/ Charles Platt / 8 pm Tue, Jun 17 2014
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  • The sad old motels of Barstow, California

    The sad old motels of Barstow, California

    Barstow, California, once a shining oasis along the sweltering asphalt of Route 66, is now but a relic of times nearly forgotten. A photo gallery by Charles Platt.

    Back in the days before cars were air-conditioned, Barstow,
    California was a popular stopover for travelers who arrived exhausted
    and thirsty from crossing the Mojave desert. Chuck Berry included
    Barstow in his homage to Route 66, and prior to that, it was a railroad

    Alas, Barstow fell on hard times when Route 66 was bypassed by the
    Interstate highway system. You might think it could still lure some
    guests, being located beside I-15 halfway between Los Angeles and Las
    Vegas. But the drive to Vegas has become so easy, no one needs to
    interrupt it anymore.

    Consequently Barstow has become an elephants' graveyard for old
    motels. I spent a couple of hours, recently, photographing the rows of
    single-story cabins that used to be the default configuration for
    American lodging. I was amazed to find that many of the old places are
    still hanging on, offering rates for a mere $25 and up.

    I have to admit, I stayed in a Best Western myself. But the next time
    I drive in to Los Angeles from my home in Northern Arizona, maybe I'll
    try a place with a little more history. I'm especially tempted by the
    Stardust Inn, with its name and even its logo plagiarized from the old
    Stardust hotel on the Las Vegas strip. That hotel was demolished in
    2006, but the motel still survives as a source of memories of a time
    that most of us never knew.

    motel a

    motel b

    motel c

    motel d

    motel e

    motel f

    motel g

    motel h

    motel i

    motel j

    motel k

    motel l

    motel m

    motel n

    motel o

    motel p

    motel q

    motel r

    motel s

    motel t

    motel u

    motel v

    motel w