Posted by: Brad Nixon | January 5, 2013

Space Age Lodge

You might be driving anywhere in America. It’s the sort of thing one can encounter from Maine to Oregon, Minnesota to Key West. In this case, you’re driving east along Interstate 8 through southern Arizona, heading for the west side of Phoenix. You hop off the freeway at Gila Bend, intending to connect with Route 85 north, then strike eastward again on Interstate 10. And, as happens almost every time one abandons the homogenized world of freeways, you SEE something worth another look.

Space Age Lodge Brad Nixon 8554

The Space Age Lodge? Stop the car! Man, this is why one drives great distances instead of taking a one-hour flight from San Diego to Phoenix!

What immediately struck this traveler was the excellent condition of this property. All too often, roadside period pieces such as this are derelict or decaying, abandoned or even not there any more at all, in which case, you missed it by sitting home watching re-runs of “The Rifleman” instead of exploring! Here’s what I mean about the condition of the place:

Space Age Lodge Brad Nixon 8557

Absolutely beautiful, well-maintained and thriving. Well, what in the heck IS this joint, anyway?

The place was built in 1965, one of five space-themed motels built by a man named Art Stovall. There’s some more information at http://www.phoenixmag.com/History/space-age-lodge.html.

According to one story, some years ago a neon sign shorted out and almost burnt the place down. The owners put up a sign: “attacked by aliens.” Sadly, the other four establishments, all within an hour’s drive of my home, no longer have their original theming.

We didn’t take time to look inside the place, which features paintings, murals and decorative details that carry out the space travel theme in full. The exterior suggests some of what must await inside.

Space Age Lodge Brad Nixon 8559

There are places like this everywhere under western skies, if you keep your eyes peeled and stay prepared to pull off the highway when you spot ’em

© Brad Nixon 2013, 2017

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Responses

  1. My, you do get around.

    Like

    • Pot, meet kettle.

      Like


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