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Remembering the Motel Inn

Jeff Bringle sent over this photo of the famous Motel Inn of San Luis Obispo, the very first motel in the U.S.

Check out the sign at the right of the photo. Yep, it says KVEC. Our radio station was located at the Motel Inn during the early ’60s. What a time it must have been.

Of course, there’s not much left now. The Inn closed in the ’80s and most of the original buildings were knocked down in 2006. It’s a blight on our city’s history to see how we’ve failed to preserve the legacy of this building, which served as the cultural/social center of town for decades.

I know. I know. No one has any money. But I’d hate to see that building, those memories, slip away forever.

Marilyn from San Luis Obispo, who first moved to town in 1948, joins me on the radio today at 3:45 to share her memories of the Motel Inn.

Meanwhile, check out this 1993 valentine to the Motel Inn from the Seattle Times.

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  1. Russell Hodin
    August 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Sure miss that lounge.

    It sure is frustrating when developers take over a property like this, demolish most of the structure, and then sit on it indefinitely, turning it into an eyesore. It’s like a big thumb in the eye of this beautiful city, right there, every day, for thousands upon thousands of commuters to soak in.

    I wish Rossi & King had just gotten some focus & done the project. It would have been a great gateway visual. Instead we get some simple-minded stainless steel “sculpture” a block away. At least that junk isn’t visible from the freeway.

  2. californiawiseguy
    August 9, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    What does the neglect and destruction of this architectural landmark say about Cal Poly, a university that boasts of a top-notch architecture program?

    What does it say about the connection between the university and the nearby community?

    I say it is one more piece of evidence that points to a lack of a deep and coherent intellectual and aesthetic and humanistic foundation at the university and community.

    For a community that boasts of a university with a supposedly top notch architecture program, the architecture of the area is, in general, mediocre at best, and more often simply awful.

    What does this have to do with allowing the Motel Inn to be, mostly, knocked to the ground and possibly rebuilt in some sort of Disney-esque fantasy re-creation? I’ll leave that for you to decide, but to me there is a connection that points to a lack of appreciation for things—important, vital things that have to do with aesthetics, history and community—that cannot be easily accounted for on a spread-sheet.

    It suggests jaded attitudes, stunted creativity and lack of vision. Take an overview of the commercial building that has been done in SLO County in the last 50 years. The evidence is all around.

  3. sloconservative
    August 15, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    It say7s the owners, the city, the county, the state and Cal Poly are OUT OF MONEY! Elections have consequences.

  4. californiawiseguy
    August 16, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Yep, and for the past 50 years voting for Republicans has always led to disaster.

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