First up, here is one of the original units in the now ubiquitous Motel 6 chain. Motel 6 was founded in 1962 when the original room charge was $6.60. Although their rates have risen some since then, they still provide basic rooms to those travelling on a budget.
Here is the Bakersfield '6' back in its heyday:
It looks like a warm day and the parking lot is full. It's hard to tell, but there appears to be a late 1950's Imperial parked in the lot, judging by the Flight-Sweep deck lid in evidence.
The pool is located right in the front, just off of the street. You'll also notice that there was a Sambo's restaurant located right next door; we'll stop in for a cup of coffee in just a few minutes...But first, let's visit the Motel 6 today:
The 40 year old building looks pretty much the same. It was never stylish to begin with, but then again Motel 6 wasn’t known for setting standards in the field of design. The place is now an Econolodge and rooms are advertised for $39.96 for a single. That’s a 600% increase from its Motel 6 glory days!
OK, OK…I know you’re wondering about the pool area. You ask if the remaining water is all green and slimy? Is it filled in with dirt and pushing up weeds? Or paved over for additional parking perhaps?
Can weary travelers still be refreshed after a long and tiring drive?
Well, I'm happy to report that the answer to that last question is a big fat ‘Yes!’
The whole pool area doesn’t look bad at all; and there’s even a life-ring to throw in for those having trouble staying afloat:
I’ll take the second floor room closest to that overhanging balcony. I like to be able to keep an eye on the kids while they work up an appetite for dinner…
Which will be served next door at Sambo’s!!!
And what a fine sight this place must have been when twilight was setting in and dinner was calling. Of course, pancakes were available 24-7 and I’d bet that the Club House was cut in quarters as is proper. Steaks and Chicken were also in the spotlight.
Featuring a rakish and somewhat different design than the Sambo’s in Modesto, this beautiful building calls out to passers by (and those staying next door) quite effectively.
When I was seeking out this location, I expected to find very little remaining of the original design. Boy was I surprised to see how much was still intact:
Let’s take a tour around the former Sambo’s, which now moonlights as Lamina (“Plate” in Spanish) and serves down-home Mexican food to hungry Vaquero’s…
Here’s a side view:
You don’t see decorative fencing like this anymore (but I do):
I’m not sure if they chose the six letter ‘Lamina’ so that they could still use these fanciful oval billboards to display the name...But I'm glad they did!
And if you stare at the sign without blinking for a minute or so, the letters will slowly change to: S-A-M-B-O-S ...
This area would have held lush landscaping, as befits a family restaurant. Looks like they lost a palm tree sometime back:
And here’s a close-up of the terrific rock work, which is one of my favorite elements of coffee shop design circa the Space Age. Too bad the ‘Sambo’s’ lettering no longer floats in front of the rough hewn surfaces (is that corn growing in the flowerbed?):
Why don’t they design buildings with angles like these anymore?