|An icon of the 20th century...the American Motel. Source|
|Vintage motel postcard, Tucumcari, New Mexico|
It was an innovative form of accommodation where travellers could conveniently park their cars just outside the door to their room and it wasn't long before motel chains began to spring up everywhere, some of them richly quirky, .such as the tee-pee-shaped rooms of the Wigwam motel on Route 66, where the sign apparently wittily read: When they suggested we stay at the Wigwam motel, I had my reservations.
|The Wigwam Motel Arizona. Source|
|Bates Motel on the Universal lot|
A 60s Thing
Motels really peaked in popularity throughout the 1960, having superseded the pre-war 'auto-camps' that initially were make-shift camping grounds and developed into bed and breakfast style accommodation in stand alone cabins. Motels spread internationally in the 50s and the first motel in Australia was called the Belair, opening in Orange, NSW in 1957. At the time, it was a revolutionary new concept but the motel idea suited the long-distance travel that was a feature of the Australian lifestyle. By the 1960s motels were in full swing in and came a fixed and familiar part of the landscape. Travelling salesmen, in particular, appreciated the convenience and for a mid-century family, staying in a motel was an exciting, even mildly glamorous, adventure.
|Aging motel signs take on a poignant significance.|