For more than 30 years, SCA member Jim “Motel King” Seelen has been collecting images of motels. His database contains more than 23,000 images with details on more than 14,000 motels that once operated in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The SCA is pleased to offer Jim Seelen’s motel image collection to its members for fun and research.* The database can be accessed in several ways, by state or province, country or alphabetically.
Seelen painstakingly documented each motel using photos, postcards, matchbook covers, ashtrays, and travel guides. “Just about anything to prove the motel existed,” he says. So many of the motels in the collection are gone, and reassembling the images would be difficult. “Some of the signs were just criminal to have lost,” he laments.
The most popular motel name in Seelen’s collection is Western, followed by Sands, Sunset, El Rancho, Colonial, Bel Air (or Bel Aire), Thunderbird, Capri, Frontier, and Crest. Seelen admits his ranking is “Not real scientific, but it’s the only show in town.”