Ride Across Indiana, Road Trips

Onetime motor court converted to apartments on US 40 in Hancock County, Indiana

It began in the 1950s as the Kaiden Motel, in the small US 40 community of Philadelphia, four miles west of downtown Greenfield. It wasn’t very different from any number of other motels on US 40, or anywhere, really: a spray of small brick buildings, two rooms each, arranged in a semi-circle around a central restaurant and gas station.

I-70 was built to parallel US 40 across Indiana in the 1960s and 1970s, and as it opened, traffic on US 40 dried up. It spelled death to most businesses that depended on US 40’s heavy traffic, including the motels. As you drive US 40 across the state today, you’ll find many hotels simply abandoned and decayed. A few have continued as budget motels, often with weekly rates.

The Kaiden didn’t survive, and was left to slowly rot. But in 2012, a couple bought the property and restored it for use as small apartments.

Here’s that onetime restaurant and gas station. The gas pumps stood between the pillars, under the awning.

Former motor court, US 40

It’s a gorgeous restoration. Just look at all the details the owners paid attention to.

Former motor court, US 40

There are six of these two-unit cottages, plus a small house, in this semi-circle. Behind these units are a few more units; you can see part of one of them in this photo. Google Maps satellite view shows three more back there.

Former motor court, US 40

I believe that at one time, the center part of these cottages was covered parking for cars. Notice how the brick is slightly different in the center section, and how two of the windows have siding under them rather than brick. Those windows were probably where the entry doors were, originally. It wasn’t uncommon for motels of this style to enclose covered parking areas to enlarge the rooms.

Former motor court, US 40

Completing the panorama, here is the east end of the court. Notice how the rightmost building appears to be three units rather than two; the covered parking area was converted into a unit of its own, rather than used to enlarge the other two units.

Former motor court, US 40

As I bicycled into Philadelphia on my Ride Across Indiana, I braked hard when I came upon the Village Apartments and, as you can see, photographed it extensively from US 40’s shoulder. This is a stunning restoration. I’m curious to see what the apartments look like inside!

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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