The First Motel

According to Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac,  the first motel opened 82 years ago today.

He writes that the first one was,

…located in San Luis Obispo, California, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. As cars — and road trips — became more and more popular, architect and developer Arthur Heineman saw a business opportunity: a compromise between the rough “auto camps” — where people pitched tents or slept in their cars — and the more traditional hotels. He had the idea to place lodging near major highways, with easy outdoor access to the rooms, and a space to park a car. So he built a little collection of bungalows, each with a small garage, and rented them for $1.25 a night. He created a new name for his hybrid lodging, a portmanteau of “motor” and “hotel.

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