Abandoned motel near Dunreith, Indiana, on US 40

I probably should have photographed more of the abandoned motels I encountered when I bicycled across Indiana on US 40. I’m sure they will all be demolished one day. It would be good to have a record of them.

I did photograph one, just east of Dunreith in Henry County. See it on Google Maps here. It’s a sprawling property. To fit the whole thing in one photograph, I had to shoot it from a ways back.

Former motel

I zoomed in on the west end of this motel for a closer look. Some abandoned motels are too far gone to ever be used again, but this motel looks pretty solid. Someone’s clearly doing the minimal maintenance necessary to keep this property together.

Former motel

I wish I could have made more images, including some peering through room windows. But I have a strict no-trespassing policy when I’m on a road trip.

Here’s a post card of this motel in its heyday. It was called the Pine Manor. Thanks to Donna Tauber for sharing it with me.

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Comments

15 responses to “Abandoned motel near Dunreith, Indiana, on US 40”

  1. Michael McNeill Avatar

    Some “urbex” photographers here in Ireland seem to trespass without hesitation. I’m guessing in the US that might be a more dangerous thing to do.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I know of urbex people in the US who trespass with impunity. I won’t do it.

  2. James P Cavanaugh Avatar
    James P Cavanaugh

    I am amazed at how many of these old motels are still in business, given the way I-70 replaced US 40 as a main route over 50 years ago.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      So many of them have received minimal maintenance and amount to sleeping-room style apartments for people with no other choices.

  3. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Interesting that many of these you photograph are brick. Someone must have thought that this would be a long term investment for them and “spent up” at the time of construction. I see many of these rural road-side motels in other states I’m driving through and a lot of them are wood clapboard and altho built post WWII, not in that good of a shape. Anything well done in brick always seems to be “recoverable”. I think I mentioned before, stories in the media recently, about how many of these are being bought and restored, or at least freshened up (especially within a few hours of major metro areas), due to the popularity of the TV show $chitts Creek, which rotates around the running of one of these roadside motels!

    https://samantha-brown.com/ideas/7-old-school-motels-schitts-creek/

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      A brick faced building would survive the elements better, I would think.

  4. Michael Avatar
    Michael

    Bought just before the pandemic to be turned into apartments (again it seems as Google street view from 2013 clearly shows a row of mailboxes in the parking lot). Now that LBM prices are coming back down, hopefully the builder can get back to the reno.

    https://www.thecouriertimes.com/news/former-dunreith-motel-could-become-apartments/article_e5b4fda9-6d0b-5bbe-9708-e069180c797d.html

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Your research skills are on point!

  5. brandib1977 Avatar

    I feel an odd responsibility to photograph and document places like this because they are at risk. In fact, I’m sometimes appalled at the number of structures I have photographed that no longer exist.

    This reminds me, on the outskirts of Terre Haute, there’s an antique mall in an old roadside motel. I believe it’s called Shady Lane. Not on the National Road. Route 41, I think.

    They’ve opened up most of the rooms and added onto the back- it’s far larger than it appears from the road and I found some great bargains there!! Seems like I bought an enormous stack of LPs there.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I looked up that antique mall — it’s waaaaaay down there. But what a good use of that old motel!

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        It is fantastic and the people there were incredibly welcoming. I’m thinking I should recreate the great National Road After Christmas Antiquing Adventure of 2018. You’re making me feel nostalgic!!

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Redoing long ago road trips is 98% as fun as doing them the first time!

          1. brandib1977 Avatar

            I will dwell on this but I think this needs to happen!!

  6. Steve Mitchell Avatar

    I always find it interesting how people’s lives and habits are changed with new infrastructure….investing in that type of business can really be a lottery. Accommodation and tourism business here in New Zealand that catered mostly to international visitors have been struggling since COVID, and there is no sign of mass international travel returning in the short term….many have closed already.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Here, it was the opening of the Interstate highway that did places like this in. There was a golden age for such motels and it lasted but a few decades.

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