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Motels are an institution along highways with cars being such a primary mode of transportation. Motels might seem bland and generic at first, but they have some interesting architectural styles when investigated more.



These pictures are from Wildwood Crest, New Jersey. Wildwood Crest is a Jersey Shore town, and together with Wildwood, North Wildwood, and West Wildwood, make up "the Wildwoods". The Wildwoods have created historic districts in their municipalities to preserve the motels.

In Wildwood Crest and the other Wildwood towns, most motels are Doo *** architecture (sometimes referred to as Googie architecture in California). It is defined by space-age looks and sweeping lines. Usually, the Doo *** architecture is accompanied by accessories that also are reminiscient of the era, like fake palm trees, neon signs, kidney-shaped pools, and flagcrete.


Classic examples of Doo *** architecture found with motels in Wildwood Crest. This particular style is a mix of the Modern style, with sweeping lines,angled roofs, and airport terminal looks, and Vroom! style, with forward-thrusting parts to express movement.









The Crusader differentiates from typical Doo *** motels in that it uses a medieval theme as opposed to sun-sea-sand-surf themes.



The Ocean Holiday may look square at first, but the angling of the windows and decks towards the beach indicates some Vroom! style.



The Royal Hawaiian used "authentic" lava rock on its sides to hint at the Polynesian Pop or Tiki style of Doo *** architecture.



The Carriage Stop has the type of Doo *** motel architecture known as "Phony Colonee".



Other examples of Doo *** motel architecture.









 

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Well, now that you mention the subject, there is something to be said about the rise and fall of many of the 20th century motels that line/lined Lincoln Avenue in Chicago.

Before the expressways and freeways were built in the 60s by the elder Daley (the current mayor's father), Lincoln Avenue was a major thoroughfare into and out of downtown Chicago and the central neighborhoods.

The new expressways spelled doom to most of the picturesque motels that lined Lincoln Avenue. Many of them closed, were demolished, or survived as "hooker hotels".

Still, those that survived retain the distinctive architecture that one associates with the period.

Especially noteworthy are the signs. Here are a few samples.

Pictures and comments from
http://www.interestingideas.com/roadside/Lincoln/index.html
http://www.longhaulpro.org/pages/series/series_photo_pages/place_portraits/lincoln_ave.html

Lincoln Motel, Lincoln Avenue near Peterson, Chicago. Razed as part of the mayor's campaign against the former motel strip on this part of Lincoln Avenue. (tpe: i.e., around Western Avenue and the vicinity.)


Pez sign: Apache Motel, Lincoln Avenue near Bryn Mawr, Chicago.


Guest House Motel, Lincoln Avenue at Bryn Mawr, Chicago. A near-perfect amalgamation of signage and 20th Century commercial architecture.



The Patio Motel.


The Spa (long since demolished).


Stars Motel.


Tip Top Motel.


O-Mi Motel.




Finally, I leave you with a rather interesting and cautionary piece written by a trip advisor reviewer who stayed at the Lincoln Motel in 2004:

Stayed here with a friend of mine in July 2004 because most of the regular motels and hotels are ridiculously expensive near downtown Chicago ($130/night for a Super 8 motel?!). I knew it would be an adventure, but I didn't expect the lighted and MIRRORED ceiling. In fact, mirrors covered nearly every wall of the room. Very disturbing. The cigarette burns and BLOOD STAINS on the sheets were a bit nauseating, and I wasn't really happy at being asked, "You done, you finished?" by the cleaning ladies when we left. Also, the maintenance guy would not stop staring at me (I'm a man) whenever I was outside my room.... leering at me like some chicken hawk. All in all, a repulsive experience, but certainly one to be remembered. If you're looking for cheap lodging IN Chicago, try the Diplomat on Lincoln. It's fairly scummy, but much less so than the Lincoln, The Stars, or any of the tragically run-down motels on that strip. Beautiful neon signs, but Lincoln Ave. is no longer a thoroughfare, and the expressways and freeways installed in the 60's ruined the area.

http://chicago-hotels.tripadvisor.c..._Motel-Chicago_Illinois.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT

;)
 

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Ohio House, just north of the Chicago Loop. It has certainly seen better days! ;)

Pictures from flickr:






Interesting old furniture:

 

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Functionally speaking, what i don´t like about the motels is that the natural ventilation and the illumination (meaning the windows) are almost always oriented through a circulation public space.
It rests privacy but i think the reason to do so is that it increases security.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Even inland from Wildwood and Wildwood Crest (see the original post), motels use neon signs, as is the tradition in the area. This motel is in Rio Grande, a portion of Middle Township, inland from Wildwood. The theme of the woods is more appropriate here, where it is less-developed and where marshes and woods take the place of the beach.




 

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Wisconsin Dells has a host of retro theme hotels dating from the 70's



the most gawdy: carousel inn and suites
 
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