“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.