant was Pantley’s Pagan Hut before it was all changed.

Pantley’s Pagan Hut was known for its tiki decor and its nightly entertainment. Opcelita & Garcia, the “Latin American Hot Peppers” and Roberto & his native drums were but two of the acts that performed at Pantley’s.

There was another Pantley’s Pagan Hut in downtown Portland, Oregon at SW 10th and Stark.

 

Corvallis Gazette-Times – April 12, 1962

Robert Pantley was no longer president in 1962 when he plead guilty to a charge of failing to file excise taxes in 1956. Pantley, then 54 years old, was sentenced to one year in prison and fined $5,000.

The Pagan Hut lasted in to the early-mid 1960s. It then became known as known as the Surfpoint Inn. The Surfpoint seemed to run in to some trouble. In December, 1968, the tide came so far inland that it smashed the property windows and flooded the dining room.  In October, 1977, the property was seriously damaged by a series of storms that hit the Oregon Coast.

The article I found in the November 6, 1977 Salem, Oregon says that the damage was well over $30,000 and that it was the second time in a week that water had come in to the lounge. I can’t find any information after that.

 

BONUS: Pagan Hut drink menu courtesy of Critiki.

DOUBLE BONUS: Brochure courtesy of a Tiki Room forum post from 2009:

Big Dipper Motel – Roanoke, Virginia

Cardboard America, Cardboard Motels

New – Modern – Split Level /Route 220 – 3 Miles South of Roanoke, Virginia
1000 Feet From Entrance New Section /Blue Ridge Parkway
18 Rooms – Central Heat – Air Conditioned – Free TV – Room Telephones – Playground
Restaurant Across Highway – Operated by Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Brooks, Jr.
AAA Approved.

The Big Dipper Motel was built around 1960 or 1961 on Route 220, approximately three miles south of Roanoke. The motel featured a big neon sign that resembled, well, the Big Dipper.

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I haven’t found much information on the place. I did find a fin a video featuring the Pennsylvania Jaycees making a stop at the Big Dipper on June 17, 1961.

The best I can tell, the motel is gone.