Los Angeles Postcard Collection | Motels

The Wilshire Twilighter Motor Hotel
 4300 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90010

Completed in 1958, the three-storey, 100-room hotel was designed by architects Sam Reisbord & Associates at a cost of $1m.

Often working with Alvin Lustig and Fred Posner, Reisbord was involved in many other Southern California properties including; the 1948 Beverly-Carlton Apartments (now the Avalon Hotel), the 1949 Beverly-Landau apartments, a 1954 apartment building at 2046 16th Street in Santa Monica, the 1956 Mark-Stephens office building at 8467 Beverly Boulevard (demolished), and the 1966 Warner Victory Center.

The Wilshire Twilighter became the Dunes Motel around 1977 and still stands today.

Holiday Lodge
 811 North Alvarado Street, Los Angeles CA 90026

The 29-unit 1958 motel was designed by Ashton & Wilson. Sadly, it's been updated into a generic-looking Vantage America's Best Value Inn.

The Beverly Hills architects built two other motels in the vicinity; the Holiday Lodge at 1631 W. 3rd Street, and the Royal Viking Motel at 220 South Alvarado. Despite tawdry renovations and thoughtless ownerships, both structures remain in business.

The Royal Viking found its place in history, when it was discovered that a man named Hal Hayes LaSueur worked at the motel as the night desk clerk. LaSueur was better known as Joan Crawford's brother. According to reports, the 63-year old LaSueur died of a ruptured appendix and lived at the nearby Parkway Motel (now the Casa Bella Inn), where he also worked the switchboard.

Mostly forgotten, except for a few friends, LaSueuer was buried at Forest Lawn's Little Church of the Flower.

Alvarado Palms Motel
 931 South Alvarado Street, Los Angeles CA 90006

Dating back to the mid-1920's, the site was an array of stucco apartments or housing. The Westlake neighborhood structure was modernized around 1954 as new motel with 12 units. By 1959, the building took shape as the Alvarado Palms and still stands.

Owing to a severe shortage of decent and safe rental housing, the 23-unit Alvarado Palms was part of the 2006 Los Angeles Housing Department's residential hotel unit conversion ordinance.

Kent Inn Motel
 920 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles CA 90017

Completed in 1963, the 55-unit downtown motel on the corner of 9th and Figueroa offered underground parking and a convention hall. The bustling U-shaped motel was designed by Robert Ashton and J. V. Ouzounian. The developers also operated the now-vacant Oasis Motel at 2200 West Olympic.

When Best Western took over in the early 1990s, the motel had seen better days. The site is now a parking lot.

Rainbo Motel
 8320 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles CA 90003

Sometimes listed without its abbreviated spelling, the fashionable Vermont Knolls 11-unit motel was built in 1953.
Currently, the charming place goes by Sunsrise Motel.

Bowl Motel of Hollywood
 2010 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90068

Built around 1946, the Bungalow Motel received major renovations and came under the Comfort Inn banner in the late 1990's. The building was slated for demolition in 2000, but lives on today as an upscale boutique hotel with triple-sheet bedding and free wi-fi.

Carlton Lodge
 2011 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90027

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Since the mid-1940's, the cozy array of cottages known as Carlton Lodge offered the finest bachelor accommodations for roughly $21 a week. Located down the street from the Hollywood Bowl, the Carlton was once home to Hollywood's #1 Madam, Ronnie Quillan. The notorious Miss Quillan was a central figure in the Confidential magazine trials and spilled the beans on various celebrities.

Over time, the luxury motor hotel endured a host of new names; The Carlton Inn (adding the Rose Room), the Hollywood Hyatt Lodge (with live music in the Burgundy Room) and the Courtesy Inn - which included live theater and Rax Restaurant.

Best Western took over in the 1990's, and after a thorough renovation, now operates under the name Hollywood Plaza Inn.

Harrington Motel
 5224 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA

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Previously known as Firenze Gardens Court in the 1920's (listed as 5218 Sunset), the Harrington name took hold in the 1950's. Listing itself as "Hollywood's Finest", the Harrington struggled until around 1968 (briefly as the Palms Sunset), until the 11 4-unit apartments were razed in 1968.

Today, the entire site is a large strip mall.

Sunset Lodge Motel
 6700 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028

In some form or another, various businesses have occupied the Sunset and Las Palmas corner; the Writers' Club headquarters, the Sunset Arbor Cafe in 1937 ("Hollywood's New Clublike Restaurant - with all women cooks"), and the Don Martin School.

While parts of other buildings were either razed or converted, the Sunset Lodge opened in 1954.

In addition to drastic renovations, the Sunset Lodge was the site of an attempted robbery-homicide in 1985, when a guest was bound, gagged, doused with lighter fuel and set ablaze.

Today, the building operates as the Hollywood Guest Inn. Hopefully the sprinklers work.

Sunset Palms Hotel
 7160 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90046

Built in 1954, the non-descript Sunset Palms still stands, albeit dwarfed by monstrous development. Currently, with most of its' original design falling pray to ugly renovations, it operates as the Hollywood Studio Inn & Suites.

Hollywood Lodge Motel
 5138 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90027

Previously a cafe, the Hollywood Lodge operated as a motel since 1941. The 24-unit motel offered wall-to-wall carpeting and kitchenettes. It also fell victim to the surrounding area's seedier landscape in the 1970's.

The Hollywood Lodge was another motel forced to close temporarily in the early 1980's during the crackdown on prostitution. Under the agreements, motels would reopen with stricter guidelines.

The motel was razed around 1988.

Ivy Motel
 4918 West Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90027

A structure had been at this East Hollywood site since the 1920's and operated as either schools or lodgings. The motel began operating around 1953, designed by Charles DuBois.

Advertised in the 1960's as the Metro Motel, the place fell victim to the rapidly changing area, and by the mid-1990's the Ivy Motel was home to the Whopper.

Imperial '400' Motel
 6826 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028

Designed by Southland architect firm Palmer & Krisel, the 34-unit motor hotel opened in 1960.

As the 1970's wore on, the motel provided more than just bad advice for tourists and a warm fridge in every room: they changed their name to the Sunset 400 and added X-rated movies, flotation waterbeds and mirrors. By 1982, local authorities were looking to cleanup the area and looked no further than the notorious Sunset 400.

Amongst the many issues were reports of local students from Hollywood High School being accosted and threatened by pimps and prostitutes (making their teachers look good). After being shut down for a month, the owners agreed to reopen with stricter regulations in an effort to curb the illicit behavior.

But students looking to maintain a solid GPA needn't have worried; the motel fell under new ownership countless times and some units were reduced to make way for a take-out restaurant. Today, the motel is the community college-bound Rodeway Inn.

Harvard House Motel
 5251 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90027

Somehow, this 1947 building still stands with much of its original design in tact.

For a while, the motel was owned by a man named D. S. Nickolich, who also operated the Fortune Club in Gardena. Some time later, Palm Springs resident and sports figure Belmont Sanchez purchased the property.

Town Motel
 5756 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028

The 17 unit motel was built in 1940 by the Pacific Construction Finance Company at a cost of approximately $40,000.

Of course, no motel history would be complete without at least one dodgy incident, and in 1950, the L.A. Times ran the headline "Slasher Strikes at Model". According to the report, 24 year-old Sherry Yvonne Duval was confronted by an overcoated visitor around 1 a.m. by repeated knocking. Miss Duval arose from her bed, "lightly clad" and was struck, in what she described as a 'savage, early-morning attack'.

However, nothing remains of the building, which was demolished in 1973. The plot remained vacant for many years, until a shiny new fire station was built in 2011.

Movie Town Motel
 5920 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028

Built around 1952, the building went through a refurbishing in 1959, with plans prepared by Armet & Davis. At the time, the motel was owned by Salvatore and Anthony Pinelli. Papers reported that Anthony Pinelli had ties to the mob in Chicago and Indiana, and associated with syndicate bigwigs Anthony Accardo and Sam Giancana. The resourceful Pinelli used profits from his business dealings to fund his real estate deals, which included helping his son in the motel business. Seems legit.

Some time later however, as part of their real estate expansion, the building was owned by the Petersen Publishing Company.

The motel came under new ownership from developer Joe Fazio in 2011. Calling his new building "retro, funky, cool", Fazio converted the motel into a hostel and added an Astroturf Tiki courtyard and changed the name to Banana Bungalow.

I'm sure Pinelli would have approved.

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The space-age 1957 motel eventually became the lowly Vagabond Inn, which was razed in 2013.

The Cloud Motel
 3400 West Third Street, Los Angeles CA 90020

Built in 1958 by Consolidated Hotels of California (who opened a second motel with the same name in Lakewood), the Cloud Motel was hailed as "L.A.'s largest ultra modern hotel". Situated near Ralph's and Safeway supermarket (now Vons), the Cloud Motel lasted until the early 1980's.

Demolished in 2011, the site became the Camino Nuevo Charter Academy since.

Don Lowell Motel
 12059 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90025

The 14-unit Don Lowell had been around since the early 1940's and had ties to Hollywood. In 1953, the complex was sold for $110,000 to James Whale (and longtime companion David Lewis), director of the 1932 classic, Freaks. By 1960, along with another motel that existed at this site (the Malone Motel at 12051), everything was demolished, making way for a 'major shopping center'.

The site is currently occupied by Ralph's.

Normandy Motor Lodge
 1141 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90019

Built around 1948, the quaint 11-unit motor lodge was demolished by the late 50's, but found new life as the Starlite Motel ("color TV, pool and modern rooms"). The site was demolished in 1991, and locals now stare at a parking lot.

Bevonshire Lodge
 7575 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90036

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Built in 1956 by the Barsel Construction Company.

Holloway Motel
 8465 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90069

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Situated in West Hollywood, the 1954 Holloway Motel with its Colonial Revival design still operates as a nice place to stay. By as late as 1970, railway tracks that used to carry Pacific Electric's "big red cars" still followed the spur line down the boulevard. By the 1990's, the motel remained virtually unchanged, although the adjoining parking lot made way for International House of Pancakes.

The postcard shows two highrise building in the background; on the left is the 16-story Empire West. Built in 1965 by Daniel L. Dworsky & Associates, the $8 million building was put together by developer Sheldon Appel.

On the right is the 16-story Fountainview West, designed by Robert E. Donald & Associates. The Beverly Hills architect also designed USC's School of Library Science in 1973. In recent years, the Holloway Motel was one of six properties recognized for historic designation by the WHPA (West Hollywood Preservation Alliance).

Whittier TraveLodge
 11140 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90606

Built around 1957, the Whittier Travel Inn (as its now known) has apparently degraded in quality and currently receiving less than favorable reviews. It has however retained some of its original signage.

Arroyo Motor Inn
 400 South Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena CA 91105

Built in 1961, the Pasadena establishment also went by the 'Arroya Sojourn Inn'. The Arroyo Inn included a convention hall, restaurant and a piano and organ bar called the Matador Room.

A fire in 1974 damaged parts of the property, which soon after became a Comfort Inn. A major renovation took place in 2003 and while virtually unrecognizable, currently operates as The Pasadena Inn, under the Green Tree hospitality umbrella.

 326 East Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles CA 91205

Glendale's first downtown motel was built in 1963. Each of the 40 units came with TV, air conditioning and futuristic custom-made furnishings. The motel was operated by AstroMotels - a Glendale-based chain that operated properties in Blythe, Santa Rosa and Arizona.

Parts of the original structure exist, and after doing business as the Glen Capri Inn and Suites, is the now the upscale Xilo Hotel.

Hotel Mariposa
 518 South Mariposa Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90020

Built in 1948 by Beverly Hills architects Maurice Fleishman and R. A. Rodriguez, the Mariposa Hotel had drive-in access, and each unit sported the"latest modernistic pastel colors".

Aside from his residential work, Fleishmann was responsible for a number of commercial and civic buildings. Among them; the Harbor Branch of the Auto Club of Southern California San Pedro building (1950), three stores for clothing company Harris & Frank in San Leandro, San Diego and San Jose (1960) and the West Covina regional library (1961).

As for the Mariposa, it's no longer a hotel (the sign now reads "Motel"), and is sandwiched between larger apartments in Koreatown.

AutoLodge Olympic
 930 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90015

Built by National Autolodge Corporation in 1955, this was a fairly standard operation with free TV and air-conditioning. However by the early 1970's, the motel went in a whole new direction. New owner Don Leon, a Hollywood attorney and adult motel pioneer, took his cue from a Japanese business model and added sumptuous waterbeds, mirrored luxury and the ability to watch X-rated movies in bed. And with it, the motel became The Experience.

A stone's throw from the recently-opened Los Angeles Convention Center, the saucy motel greatly appealed to groovy couples and business groups. The good times lasted until the late 1980's, and one of the last hurrahs for the seedy joint was appearing in the 1987 film Less than Zero -- Room 12 to be exact.

The Experience apparently reached Sacramento, although in 2007 the city purchased and then demolished the offending motel. The downtown Los Angeles location met the same fate, as rapid development in the mid-1990's saw The Experience become a parking lot.

Hyatt Chalet Motel
 2800 East Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles CA 91107

Pasadena's newest motel opened in 1962 as the Chalet Motel. The 36-unit motor inn was the first of its kind for the Hyatt Chalet Motel chain. They soon expanded in the Southland and purchased five Paramount motels and unveiled their new coast-to-coast Hyatt Lodges line.

Other Hyatt Lodges included Tarzana, Fullerton, Long Beach, Pomona, Conejo Village, Fresno and Las Vegas.

For years, the Pasadena motel stood as the "Swiss Lodge" and then became "La Casa Inn". The A-line structure remains, yet all traces of cozy Alpine nostalgia are long gone.

Capitol Motel
 1910 South La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90034

The site of a former real estate office, the Capitol Motel began around 1949. Its claim of being on famous Restaurant Row is dubious, as it's really further south. The motel was converted to offices in 1995, then razed to make way for a glut of car dealerships.

Malibu Shores Motel
 23033 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu CA 90265

Drivers on scenic Pacific Coast Highway can still get a room, although the quaint Malibu Shores Motel received a design overhaul and operates as the upscale Surfride Malibu Hotel.

El Rancho Motel
 1001 North San Fernando Road, Los Angeles CA 91504

Previously a spot for trailers, the El Rancho was built in the late 1940's. Tragically, the motel was the site of a suicide pact between two teenage boys in 1967. According to police, both boys were under the influence of airplane fumes. The first boy shot his friend, then turned a gun on himself.

More sad news in 1985 when a fire caused major damage to the 60-unit motel. By the 1990's, guests "Let Kenny Do the Catering!", as the corner spot became a Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant.

Motel deVille
 1123 West 7th Street, Los Angeles CA 90017

Built in 1956 by Lawrence Harris, the downtown motel managed to survive a number of years before its eventual decline. Although the motel saw some structural editing, part of the original signage made it as late as 2009, when the spot was taken over by the Vantage chain. The motel now goes by the name "America's Best Value Inn".

In the background is the former Seventh Street Hotel. Opening in 1923 as the Hotel Commodore, the dilapidated building was earmarked as senior housing in the 1980's, but plans fell through. The structure still stands today, albeit with modified signage.

L.A. Downtown TraveLodge
 1710 West 7th Street, Los Angeles CA 90017

The 1960 Westlake area motel was another in the TraveLodge chain. After becoming a Comfort Inn during the 1990's, the downtown hostelry is now Hotel Solaire.

Westward-Ho Motor Hotel
 12130 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90025

The 12 unit, ultra-modern motel opened in 1942. By 1985, development brought on new office buildings, and the West Los Angeles motel was long gone.

Downtown TraveLodge
 80 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach CA 90802

While the surrounding area has rapidly grown, the 1963 motel still stands. Today it's the TraveLodge Convention Center. The French Gothic building in the background is the Villa Riviera, which remains untouched (converted to condos in 1991).

Frontier Motel
 7861 Beach Blvd., Buena Park CA 90620

The mid-1960's Frontier Motel had seen better days by the time it went the adult route in the 1970's.

In 1986, the Orange County motel was almost turned into a halfway house. Given the Frontier's proximity to Knott's Berry Farm and the Movieland Wax Museum (demolished in 2016), that idea was nixed. Newspapers reported that nearby Melody Manor Motel was another option to house federal prisoners while they prepared a return to society.

Today, the site has been rehabilitated as a McDonald's.

Town and Country Motel
 1910 University Avenue, Riverside CA 92507

Absolutely nothing exists of this great little motel.

 946 Yale Street, Los Angeles CA 90012

This 24-unit motel in Chinatown has survived since 1960, when it was ran by Nelson Moy. The architect was Gilbert L. Leong. And while there have been some adjustments to the structures, the Moytel remains. The motel was briefly featured in "The Maltese Cow", a 1984 episode of the A-Team.

Owner Thomas Barton opened the Farmer's Daughter Motel on the site of small store owned by Marie Maxey (demolished in 1961). Designed by Verge and Clatworthy, the homely building was next door to the City Slicker Room.

Best Western took over around 1970 and by the mid-1980's, the City Slicker was long gone. French eatery Pigalle opened at 119 S. Fairfax, and in the 1990's, the diminutive and painfully hip Olive, opened at 156 South Fairfax (the owners attempted to buy the motel).

After a period of mediocrity, popular tourist spot The Grove opened across the street, and much of south Fairfax had changed. The Farmer's Daughter was refurbished and continues to welcome guests.


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