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California Motel

(Est. 1952)
 

 

The California Motel is a vintage early 1950s motel whose external appearance has changed little over the years. It started out as a house and western extension where the rooms were located. At some point, a second level to this wing and an eastern wing were added to make space for additional rooms.

 

From the February 14, 1952 California Democrat:

 

Renfrows Sell Motel Property

Chas. E. Crawfords In Possession Jan. 1

Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Renfrow have sold their California Motel to Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Crawford of Mount Carmel, Ill. The deal was terminated last Friday.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Crawford plan to come here the first of next year to take possession of the eight unit motel with a residence in connection and the half acre of ground on highway 50 west of the intersection of highway 87.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Renfrow completed the erection of the motel property last January and moved to it from their residence on West Versailles. They have enjoyed operating the motel and had not planned to sell it. Mr. and Mrs. Crawford came through here on a vacation trip last summer and liked the motel. After looking at 25 other motel properties in various locations they returned last week to see if they could purchase the California Motel. Mr. Renfrow made them a price which they accepted.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Crawford said they were attracted to California because they liked the town and its friendly people. Mr. Crawford has been in the insurance and electric appliance business. He is also part owner of a farm near Mount Carmel on which are two small oil wells. Mr. and Mrs. Crawford are around 40 years old. They have no children.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Renfrow will remain in California but are undecided as to what business they will engage in. They plan to build a new home in the spring, after taking a rest.

 

They came here in February 1937 and opened the California Style Shop which they operated until August 1951 when they sold it to Mrs. Elsie McDaniel and Miss Mary Lou Crain, the present owners.

 

From the February 14, 1952 California Democrat:

 

California's New Motel

The California Motel, this city's first motel establishment, was recently opened by the owners and builders, Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Renfrow. Located on the south side of highway 50, two and one-half blocks west of the highway 87 intersection, it is attracting the traveling public and has been partly filled each night since it was opened for business two weeks ago.

 

In the picture above the portion to the left of the driveway or breezeway is the residence with a large living room, kitchen and dining room combined, two bedrooms, bath, utility room and office. To the right of the breezeway are the eight motel units, four on the north and four on the south. In the center of the motel section is a large storage room which can be entered from either the north or south.

 

The residence, breezeway and motel cover 142 feet east and west. The motel section is 26 feet north and south and the residence 34 feet north and south.

 

There is a gravel driveway entirely around the motel, as well as a concrete walk next to the building. The walk is protected by a 30-inch extension of the roof. Between walk and driveway is a 15-foot space which will be seeded to grass and kept mown.

 

Knotty paneling is used for the siding front and back and asbestos shingles for the remainder.

 

Interior walls of the motel rooms are variegated insulation board which served also as sound proofing. Each room has a private shower, stool and lavatory. the floors are black marble asphalt tile. Furnishings for each room include double or twin beds with heavy hotel-type springs and mattresses, plastic-covered chairs in pastel shades to match the bedspreads and rugs, a modernistic desk and a table. The windows have Venetian blinds. The woodwork is maple trim.

 

In the residence and living room walls are dark green with knotty paneling at the entrance, the bedrooms are gray and rose, the bath pink with gray tile and the kitchen walls are knotty panel, with natural wood cabinets. Floors are hardwood. Walls and fixtures of the office are knotty paneling.

 

In the utility room is located the central heating plant and the hot water plant for residence and motel. The furnace burns oil. Heat is distributed throughout the buildings by a hot water system. Hot water is provided by two 30-gallon oil heaters with an additional 140-gallon storage tank for hot water.

 

Work on the motel and residence was started Monday after Labor Day last September.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Renfrow, who were in the ladies ready-to-wear business here a number of years, sold their store when they decided to build the motel in order that he might give all his time to that enterprise. They visited motels in numerous states on their travels and based their construction plans on what they saw. Practically all the carpenter work was done by Mr. Renfrow and Oralee Barry.

 

"It was our intention in the beginning to build this motel and then offer it for sale," Mr. Renfrow says. "If we sold and did well on the venture we thought we might build another one somewhere and offer it for sale. But now that we have finished the California Motel and have started its operation we are in doubt as to whether we will offer it for sale at all. We like it and may decide we'd rather keep it and operate it ourselves than to sell."

 

Mr. and Mrs. Renfrow have added a nice facility for the traveling public in California and an establishment which improves the appearance of the town. They deserve congratulations.


 

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