The Great Roadside Motel Comeback

The Great Roadside Motel Comeback

Outdoor space at the Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa.In 1929, a used-car salesman in Waco named Edgar Lee Torrance opened what would become the first motel chain in America. With its cheesy white-stucco wink to the Alamo’s facade, Torrance’s Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts featured individual carports for guests, telephones in each room, and “a Beautyrest mattress on every bed,” according to newspaper advertisements. The chain’s eventual expansion to twenty courts in six Southern states predated the nation’s first Holiday Inn, which didn’t open until 1952, and Howard Johnson’s, which was founded in 1954. Torrance helped cement Texas’s reputation as a state in love with its open roads and far-flung destinations. The marketing slogan was Torrance’s idea of Texas shorthand: “Remember the Alamo Plaza.” By the latter part of the twentieth century, travelers associated…View Original Post

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Source: Texas Monthly