Results tagged “motel” from Raincross Square

University Avenue: TraveLodge

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As mentioned before, Eighth Street -- now University Avenue -- in Riverside's eastside was once the city's "motel row." In many ways, with several motels, hotels and eateries remaining, it still serves that purpose today.

One of the earliest major chain motels to pop up on the stretch between downtown and UC Riverside was the Riverside TraveLodge. Located at 1911 Eighth Street (University Avenue), city permits indicate the motel likely opened in late 1951 or early 1952. Aerial photos from 1948 confirm the hotel was not present.

pc-riv-1950s-motel-004a-A-800.jpg
@1952
Riverside TraveLodge

pc-riv-1950s-motel-005a-A-800.jpg
@1957
Riverside TraveLodge
with expansion, pool

pc-riv-1960s-motel-003a-A-800.jpg
@1965
Riverside TraveLodge
with 'Sleepy Bear' motif

riv-2010c-university-1911-001a-800.jpg
2010
Budget Inn
with pool removed

To the right are 3 postcards from the 1950s and 1960s showing the TraveLodge. The back of the first postcard reads:

Riverside's Newest and Finest Close In Motor Hotel. 24 De-Luxe units. Beauty-rest beds, tile baths, wall-to-wall carpets.

In 1953/54, city permits were issued for an expansion that appears to have nearly doubled the number of rooms. And in 1955, a permit was issued for a swimming pool. Aerial photos indicate both the expansion and pool were in place by 1959. The second postcard -- from the mid- to late-1950s -- which shows the added rooms and pool, reads as follows:

Riverside's largest and finest close-in motor hotel. Heated pool, radio, TV and phone in rooms. Wall to wall carpeting. Tiled showers with Hollywood glass doors -- Beauty Rest beds -- refrigerated air -- kitchenettes. AAA approved.

The last postcard, which has a 1966 postmark on the back, shows new signage and the addition of TraveLodge's "Sleepy Bear" mascot to the motel's exterior. It also appears the previously pinkish-hued motel received a lighter shade of paint but with brightly painted doors added for accent. The back of this card reads:

Heated Pool -- New TVs -- Radio & Phone in Rooms -- REDECORATED! -- Beauty Rest beds, Kitchenettes, Air-Conditioned

Today, the former TraveLodge is known as the Budget Inn. We're not sure when the TraveLodge name was removed from the motel, but seem to recall it lasting into the early 1990s. However, a 1993 chamber publication lists the hotel simply as Riverside Motel while a 1996 permit to demo the pool (1965 | 2010) was issued under the current Budget Inn nameplate.

Related

Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library


pc-riv-1950s-motel-003a-A-600.jpg
1950s
Town & Country

pc-riv-1960s-motel-004a-A-600.jpg
1960s
Sage & Sand

pc-riv-1960s-motel-007a-A-600.jpg
1960s
Caravan Inn

riv-2010c-university-1510-002-600.jpg
2010
Courtyard by Marriott

Prior to the building of the 60 Freeway through Riverside in the early 1960s, the main highway heading into downtown from the east was Eighth Street. Visitors traveling between Palm Springs and Los Angeles could grab some rest at any one of the half-dozen or so small, roadside motels scattered along a two-mile stretch between UC Riverside and downtown. As such, Eighth Street -- now University Avenue -- became the city's "motel row."

With its proximity to the city's early industrial areas, UC Riverside, March AFB and the now defunct Riverside International Raceway, the accumulation of motels, hotels and restaurants grew considerably during the 1960s and 1970s as national chains the likes of Ramada Inn and Holiday Inn began popping up. And by the 1990s, larger hotels, such as Days Inn (now Courtyard by Marriott), had sprung up as well.

However, as in many cities across the nation, when the newer and larger hotels arrived, the smaller motels began decaying, eventually leading to seedier surroundings. Likewise, the 1987 opening of downtown's 12-story Sheraton (now Marriott), the closing of Riverside International Raceway in 1989 and the 1993 reopening of downtown's historic Mission Inn dealt a tough blow to even the larger hotels. By the mid-1990s, control of the former Ramada and Holiday inns would be assumed by UC Riverside, which uses the adjacent properties for offices, classrooms and exchange student housing.

Since 2000, however, Riverside has invested millions of dollars in implementing the University Avenue specific plan that included refurbishing and/or phasing out the older, seedier motels and adding landscaping to the curb and street medians. More recently, several of the decaying motels have been demolished. A large, mixed-use apartment complex for UCR students replaced one, a retail center replaced another, while a few others have become empty lots awaiting redevelopment.

Over the ensuing months, we hope to spotlight a few of these motels and hotels and maybe even a couple of the eateries, some of which no longer exist. For now, below are a few photos from the three mid-century neon signs that remain from "motel row's" past.


riv-2010c-university-1393-005-400.jpg
2010
Farm House
riv-2010c-university-2140-005-400.jpg
2010
Skylark
riv-2010c-university-2711-006a-400.jpg
2010
Thunderbird
riv-2010c-university-2711-008ac-600.jpg
2010
Thunderbird
riv-2009c-university-2711-009-400.jpg
2009
Thunderbird


Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library


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