Saturday, March 02, 2013
The first Holiday Inn hotel opened in Memphis, Tennessee in 1952. Since then, the chain of hotels and motels has become a familiar site to travelers all around the USA... and the world! Even as a kid I liked the Holiday Inn marquee signs, designed by Memphis artist James A. Anderson. With over 500 flashing lightbulbs and 1500 feet of neon tubing, these large signs (known in the company as the "Great Sign") were hard to miss - and expensive to build. How can you not want to stay at a hotel with a giant yellow arrow and flashing star? By 1968 the 1000th location opened.
The photo below is from Somewheresville, USA, circa 1965. Merry Christmas!
Here's another Inn, date and location unknown. In spite of many (many!) car trips as a kid, we never stayed in a Holiday Inn (we were more of a HoJo's family). In fact, the only one I've visited was in Egypt. Really! It was surprisingly close the the Great Pyramid.
In 1982, the founder of the Holiday Inn chain retired, and the Board of Directors decided to do away with the classic signs, tearing them down and sending them to the scrap yard. Today only ONE original survives, having been found stored in pieces in Minnesota. It is being restored for a sign museum in North Dakota. Meanwhile, here's what the company uses these days. Hmmmm....
Holiday Inn is now owned by the British InterContinental Hotels Group, and is one of the largest hotel chains in the world.