Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tradewinds Motor Hotel - Fresno, CA

Here's a fun scene from the 60's...elderly folks (and a few young ones) being served by the poolside at "The Tradewinds" in Fresno, California.

"The Tradewinds is centered in the heart of California's vacationland at the Gateway to Yosemite, King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. We are a Master Hosts Motor Hotel with 112 delightfully air conditioned rooms overlooking a lovely garden patio and heated swimming pool."

Ahhhh...the good old days...

As of 2007, the Tradewinds was still holding out against Father Time, but things weren't looking up.

When I paid a visit, the only guests appeared to be a busload of German tourists who had recently made their arrival. Sure, they appeared content enough, and the pool was a big hit on this 100 degree afternoon. But signs of decline and decay were everywhere: the vegetation was overgrown, a broken fence gate was left wide open to the street, and the parking lot was deserted.

At that time, The Tradewinds was part of the Best Western chain, an affiliation since terminated. The Tradewinds now faces the future as an independent motel, a tough task in today's nationally-branded lodging market.

My picture was taken from a second story balcony, the same perch used by the postcard artist I believe.

Another sure sign of trouble was the status of the Gaslight Room Steakhouse: CLOSED. This colorful space is now used only for the free breakfast and coffee service. The brick barbecue pit, rustic fittings, and carving stations remain. Wagon wheels and other Western flotsam adorn the neglected walls.

Likewise, the former cocktail lounge was shuttered to the German masses. After their long journey from who knows where, they probably could have used the services of this mid-century watering hole.

At least the sign still stands proudly...

Of additional note, The Tradewinds was once affiliated with the Ray Douglas' Pine Cone chain, with sister restaurants in Merced, Modesto (my home town), San Jose & San Leandro. Pictured below is the former Modesto location.

Note the similar signage and the steakhouse name: Branding Iron. This was the original name used at The Tradewinds also. Why or when the name was changed to the Gaslight Room remains a mystery.

All the Pine Cones are now gone, but the Modesto outpost soldiers on as an Acapulco Mexican Restaurant & Cantina.


Lainey Schallock said...

Hi there! Just checking in! I hope you haven't abandoned your blog and left it for dead. I just love your photos! What memories! Best, Lainey

walterworld said...

Thank you Lainey...

I'm still in the game - Just wish I had a little extra time to spend on posting. It's fun to do just for myself, but when someone leaves a nice comment like yours it gives me a bit o' incentive to make the time and get it done.

P.S. Very happy to have discovered Miscellainy---it's quite charming---as one might expect from a fan of Mary Blair...

Take care and I look forward to your future posts!

Raybies said...

Wow what a blast. I wonder if this blog is still active since the last post was in 2007. Well we will see what response I get. I recently bought a Menu at auction in Australia of "Ray Douglas'Branding Iron" Steak house. A fantastic piece of ephemra. If I get any response I will post a photo of it here. Nice I could track something down first go.

steve said...

The Pine Cone Inn is long gone in Merced (a sad day when the sign finally left us)... but the building still stands now as a Vagabond Inn and the Pine Cone Inn restaurant & Coffee shop is now the Pine Cone Mongolian BBQ, and still attached.