Farewell to the Port Motel

Port Motel, Port Trevorton, PA

The news hit me last week that the Port Motel sign has officially disappeared. Built in 1952, the Port was part of a bygone era, before interstate highways, when US routes were the main mode of transportation. This motel was along US 11 and 15 along the Susquehanna in the town of Port Trevorton, PA, and its original design contained an Esso station and the Port Diner. The motel closed a number of years ago and it had been turned into storage units, all the while the motel sign remaining.

From old post cards of the motel, I discovered that the star was added later, perhaps as late as the seventies. If you’ll notice on the wireframe below the sign and to the left, that once housed a bit of neon as well, proudly announcing that they had “TV.”

Port Motel, Port Trevorton, PA

This sign was the subject of at least three photo shoots of mine. This last grouping was from August of last year, and as far as anyone can tell, the sign disappeared over the winter. I had previously shot the sign in the morning, and these were from magic hour, as you can tell from the shadows of me and my Elantra above.

Port Motel sign, Port Trevorton, PA

If anyone has any news about the whereabouts of this sign, it would be greatly appreciated. I would hate to think it’s lying about in a junkyard somewhere.

Farewell, old friend. Visit this and many other lost treasures in my Vanishing America section.

Motel Madness

Port Motel, Port Trevorton, PA

One of the things that I noticed right away is that people tend to respond very positively toward my pictures of motel signs. I found this interesting, and somewhat understandable. We all have some weird visceral response to motels, whether it be through experience or because we watched “Psycho” at a young age. Fascinated, horrified, and enthralled all at the same time. And we all have a story of this motel or that motel.

Mine: in college, taking a trip with a team. The guy in the charge of the trip chose it beforehand, (we guess) site unseen. Me and two other guys in a dive to end all dives. Bugs in the bathroom. Suspicious stain on the wall. Switched on the TV and switched it off quickly before we all got an eyeful of porn. Looked out the back window and there was a brick wall literally two inches away from the glass.

And you probably have a motel story similar to this. In honor of this, I’ve put a page together of my favorite motels. Enjoy the grunge!