The Traveler
The Newsletter of the Lincoln Highway Association - California Chapter

Fall 2000


Recommended Reading

by Wes Hammond

Home Away from Home: Motels in America
by John Margolies

The completion of the Lincoln Highway and improvement of many other highways opened up an entirely new method of travel. Individuals and families, in their new automobiles, could venture a considerable distance away from their homes. It was an entirely new world. Those traveling a distance requiring an overnight stay needed facilities for sleeping, cooking, bathing, etc. The first travelers simply found a convenient site along the road. They set up a tent camp and then moved on the next day.

Next on the scene were "auto camps." These commercial establishments offered a facility that was an improvement above road camping, with hot water, toilets, fire pits, etc. These were followed by "auto cabins" or "tourist cabins." The auto traveler now did not have to put up a tent. He could sleep indoors in a bed, have a shower and had kitchen space to prepare a meal. There might even have been a garage next to his cabin to park the car under cover.

This all evolved into the concept of a motel ("motor-hotel"). The book traces the history of this new concept in 20th century automobile travel. A large selection of great photos show early auto camping and, with text and newer motel photos, show the evolution to the modern motel as we know it today.

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