Northwest Neon VIII

“They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway!”

When the Drifters sang these words back in 1963, I doubt they were singing about Everett’s Brodway Avenue. However, as a former stretch of Highway 99, Broadway Ave is still dotted with great neons from its past life as a major highway. Today’s post will examine bright neon signs all found along Broadway.


Everett Motel; Everett, Washington

Guarding an empty lot just down the street from Everett Community College is this gem. The motel itself was built in 1940, but its unclear if the sign is of the same vintage. I would guess that the sign probably dates from the 1950s or 60s.

The motel had undoubtedly known many owners over the decades, but four of such owners were Gloria and Orlo Williams, and Mr. and Mrs. Mel Graeber, who appear to have owned it in the 60s, maybe the 50s.  Orlo was born and raised in Everett, and he also passed away in Everett in 2009. He and Gloria owned a local real estate company that continues to this day.

Before the days of area codes, the motel’s number was AL(pine)2-0518.

The story of the Everett Motel seems to follow the same narrative as most historic motels. When I-5 opened through Everett in 1969 and flashy chain hotels became the norm, it fell on hard times, descended into disrepair, and attracted the wrong kinds of guests and residents. There are Yelp reviews for the Everett Motel as recently as 2012, the same year the motel was listed as for sale. It’s unclear when the motel was demolished, although it was sometime between 2012 and 2016.

Something unique about this sign are the little bubbles advertising the motel’s smoke shop, a fixture that stayed until the very end.



“Open Late” at Broadway Ave & California St; Everett, Washington

It’s open late! But just what “it” refers to is unclear.

These days, this neon sort of points to a Taco Bell, and sort of points down California Street. I don’t know if the sign is referring to a restaurant, a bowling alley, or perhaps a grocery store, but whatever it originally pointed out is surely long gone. The sign, however, is better maintained than most.



Ray’s Drive-In; Everett, Washington

Speaking of well-maintained neons, check out this one from Ray’s Drive-In! Ray and Ruby Campbell opened this local icon in 1962, buying a small house and tearing it down to build the restaurant. It has been family owned for the last 56 years, and is now run by the Campbells’ grandson, Jeff.


Summer Motel Guide Part VI

While the recent weather seems to say that the days of sunny, 80-degree weather have come to a close, summer isn’t officially over until September 22. Know what that means? One last installment in the Summer Motel Series!

Today, I present you with a mid-century look at the Coulee Dam Motel!

Fall asleep to the sounds of the Grand Coulee Dam!

Despite my research, I couldn’t find anything about this motel other than the information on the back of the postcard. A cruise around Coulee Dam on Google Maps suggests that this current motel is no longer standing. However, it appears that it may have been replaced with the Columbia River Inn.

The Columbia River Inn, courtesy of Google Maps

The Columbia River Inn was built in 1972 and offers 35 rooms at what claims to be some of the lowest rates in town. Located at 10 Lincoln Avenue in Coulee Dam, WA, it sits right across the road from the Grand Coulee Dam Visitor’s Center and has views of the dam itself. The laser light show, which debuted in 1989, is just a short walk away June through October.

Since the dam’s construction, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was aware of public interest in its history and planned and built a variety of tourist attractions. To encourage visitors to stay the night in local motels, the bureau introduced the first light show in 1957.

COULEE DAM MOTEL Coulee Dam, Washington. Phone–90. “Just Below the Falls” Offering a fascinating and ever-changing view of the falls of the mighty Grand Coulee Dam and the spectacular colored lighting thereon at night. 44 Rooms.

While the motel pictured in the postcard is no longer standing, there are several old motels located around Coulee Dam, and the laser show runs through the end of the month. The summer weather may have vanished, but we still have 5 days of summer left.

There’s still time to take a quick trip.

Summer Motel Guide Part V

It may be September, but summer isn’t over yet! It’s not too late to pay a visit to one of the vintage beauties featured in the Summer Motel Guide.

If you’ve been thinking about heading to the Moses Lake area, why not try the Sage n’ Sand Motel and Coffee Shop? Especially if you like to swim.

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This unusual 1960s postcard captures the motel’s small but welcoming pool area and its glowing neon sign. The Sage n’ Sand, built in the early 1950s, was not only a place for travelers to sleep and swim, but also a place for passing motorists to grab a cup of coffee or a bite to eat.

This motel featured all of the modern amenities: a heated pool, air conditioning, phones, televisions, and radios. It even offered suites and rooms with kitchenettes. Like many motels of yesteryear, it was AAA accredited.

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Aerial View via Google Earth

Located at 1011 S. Pioneer Way in Moses Lake, the Sage n’ Sand is still open for business. While the interior has been modernized, the outside still bolsters a retro 50s look and the original pool. With 14 different room styles, there is something for everyone.

If I only knew if they still had those blue-and-gold patio chairs…

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SAGE N’ SAND MOTEL AND COFFEE SHOP Heated Swimming Pool. 12 Blocks East of City Center. Phone ROckwell 5-4538. MOSES LAKE, WASHINGTON. 37 Air Conditioned Units. Suites. Kitchenettes. Apartments. Phones. TV. Free Radios. MEMBERS– best western & AAA

Summer Motel Guide Part IV

I hope you all have been finding good ways to stay cool during this late summer heat wave! Maybe this installment to the Summer Motel Guide will give you some ideas.

Straight out of 1966, here is Patti-O Park in Soap Lake, WA.

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“Soap” up the Sun at Soap Lake!

Soap Lake, named for the Indian word Smokiam, is a meromictic lake long loved for it’s mineral-rich waters and thick black mud, both of which were believed to posses healing properties. These healing waters have attracted tourists for decades, paving the way for a number of hotels, health spas, and sanitariums.

There is not much information available about Patti-O Park. Now Smokiam Resort, it is located on the Northern end of Soap Lake and offers four types of camping: RV, tent, cabin, and Teepee.

According to the information on the back, it was a health spa approved by the State Health Department, owned and operated by Jim and Georgetta Draper. While this postcard dates from the mid-60s, a 1978 issue of the Coulee City newspaper mentions a family reunion at the park.

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PATTI-O PARK- North end of Soap Lake, Wash. “The Greatest Health Spa of the West.” Fifty overnight camping sites and Trailer spaces by Day, Week, or month. 300 foot beach, enclosed swimming area for children. Groceries, cold drinks, and sundries. Approved by the State Health Dept. Two miles from the City of Soap Lake. Owned and operated by Jim and Georgetta Draper.

The message scrawled on the back doesn’t provide much help:

“Dear Rude: We came to Soap Lake for a week yesterday. Dale & family will join us today. Maynard got home Tues and is fine. His eye is well he said. Love, Lucy”

Summer Motel Guide Part III

Summer has finally arrived in Washington state, and with it comes the next installment to the Summer Motel Guide!

Located on Wannacut Lake in Tonasket, WA, I invite you to visit Norma & Virgil “Stone’s Resort.”

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Check out the wood paneling!

While there is not much information to be found about the history of the motel, it appears as though it opened sometime in the 1960s. A 1968 ad in the Spokesman-Review (a Spokane newspaper) calls it “Stone’s Wannacut Lake Resort” and touts it as a “modern trailer park” with “complete camp facilities.” According to the ad, the resort offered horseback riding and was “open thru hunting season.”

Horses and hunting aside, what is perhaps most noteworthy about this motel is its remarkable ability to resist time. Now called Sun Cove Resort, it still offers trailer camping spots, regular camping spots, motel rooms, and access to Wannacut Lake. The motel rooms remain covered in wood paneling and outfitted with groovy blue appliances. According to online reviews, there is no cell service, no phones in the rooms, and no television.

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Norma & Virgil STONE’S RESORT Tonasket, WA. On Wannacut Lake. (509) 476-2223. New, all-electric units, completely equipped. Modern trailer park & camping facilities. Fishing, hunting, swimming, boats, store, saddle horses, miniature golf.

And while the wood paneling and blue appliances are enough to catapult you into retro heaven, there is one more thing to attest to the resort’s ability to defy time: The phone number seen on this 1960s postcard is the same phone number the resort uses today.

So if you’re looking for a piece of yesteryear to stay in this summer, you may find it suitable to dial (509) 476-2223.

Summer Motel Guide Part II

Next up in the Summer Motel Guide is perhaps Darnell’s fiercest competitor: Campbell’s Resort on Lake Chelan.

In 1898, Judge C.C. Campbell, his wife Caroline, and his son Arthur moved from Sioux City, Iowa to Chelan, Washington where he paid $400 for a plot of lakeside land. Three years later, the Campbell family opened the 16-room Chelan Hotel.

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Summer fun at Campbell’s, c. 1960s

The hotel was known for it’s hospitality and good food, attracting guests from all walks of life. Following the end of Word War I, both business and the economy were booming. After graduating from the University of Washington, serving in World War I, and marrying, Arthur Campbell returned to Chelan, where he planted an apple orchard and dug out the basement of the hotel to make room for a larger restaurant.

Like most Americans, the Campbell family felt the burden of the Depression, but they managed to stay in business, and by the late 1930s, the local economy was recovering.

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CAMPBELL’S LODGE on Lake Chelan, Wash. Phone 255. Beautiful Refrigerated Air-Conditioned Motor Lodge. Conveniently located on Lake Chelan’s excellent sandy beach. Private Patios. Television and two new heated pools.

Arthur’s two sons, Arthur II and Dan, followed in their father’s footsteps, serving in the military (World War II), and returning to Chelan and the family business. Both sons became active in the community, serving on city council and the park board. The hotel began developing fishing cabins and planning for future expansion.

With the addition of motel units in 1955, the former Chelan Hotel  became known as Campbell’s Lodge (Lodge 1). Additional buildings, known as Lodge 4, were added in 1963, along with a dance pavilion, a dining room, and carefully landscaped grounds. Lodge 2 was added in 1972, and Lodge 5 arrived in 1983 with the annexation of Cannon’s Resort. The final Lodge, Lodge 3, opened in 1990.

The past 26 years have seen significant remodels and the addition of the Stehekin Ballroom. After 115 years of continuous business, Campbell’s Resort is still owned by the Campbell family.

On a side note, today is the 100th anniversary of Boeing! I regret that I don’t have any Boeing memorabilia to share with you, but invite you to celebrate with this catchy ditty from Washington’s own Jeff Afdem! In the words of Pat O’Day, “Happy birthday, Big B!”

Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of this blog! Thank you to all of my readers, followers, and commentors! It’s been a great year here on The Northwest Past, and I hope to make the next year even more productive!

Summer Motel Guide Part I

Summer is officially here, which means that it’s time to think about summer vacation. What to do? Where to go? Where to stay? In case you’re planning to visit the eastern side of the Evergreen State and want to stay in lodging that’s a bit older than the local La Quinta, the Summer Motel Guide might be for you!

First up is Darnell’s Resort on Lake Chelan. Located on a 4-acre waterfront property, Darnell’s offers tennis, swimming, golfing, boating, volleyball, basketball, and horseshoes, among other amenities.

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Darnell’s in the 1960s

Information on Darnell’s Resort is scarce. It was built sometime in the 1950s by Ernest De Koven Leffingwell “Ernie” Darnell, Sr., who was born in Chelan and raised in Seattle. He had worked as a plumber and owned a refrigeration business before retiring at the age of 41 and returning to his hometown.

Following Ernie’s death in 1971, his son Raleigh claimed ownership of the resort. Sometime after Raleigh’s death in 2001, Darnell’s was purchased by Columbia Hospitality, a hospitality management firm. As of 2010, the resort is once again family-owned.

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DARNELL’S RESORT Chelan, Wash. 98816. Phone 160. 13 ultra modern furnished units with G.E. kitchens. 300 feet of sandy beach on Lake Chelan. 1 mile from town off highway. SADDLE HORSES, Archery, Golf, Ski Boats, Bicycles, Tennis, Badminton Court, Ping Pong Table, Croquet, Shuffleboard, Dancing Area, Children’s Play Area with Wading Pool. Outdoor Charcoal Barbecues, Lawn Furniture. Swim & Play– Darnell Way

Darnell’s Resort is located at 901 Spader Bay Rd, Chelan, WA 98816.

For more retro fun, and what looks like a few glimpses of Darnell’s, check out this 1950s footage of Lake Chelan.