There’s no doubt that The Great American Roadtrip is making a comeback in a big way. Maybe it has something to do with a certain cult hipster photographer’s nude EuroVan adventures that, as New York Magazine reported, reveled with “charming dissoluteness in roadside motels, in hot springs, and among scratchy bushes.” Then again, maybe it’s just that we’ve collectively arrived back at the inevitable realization that the freedom of the open road and the autonomy of wide open plains is something we fundamentally need to soothe our urban souls.
The world’s first motel was built in 1925 in San Luis Obispo, California by one Arthur Heineman. A man with a vision, Heineman predicted the demand for affordable, dependable roadside lodging that was a step above the trendy auto camps of the time.
Roadsidepictures, Flickr superstar and, according to his profile, Kansas City school district maintenance worker, has amassed an impressive archive of all things related to the golden age of car culture. His scans of vintage motel room postcards from roadside America’s heyday caught our eye not only because they satisfy our insatiable appetite for quirky mid-century design, but also because the comfortable aesthetic is a far cry from the sterile, banal motel we love to hate today.
Click through to be surprisingly inspired by the dreamy, colorful and intimate design of the motels of America’s past. It has us wondering, when did motels lose their charm? Who will be the next design pioneer to restore them to their former glory?
Cordova Lodge – Sacramento, California
Image credit: Roadsidepictures