Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Americana--Vintage Roadside Motels

I have made the trip for decades traveling along Route 20 from the Cleveland area to Route 18 and south to Tiffin, Ohio. Last week, while driving along Route 20 through Lorain County, Ohio I was intrigued with several long ago abandoned roadside motels. Now obsolete and from from a previous era, they stood in front of houses where the owners once lived and opened their little motel cabins to weary travelers.

I found it fascinating that folks still owned the houses and the rental cabins (motels) out front simply stood there, near the road, in such a dilapidated condition. The buildings that once were a welcome rest stop are no longer in use. The obvious question--why have the current owners not razed the buildings? Are they currently used for some purpose other than giving nightly rest to weary travelers?

Two Vintage Roadside Motels
Route 20
Oberlin, Ohio
(west of the intersection of the Oberlin-Wellington Road)



While researching the advent of these Mom and Pop motels, I found that most were built during the depression as a means to add income to the family bank account. Previously, many car travelers were camping outside their automobiles at night. Providing a bed inside a room was assuredly a step forward. As more and more Americans afforded cars and began to spend time traveling, the Mom and Pop operations began to close as travelers demanded more services of their motels.

I remember making the summer traveling vacations as a kid in the 1950's; however, we never stayed in a roadside motel. It was the Holiday Inn for the Hughes family ;-)

Oddly, as I drove past the two relics of the past on Route 20, my mind wandered back to that 1960 film, Psycho and the infamous Bates Motel--a perfect example of the Mom and Pop operation, although Norman was NOT the perfect host! I wonder if this Alfred Hitchock thriller was the final nail in the coffin of a once thriving cottage industry?

I think I have found yet another blog adventure....vintage roadside motels.

Stay Tuned!

© 2010, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser


  1. Oh - vintage roadside motels - a subject near and dear to my husband's heart! (He is usually able to tell me at least a story or two about the ones we see on road trips.)