Seeing The Real United States: No Ritz on the Back Roads
Big cities are fine but if you really want to see a country, travel some of the back roads too. On our recent road trip we stayed at the Hollywood Motel in North Kingsville, Ohio. The Hollywood Motel is a quintessential mom and pop motel from the 1950s and 1960s, before the interstate highway system diverted traffic from old main roads. Basic but clean and quiet, it doesn’t offer wi-fi or internet or a continental breakfast. And it doesn’t cost a fortune. If you search for the motel on the internet, ignore its website: It is creative to say the least in terms of the real facility. But don’t let that stop you from checking out this or another back roads motel. From Wikipedia (to read more about the history of American motels see MOTEL)
A motor hotel (shortened to motel) is a hotel designed for motorists, and usually has a parking area for motor vehicles. Entering dictionaries after World War II, the word motel, coined in 1925 as a portmanteau of motor and hotel or motorists’ hotel, referred initially to a type of hotel consisting of a single building of connected rooms whose doors faced a parking lot and, in some circumstances, a common area; or a series of small cabins with common parking. Motels are often privately owned, though motel chains do exist.
As the provincial highways and the United States highway system began to develop in the 1920s, long-distance road journeys became more common, and the need for inexpensive, easily accessible overnight accommodation sited close to the main routes led to the growth of the motel concept. Motels peaked in popularity in the 1960s with rising car travel, only to decline in response to competition from the newer chain hotels which became commonplace at highway interchanges as traffic was bypassed onto newly constructed freeways.
In many once-prime locations, independent motels which thrived in the 1950s and 1960s were being squeezed out by the 1980s as they were forced to compete with growing chains with a much larger number of rooms at each property. Many were left stranded on former two-lane main highways which had been bypassed by motorways or declined as original owners retired and subsequent proprietors neglected the maintenance of buildings and rooms. As these were low-end properties even in their heyday, most are now showing their age.