The Motel Era (1940-1980) in CdM
While the stretch of PCH that runs through CdM today is essentially a row of banks and real estate offices with a few restaurants and bars mixed in, there was a time when there were motels all along Coast highway starting in the 1940’s, peaking in the 1960’s, and ending in the 1980’s. In an article written for CdM Village Living, the Sherman Library explained this trend, “As more people could afford automobiles, motels sprang up near California’s national parks, amusement parks, and state beaches, especially along Pacific Coast Highway. While hotels were often out of middle America’s budget, motels were budget friendly and offered people a place to stay near prime tourist designations.”
Let’s look at nine motels that formerly lined PCH, from the north end of the Village heading south. In some cases, the motel building is still there but has been re-purposed, in most instances, it was replaced.
Jamaica Inn (2121 E Coast Hwy)
Located on the NW corner of Avocado & PCH, where today there is a medical office building. It was built in the 1960’s and it was replaced by the Bank of Newport around 1980. For more on the Jamaica Inn, see our post from Jan 27.
Del Mar Motel (1607 Coast Hwy / 2333 E Coast Hwy)
Located between Acacia & Begonia, at the address where Panini Kabob Grille is located today. Was popular in the 1950s. There is some similarity between the back of Panini and the motel so maybe it uses a similar footprint but looks to be a newer building.
Crown of the Sea (2600 E Coast Hwy)
It looks to have been located on the SE corner of Dahlia in the beautiful building on the corner that today has @sennacosmetics in it.
Farm House Motel (1304 Coast Hwy / 2640 E Coast Hwy)
If you have ever noticed that the Fernleaf Courtyard look a bit like a motel - it is because it used to be the Farm House Motel according to the 1955 city directory.
Lampert Motel (1222 Coast Hwy)
Was located between Fernleaf and Goldenrod on the inland side, it would have likely been closer to Fernleaf so perhaps located between the Villa and Valia buildings.
Bay-Ocean Motel (1201 Coast Hwy)
This was the first motel in CdM, it was listed in the 1941 City Directory. It would have been located on the NW corner of Goldenrod, perhaps near Brueggers or in/near the Seven Gables building. If anyone knows more about its location, we would be interested to hear from you in the comments.
Sandy’s Motel (1015 Coast Highway)
Was located between Heliotrope and Iris, likely south of the Port Theatre. Years of operation are unknown – does anyone recognize the year of the car in the parking lot?
Sea Crest Motel (2931 E Coast Hwy)
Was also located between Heliotrope and Iris, it possibly replaced Sandy’s or was just north of it. You can see the Port Theater in the background of the photo. It has the same address that Mayur Cuisine of India has today.
Kirkwood Motel (4030 E Coast Hwy)
This motel likely had the longest tenure, it was in a 1955 directory and lasted until 1989. It was located at the corner of Seaward and PCH, where 401 Seaward, a multi-unit condo complex, is located today.
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