Monday, October 7, 2013

Elyria Travelodge Then & Now

I saw this postcard – for the Elyria Travelodge – on Ebay recently, and since it was only a few bucks, I sprang for it.

1962 Elyria Phone Book listing
When I was a kid, the Elyria Travelodge was one of those landmarks that I used to watch for from the back seat when we were in Elyria for some reason and coming up via Route 113. Why? Because I liked Sleepy, the bear that Travelodge used as their advertising mascot. (More on Sleepy tomorrow!)

Using the small selection of Elyria phone books at the Lorain Public Library, along with the Lorain phone books, I was able to put together a rough timeline for the motel.

The Elyria Travelodge showed up in the Elyria phone book in October 1961, followed by the Lorain phone book a year later. So it looks like the motel dates to the early 1960s.

It's interesting that the 1962 phone book ad mentions both the Howard Johnson restaurant next door, as well as Carey's Villa.

Here's another version of the same postcard – this one with the water tower cropped out (and a fake, cloudy sky added).

The motel continued to show up in the Elyria phone book until the 1986 edition, when the motel's listing disappeared.

Today the Elyria Fire Department's Engine Company 3 occupies the motel's former location (below) in my "now" shot.

More than 50 years after the motel first opened, the trees have now grown to obscure the water tower in the vintage postcard. You can see part of it (it's now bright blue) peeking through the trees above the blue dumpster if you look closely.

The grassy center strip in the middle of State Route 57 is gone. And the Howard Johnson's mentioned in the vintage ad is long-gone as well.

Tomorrow: The Bear Facts About Sleepy Bear 


Anonymous said...

I liked Sleepy also! I can recall seeing a Travelodge in Barstow,CA when we visited in 1963 because of that bear.

Didn't there use to be an old small sign showing Sleepy along Oberlin/Elyria Road, in the area of where the drive-in was, and there may still be the pole(s) that held it up, hidden by trees?

Dan Brady said...

If you liked Sleepy Bear, then you'll love tomorrow' post, it's a real Sleepy-Palooza. That's interesting that you remember a Travelodge sign out by the Carlisle Drive-in. I think I remember seeing Sleepy on the motel building on the side that faced Rt 113 too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, he was in a sign along 113, or it could be seen from there. I thought he looked like a little stuffed doll. I look forward to your post tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

That was my great uncle's motel. We used to swim there in the summer.