The long-lost classic Holiday Inn sign

A lyrical appreciation of the original Holiday Inn sign and the golden age of family motels it heralded; just as Disneyland rehabilitated roadside amusements from dangerous and dirty sleaze-towns, Holiday inn transformed motels from dens of sin into family meccas.

“Holiday Inn’s sign was a prop in a play,” says Andrew Moore, professor of communication studies at San Jose State University and an authority on motel history. “It communicated the playfulness, fantasy and optimism of the American roadside. And it meant safety for the [traveling] middle class.”

The Great Sign was brash, bold and a masterpiece. It is also, alas, extinct. The company ripped them down in a bid to be a little more upscale.

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