I first photographed this sign in 2008. The Southern Motel was owned and managed by Mr. & Mrs. Jack Kirk. It was a modern brick motel which, judging from a 1961 postcard, was likely built in the mid to late 1950s, It’s hard to imagine that highways like U. S. 41 were the interstates before we had interstates. I’m aware that many people consider these sorts of properties and old signage nothing more than eyesores. There are others who absolutely love them. I don’t think many of them will be saved, but they’re a nice reminder of the world before interstates.
This motor court, like the Georgian, was one on which my father had a direct influence. My father had built the first brick motor court, Cordele Motor Court, in Crisp County c1946. A good friend of his, from Tennessee, Melvin South, came for an extended visit, and my father suggested that he go into the motor court business. Since we were south of town, his friend bought land and built his motor court north of town in the late 1940’s and called it South Motor Court. When he sold it to Jack Kirk, the name was changed to Southern!
In the 50s & early 60s every summer we were off to visit relatives. My mom would drive from sun up to sun down, look for a motel and pull in for the night. No reservations. I almost always had to sleep on the floor. For lunch it was a roadside park with spam sandwiches and tea or Kool-Aid.
The drive on U.S. 1 between Waycross and Jacksonville, Fla. in the 60s had lots of motels like this, along with souvenir shops, diners, full-service gas stations, and roadside attractions. As a kid it felt like driving through a long midway.
Most of us who can,relate DO APPRECIATE
This is all part of our history. Please keep posting I love this.
I love them too! What memories these places have ! Keep sending them, because I will make a trip over to some of these places!!
We need to save all this historic material. In 100 years it would be in a museum.
I love them!!
There were at least 3 motels in a row there: The Southern, The Top Hat, and The Georgian. I think after I-75 came along these were used mostly by truckers and folks doing business at the Farmers Market. Pretty soon they were just flophouses. To quote Kurt Vonnegut, “so it goes……”