South Bend Motel

On our recent Michigan Road trip, we whizzed right by the South Bend Motel. It was cold, we were tired, and some of the neon was out on this great old sign anyway. Not much new to photograph. So these photos are from earlier road trips. Above, 2009; below, 2007.

South Bend Motel

Fortunately, little has changed (except the non-functioning neon). This little motel has been plugging away here for as long as I can remember. I grew up less than a mile away.

This motel is on the Michigan Road (and Dixie Highway and Old US 31) on South Bend’s south side. It’s always stood alone in this heavily residential neighborhood. Here’s a daylight shot of its sign.

South Bend Motel sign

Online reviews of this place range from “cheap but decent” to “dirty rooms and rude staff.” So if you ever decide to stay, set your expectations accordingly.

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11 responses to “Lit neon at the South Bend Motel”

  1. brandib1977 Avatar

    They just don’t make signs like these anymore. What a treasure!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s amazing to me that it’s survived all these years. It was there before I was born – in 1967!

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        It does make you wonder how some survive and others don’t make it. Fabulous find. Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    Odd little motel sitting in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Looking at it objectively — yes, very odd. I suppose when it was built, the road that ran by it was US 31 and got lots of traffic. All of my life US 31 has bypassed town to the west, and somehow this place continues to eke out an existence.

  3. Nancy Stewart Avatar
    Nancy Stewart

    We lived about a block from it … it was a very “busy” place for “short stays” … if you know what I mean. I believe there was a murder there many years ago.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I remember your house on Michigan St., with the upstairs kitchen.

      Judging by the reviews on Yelp I’m sure the place still has the same kind of trade as back then.

      1. Nancy Livesay Stewart Avatar
        Nancy Livesay Stewart

        Actually that house was later … it was out in Scottsdale additional by the fairgrounds. When we were on south Michigan street we were just a few houses north of the motel.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          So long ago – so easy to forget!

  4. Gail McLaughlin Avatar

    So interesting – a treasure from the past not yet lost.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yes! I hope they fix the neon and restore this sign to full glory.

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