Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rancho Pillow Motel

I had this postcard for Rancho Pillow Motel for years before I decided to drive out to Sandusky to see if it was still around. The motel is still there, with a new name, located one block east of the entrance to Cedar Point.
Rancho Pillow was apparently named for an old tune recorded by Gene Autry, as well as the Andrew Sisters. The lyrics quite naturally conjure up tranquil images:
Oh, how I love my rancho pillow
Ay-yaaaay I do.
I count my sheep on rancho pillow
While rounding up a dream or two.
Halfway between old Amarillo
And heavens blue
I lay me down on rancho pillow
While twinkling stars play peek-a-boo.
To match the western motif of the song, Rancho Pillow's sign had a great illustration of a cowboy riding a huge pillow like it was a bucking bronco. 
1955 ad from the Sandusky City Directory
The cowboy can also be seen on the motel's matchbook.
The Rancho Pillow Motel is quite different now. 
Besides being renamed the South Shore Inn, another floor has been added to the original motel structure, as well as a huge modern addition. The number of rooms has increased from 24 to 100, and the motel now features Jacuzzis, high-speed Internet data ports, meeting rooms and a full service restaurant and pub.
Here is the matching "now" shot (below) of the motel that corresponds to the vintage postcard.
2007 View
The pool area shown on the vintage postcard is now a picnic area. Here is the "now" shot (below).
2007 View
Back in 2007, I visited the South Shore Inn to find out about the history of the motel, and to show the owners the vintage postcard. (I was doing "then and nows" back then for my employer's company newsletter.) 
Before I even uttered a word, a member of the family let out an excited yell upon seeing the postcard in my hand. Soon I had several family members surrounding me, fascinated that I had driven all the way there just to see if the motel was still in business.
I was given a brief history. The current owners had purchased the motel from the original owners back in the 1960s. In the mid-1980s, they decided to modernize the motel and change the name. Interestingly, they said that they probably should have kept the original name, since “Rancho Pillow” was a much more memorable name. They also showed me a framed display in the lobby with several artifacts and photos from Rancho Pillow days.
Of course, I donated the postcard to their collection as I had scanned it already.
Are you wondering what the Rancho Pillow tune sounded like? Wonder no more! Here's the Andrews Sisters' version.


Anonymous said...

Really like your posts about old motels.
And "Rancho Pillow" IS a great name.

Unknown said...

I remember having stayed there, maybe in 1960, when I was about ten.

Anonymous said...

Our high school football team travelled to see an US high school game and we stayed at the Ranch Pillow. Fond memories!

Anonymous said...

I met my sweetheart back in 1983 and we stayed the night on my Birthday while visiting Cedar Point… What a memory 😉👍🏻