One of these days I ought to survey all of the classic motels on US 40 in Indiana. There are quite a few, primarily in Wayne, Marion, and Hendricks Counties with a few others popping up here and there. Many of them still serve guests, even if those guests stay for months or years at a time and call their room home.

Wayne County borders Ohio and so is the eastern gateway to Indiana along what was once the National Road. It still has these operating classic motels.

Holiday Motel

First is the Holiday Motel, which is within the Richmond city limits. Like all of the Wayne County hotels, it uses a plastic box sign. It once had a larger sign lit with neon tubing, according to an old postcard image I found on the Web (here).

Holiday Motel

The Holiday Motel’s U configuration makes efficient use of limited city space.

Holiday Motel

You come upon the City View Motel after you leave Richmond proper. It’s most of the way to Centerville, actually, and has a Centerville address.

City View Motel

In contrast to the urban Holiday Motel, the outskirts-of-town City View sprawls out across a wide lot.

City View Motel

Whenever I see a plastic box sign on a classic motel, I assume there was once a more interesting neon sign in the hotel’s past. A Web search turned up one postcard that showed the City View’s onetime neon sign (here).

City View Motel

The Richmond Motel is even farther away from Richmond than the City View. It’s on the eastern edge of Centerville.

Richmond Motel

It, too, once had a far more interesting sign. You can see it here.

Richmond Motel

It also sprawls wide, taking advantage of its more rural setting. I think it’s the most cheerful looking of the Wayne County motels with its red and gray color scheme.

Richmond Motel

There’s just one more Wayne County hotel, on the very western edge of Centerville. I made just this one photo of it. There’s no sign, which leads me to believe this motel serves as inexpensive apartments now. But at one time this was the Green Acres Motel; see an old postcard of it here.

Unsigned former motel

Motels have been an occasional subject here — click here for photos and stories of all the motels I’ve written about on all kinds of old roads.

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17 responses to “Classic motels on US 40 in Wayne County, Indiana”

  1. J P Avatar

    I love the idea of staying a night in one of these old motels but never do out of a fear of, well, lots of things. It is funny that a mom & pop restaurant is something I seek out but a mom & pop motel weirds me out.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My sons and I did mom and pops on our Route 66 tour. It was a real mixed bag. Some were very good and others not so much.

    2. TBM3FAN Avatar

      Were any named Norma and Norman?

  2. Dan Cluley Avatar
    Dan Cluley

    I have actually stayed in a few but only in high tourist areas. Probably wouldn’t pick one in Lansing.

    I hadn’t thought about it before, but it seems like most of the two story motels either got updated or replaced, while the one story ones hang on forever.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Hunh, good point about the two story hotels. I remember them being much more common 20-30 years ago.

  3. Dan James Avatar

    This is intriguing because we don’t really have an equivalent over here. We have modern low cost places like Travelodge or Premier Inn. I guess the English equivalent is the B&B (Bed and Breakfast) run by a couple or family, which are typically only one or two rooms within the family’s home.

    Interesting how so many signs seem to have odd numbers/letters that look borrowed from another set! Like kids’ alphabet fridge magnets, but larger scale!

    Oh and this series of yours reminds me of Ed Ruscha’s Twentysix Gasoline Stations – again we have nothing of the same scale over here really, though I guess photographs of UK petrol stations from decades ago would hold their own unique interest too.

    I think it shows that by photographing something quite ordinary, then presenting it to an audience, it encourages people to look more closely at things they might usually just walk past, whether it’s a flower, a discarded piece of litter or a hotel sign.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The US had the advantage of lots of open space in the 20th century. As the automobile connected our large country as it never had been connected before, people needed places to sleep as they drove on their road trips. Camp sites became cabin sites became motels.

  4. sandra clark Avatar
    sandra clark

    Hello do you have any old photos of the Indiana motel on 40 between stillesville and belleville. My parents owned it in the 70s. Hendricks county.

    Sent from AOL Mobile Ma

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I do not, unfortunately. I’m not aware of any motels still standing on that section of road.

  5. conspicari Avatar

    When I’ve visited the USA I always stopped in local motels, some were excellent, some quirky, and one that was amazed that I wanted the room for the night and not just an hour !!!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      You really are rolling the dice when you use a local motel!

  6. Heide Avatar

    It’s sad that so many of these little motels are endangered in our age of chains and airbnb — but as a couple of your readers point out, the quality of lodging at these places can also be … how shall we say? … “uneven.” Still, I’m with Dan James in thanking you for encouraging your readers to look more closely at things they might usually just walk (or drive) past.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      One thing about my photography is that it’s taught me to notice things I once did not! Like old motels.

  7. doug hymert Avatar
    doug hymert

    Thank you for the old stuff. Keep it going.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      You got it!

  8. sandra clark Avatar
    sandra clark

    Awhile back i sent you an email about motels on highway 40 in indiana. Do you have anything on the indiana motel .rt.1 box 369. Clayton .in. My parents owned it back in late 69s and early 70s. It was in between belleville and would like to see old photo of it. Thank you. Sincerely Sandra Clark

    Sent from AOL Mobile Ma

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Sadly, I have nothing on this motel. I wish I could be of help!

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