Our vintage postcard for Flashback Friday this week depicts a classic 1960s era downtown motel — the Raleigh TraveLodge. The building still stands and functions as a motel, but you’d never recognize it today.
60 Units — Central Air Conditioning & Heating — Heated Pool — Television — Telephones — Baby Cribs
Restaurant adjacent. Close to Capitol Building, downtown Raleigh and all State Buildings.
A while back we published a photochrome postcard like this one of another downtown motel — the Raleigh Cabana. That hostelry, however, is long gone. The Raleigh Convention Center stands on its site today.
TraveLodge and Sleepy Bear
TraveLodge was one of the first budget motel chains in the United States. It was established in 1939 with the opening of the chain’s first motel in Southern California.
During its early years, TraveLodge marketed itself as a budget motel chain that offered basic accommodations at rates lower than other chains. TraveLodge also emphasized that its motels were centrally located in or near downtown areas in order to be convenient to local restaurants, churches, theaters, shopping areas and tourist attractions.
Today, Travelodge is part of the Wyndham Hotel Group, the “global leader in hospitality,” operating more than 7,000 hotels worldwide. Travelodge is well-known for its familiar mascot, Sleepy Bear, a half awake teddy bear wearing a sleeping cap with his name embroidered on it.
This is an early version of Sleepy Bear and the TraveLodge logo. Below, a rather creepy-looking Sleepy takes a spin in his Bear Mobile.
Below is the 21st century version of Sleepy Bear and the Travelodge logo.
The Downtown Raleigh TraveLodge Story
When the Raleigh TraveLodge opened in 1965 at the head of Downtown Blvd. (now Capital Blvd.), Raleigh was in the midst of a growth spurt as it began its evolution into the major mid-sized city we know today. The Beltline was barely half-complete, US Highways 1, 401, 70 and 64 still crisscrossed the city center, and I-40 was but a twinkle in eye of state highway engineers.
Eventually the US highways were routed around the city, leading to the growth of suburban motels along the course of the Beltline. Diminished occupancy spelled the doom of the TraveLodge, and it closed in 1971.
A Journey’s End motel then occupied the building for two decades before it closed in the early 1990s. It was followed by a Regency Inn, which closed in 2003.
Finally, the aging building was acquired by Day’s Inn (also part of the Wyndham conglomerate), and underwent a major modernization and refurbishment. Now, ten years later, the motel seems to have secured a foothold at the head of Capital Blvd.
Today, the remodeled Capital Blvd. facade of the former TraveLodge motel would be unrecognizable to a traveler of the 1960s.
Our Flashback Friday ‘photochrome’ postcard this week was printed by the Curt Teich Co. of Chicago under the trade name ‘Curteichcolor’ (3-D Natural Color Repro).
Curt Teich Co. 1893-1974 Chicago, IL
A major publisher and printer. Their U.S. factories turned out more cards in quantity than any other printer. They published a wide range of national view-cards of America and Canada. Many consider them one of the finest producers of White Border Cards. The Linen Type postcard came about through their innovations as they pioneered the use of offset lithography. They were purchased by Regensteiner Publishers in 1974 which continued to print cards at the Chicago plant until 1978.
“Flashback Friday” is a weekly feature of Goodnight, Raleigh! in which we showcase vintage postcards depicting our historic capital city. We hope you enjoy this week end treat!