Sunday, 22 October 2017 19:51

A bit of history of ‘Motel Row’ on North Temple

Clockwise from upper left: Rooftop sign for the old Scotty’s Motel, office of All Star Travel Motel at 754 W., the Overniter Motel sign at 1500 W., Ramada sign at location of old Holiday Inn on Redwood Rd, Dream Inn historic sign at 1865 W., and entrance to Gateway Inn at 819 W.     Photo composite by Michael Evans|||| Clockwise from upper left: Rooftop sign for the old Scotty’s Motel, office of All Star Travel Motel at 754 W., the Overniter Motel sign at 1500 W., Ramada sign at location of old Holiday Inn on Redwood Rd, Dream Inn historic sign at 1865 W., and entrance to Gateway Inn at 819 W. Photo composite by Michael Evans|||| ||||

By Michael Evans

Until the 70s, North Temple was considered part of US Highway 40, linking the Rockies of Colorado with the Sierras of Nevada and California, through Vernal, Roosevelt, Salt Lake City and Wendover. There were once about two-dozen motels along Highway 40 between the LDS Temple and Salt Lake Airport, many built after WWII as freeways and jet planes revolutionized consumer travel. Most of them are now demolished. These five remain:

The oldest remnant of these motels was once called Scotty’s. Built before WWII, it is now known as the All Star Travel Motel. The adjacent restaurant, formerly run by the Beany family, prospers as the Red Iguana. The family lived above the restaurant, where the offices are now.

The Demman family moved their restaurant from the corner southwest of the old Jackson Junior High to North Temple, west of the fairgrounds, adding accommodations, which now exist as the Overnite Motel. The small white clapboard building, which housed their soda fountain for so many years, still exists at 700 West and 200 North.

The former Holiday Inn on the southeast corner of Redwood Road and North Temple hosted touring rock stars like Tommy Roe, the Moody Blues, the Turtles, and Frank Zappa, the latter two writing songs about the place, long before Ramada bought it.

The Gateway Motel, across from the Jackson/Euclid TRAX Station, opened under a different name at the same time as the Holiday Inn. It once served LDS Conference visitors from as far away as the Panama Canal Zone in the 1960s.

The Dream Inn sports the sole remaining North Temple hospitality product made by local business Young Electric Signs, famous for their glitzy signs in Las Vegas.

These old motels serve as a reminder of a bygone era of post-war prosperity and confidence that many thought would continue to an unforseen future.