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Old Motel Building – Joliet

An old “motor court” building, circa 1920s, that is located along the east side of Route 53, near Laraway Road in Joliet.

An old “motor court” building, circa 1920s, that is located along the east side of Route 53, near Laraway Road in Joliet.

History:
In the early 20th century early roads like the Lincoln Highway and Route 66 helped for the first time to connect small-town America with larger urban areas via a hard-service road. As the American public took to the road, motor courts, inns and highway motels appeared and catered to the traveling public. It was not until the 1920s that cheap, basic accommodations for road travelers appeared in the form of “motor camps:” open-air camping grounds with communal laundries and washrooms. These facilities were gradually superseded by sites providing individual huts containing beds, and thousands were built across the country between 1929 and 1933. These establishments were the forerunners of the typical “tourist court:” a semi-circular layout of cabins around a manager’s office. Soon, most courts had running water in their rooms, and over the following years air conditioning, radio, and, eventually, TV were introduced. This photograph, shows an old “motor court” building, circa 1920s, that is located along the east side of Route 53, near Laraway Road in Joliet. This site was located along old Route 66, and included at least two sets of “motor court” buildings. Currently, only one of these rare buildings, with three separate units still stands.

Source Credit:
This photograph is part of the Local History Project digitization project at Minooka Community High School.

We Need Your Help:
David Belden is a history teacher at Minooka Community High School and is currently publishing local postcard books with Arcadia Publishing in his Local History classes, including Grundy County, Joliet, Will County, Princeton and I&M Canal. He and his students are currently looking for I&M photos and postcards and Joliet photographs. If you are interested in contributing a postcard image, please email him at: dbelden@mchs.net or localhistory@mchs.net call 815-467-2140 x260. To view more postcards and images, visit www.localhistoryproject.org or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/localhistory

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