Photos of 1970s cheap motels

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There’s something hauntingly beautiful about these places. They remind me of the hotels I’d see while my parents drove to the beach on Treasure Island, Florida. Some, like the Thunderbird, looked like they must have been elegant at one time but had become rundown. There were also the cheaper motels. It was there that my mother explained the difference between a “hotel” and a “motel”: price, and motels were typically only one floor.

We never did stay in any of those places, but if I could I knew I’d prefer the motels, warts and all.


He should go back – many, many of these “sad” hotels are still there and operated by Gujaratis.

They can can be surprisingly wonderful places to stay – I don’t find them “sad” at all!


Greetings b_p,

I agree, he should go back & give the places another try. Thirty to 40 years can be a long time.

The people from India & their descendants bought and renovated many hotels & motels. It is true, many were really, really ‘sad’ & blighted. These immigrants from India renovated and at the very least made these sad accommodations middle of the road, clean, pleasant places to stay…more than a few are outstanding.




The Gujaratis & other proprietors from India do not act like their bigoted & prejudiced predecessors whom previously ran the places. (Regardless of whatever their personal beliefs - the new owners/management are good business people.)

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Black people had to use segregated motels, and there was a whole alternate system for them. They also had their own travel guides. Needless to say, traveling the state highways before the completion of the interstates was almost suicidally dangerous. No doubt some of the cheap motels of the 70s were formerly black-only lodgings.

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