Among my favourite things are mid-century kitsch and tiny houses. Put the two together and you basically send me into overload. I’m aware that the faded glamour of American motels is much more appealing to a European road-tripper like me who hasn’t stayed in enough of them yet to have encountered bed bugs. But what I wouldn’t give to go back 50 years and re-do the American road trip just like I picture it in my mid-century kodachrome dreams. I wanted to follow up on our look last week at the work of John Margolies, who began a journey in the early 1970s, photographing the country’s novelty and vernacular architecture that he was concerned would soon be displaced by the growing modernist trend– and his archive also includes a healthy collection of roadside motels. John was later credited with recognising buildings that would be added to the National Register of Historic Places through his extensive documentary work. While motels probably sit at the bottom of the list of priorities for the National Register, I was curious to see which ones survived…
Fountain Motel, Hot Springs Colorado, still there (looking slightly less glamorous).
Pemi Motor Court, North Woodstock, New Hampshire, they’re still there!
Architectural critic, photographer, and author, John Margolies began an American journey in the early 1970s, photographing the country’s novelty and vernacular architecture that he was concerned would soon be displaced by the growing modernist trend. John was later credited with recognising buildings that would be added to the National Register of Historic Places through his extensive documentary work.
Palomar Motel, Shreveport Louisiana, still there!
Tawas Inn Resort, Michigan, still there, just a different colour.
Fulton Cabins, Route 1, Pembroke, Maine
Mount Desert Island Cabins, Maine
Built in 1938, the Hollywood-inspired Fairyland Cottages in the Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, remained unchanged for 70 years. They were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 as an example of the small-scale vacation cottages that once thrived in the area. Sadly, the Fairyland Cottages were demolished in 2008 to make way for two condominium buildings.
Motel Crystal Pier, Pacific Beach, California, still there!
Wigwam Village Arizona, still there!
Sioux Chief Train Motel, Sioux Falls, how it was.
Cabins, units 9-12, Route 89, Saint Mary, Montana
Cozy Modern Cabins office, Manistique, Michigan
Youngville Cafe cabins, Route 30, near Van Horne, Iowa
Shangri-a Motel, Dodge City, Kansas
Dillon Motel, Manitou Springs, Colorado.
Discover the full album here.