Monday, September 8, 2008

Miracle Mile #3: Lark Motel Neon


The Lark currently has the best maintained neon on this strip of South Main. The single story building of rooms is in the long, shoebox form running back from the street, typical of the 1940s and '50s heyday of "motor hotels".

16 comments:

Benjamin Madison said...

The Motel, from motor hotel an artifact of the car age. The Lark looks like quite pleasant and reasonably well maintained. Glad to see that Willits has one of those big lights in the sky too.

Sara N said...

hmmm!nice neon.I liked your small photo, too.watching the moon of Willits in that small one is so amazing for me :)
I took a similar photo from our city's sky that I will post it in few days...
Thanks Elaine.

Laurie said...

When I was much younger I took quite a few road trips across the US and stayed in several places that looked like this. I wonder if anything like it will remain when my daughter is old enough to run off galavanting across the country with her friends.

(Wait a minute... I am not sure I EVER want her galavanting across the country with her friends...)

I love these pictures, Elaine.

Dina said...

Rat? Does that sign say the motel has a rat??

Virginia said...

Looks like they have lost a few letters for their sign over the decades. May I recommend this site for all of you that are enjoying this peek back in time?
lileks.com
Some hilarious commentary on old postcards/motels, restaurants etc.

E., thanks for sharing this bit of Americana. Brings back memories.

Wayne said...

Lots of items from the past are gone and won't be missed. Others are classic and should be preserved. Congrats to the owner's of the motel for taking the trouble.

When I was a kid we looked for the signs that said 'swimming pool'. I'm willing to bet that this sign said 'colour TV' at one time too.

Halcyon said...

What is a comm rat? That does not sound like something I want in my hotel room!

I like these old-timey motor lodges, although they are often more fun to look at than to stay in - especially if they have comm rats!

Benjamin Madison said...

You should be offering a prize for whoever can correctly translate the sign but I'll have a go for nothing.

The top line "ia l on" has me stumped.

The next line, "queen air on" refers to Queen Size Beds and Air Conditioning.

Color TV and Coffee.

Comm Rat = Commercial Rates (for travelling salesmen).

When you visit the Lark to find out the meaning of the top line, you can suggest they get the Willlets Bufffet signwriter to update their sign since he or she seems to have plenty of extra letters.

Palm Axis said...

Pasadena Adjacent

Oh man, be still my heart!

Knoxville Girl said...

Love the sign, very populuxe.

D.C. Confidential said...

Excellent sign! Although, I'm having a hard time deciphering the marquee.

USelaine said...

BM - They certainly have the best sign, but I've never been inside.

Sara - It is fun to see the moon as a reminder of how connected we are.

Laurie - I think they will all be called "Holiday Inn Express". About 25 years ago, I traveled the old portion of Route 66 in northern Arizona. The near-ghost towns there make their living off of nostalgia trip travelers, it seems.

Dina - See Benjamin's ideas below. ;^)

Virginia - I hope you have explored the selection of posts on "This will hurt me..." to do with vintage ads. His tongue is firmly in cheek.

Wayne - The Lark Motel has filled in their swimming pool and planted a flower garden in it.

Halcyon - See Benjamin's comment below. I stayed in a couple of cute "cabinette" style lodgings in the Rocky Mountains that date from the same era. Very cute!

Benjamin M - Excellent cryptology there! It turns out that the top line is/was "DIAL PHONE", which I suppose contrasts with lodgings where you can only raise the front desk. A vintage concept in itself! How do I know? I looked at the flip side of the same sign, which provided a different array of clues for the same features. Excellent work - easy to see you have traveled the world successfully as you have. ;^)

PA - I was wondering if you would notice. Sadly, I can't make a jigsaw from this vertical orientation. I was thinking of you.

KG - And I'll bet it costs less than incandescent lighting.

DC C - Benjamin nailed it, with a slight assist from me, above.

Thanks everyone!

Olivier said...

retour dans le passé, elle est très belle cette enseigne.

return to the past, it is very beautiful this sign.

Halcyon said...

Are they so poor they can't even afford the E in rate? Or did vandals steal the E? Come on, rate is not a long word and should not need to be abbreviated.

And for the record, I still don't want to stay in a hotel that advertises rats!

Benjamin Madison said...

Actually, I considered "dial phone" for the top line but decided it couldn't be that or I would have to re-think the whole place as being consciously retro instead of just lost in a time warp. If they've really got dial phones in there you should go in and snap them up - they're worth 50 bucks each on ebay.

Ming the Merciless said...

Love those old motel signs. They remind me of images from old Vegas and the Bates Motel.