Motel Lead story large

The Faded Glory of Vintage Motel Signs

Up ahead in the distance, you see a shimmering light. . . .

How does a humble, family-run motel, situated somewhere short of a traveler's destination, coax a driver to pull into the parking lot? With an extraordinary sign, of course. Look beyond the fading colors, the missing letters, the shopworn edges, and see these signs as they are: neon-infused science-fair projects come to life.

Lollipops. . . and Stars. . . and Faces   (Wildwood, New Jersey) Buyenlarge/Getty Images Lollipops. . . and Stars. . . and Faces   (Wildwood, New Jersey) Hitch Your Horse   (St. Joseph, Missouri) Buyenlarge/Getty Images Hitch Your Horse   (St. Joseph, Missouri) Before There was Skywalker Ranch. . .   (Las Vegas, Nevada) Robert Beck/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images Before There was Skywalker Ranch. . .   (Las Vegas, Nevada) Howdy, Pardner   (Amarillo, Texas) Craig F. Walker/Denver Post via Getty Images Howdy, Pardner   (Amarillo, Texas) Chief   (Las Vegas, Nevada) Buyenlarge/Getty Images Chief   (Las Vegas, Nevada) Ram-Mo   (Shamrock, Texas) Richard Jordan/Getty Images Ram-Mo   (Shamrock, Texas) It's a Restaurant! It's a Motel!   (Oxnard, California) Patricia Marroquin/Moment Editorial/Getty Images It's a Restaurant! It's a Motel!   (Oxnard, California) 'Sup, Doc?   (Steamboat Springs, Colorado) Karen Desjardin/Moment Editorial/Getty Images 'Sup, Doc?   (Steamboat Springs, Colorado) Too Many Choices   (Anaheim, California) Kari Rene Hall/LA Times via Getty Images Too Many Choices   (Anaheim, California) Happy Holidays   (Las Vegas, Nevada) Jill Tindall/Moment Editorial/Getty Images Happy Holidays   (Las Vegas, Nevada) Tuning Fork   (Arizona) Tony Savino/Corbis via Getty Images Tuning Fork   (Arizona) High Hat   (Las Vegas, Nevada) Buyenlarge/Getty Images High Hat   (Las Vegas, Nevada) Sunset on the Sands   (Carrizozo, New Mexico) Joe Sohm/Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images Sunset on the Sands   (Carrizozo, New Mexico) A Room by the Pool   (Barstow, California) David McNew/Getty Images A Room by the Pool   (Barstow, California) In the Grove   (Location Unknown) Jeff Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images In the Grove   (Location Unknown) Bashful Bob's   (Page, Arizona) Buyenlarge/Getty Images Bashful Bob's   (Page, Arizona) Big. Red. Dot.   (Ventura, California) Education Images/UIG via Getty Images Big. Red. Dot.   (Ventura, California) Life Aquatic   (Key Largo, Florida) Jeff Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images Life Aquatic   (Key Largo, Florida) Get Your Kicks   (Seligman, Arizona) Andia/UIG via Getty Images Get Your Kicks   (Seligman, Arizona) Don't Miss the "Orbit Room"   (Cape Canaveral, Florida) Found Image Holdings Inc/Corbis via Getty Images Don't Miss the "Orbit Room"   (Cape Canaveral, Florida) Pink Glow   (Location Unknown) Daniel Regner/FlickrVision Pink Glow   (Location Unknown)
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