Postcard Recreation Project – Motels

The subject this week’s THE POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT are a couple of former Boone Motels. The Shangri-La Motel and the Topper Motel. There is another defunct motel in Boone that is behind the Barkley House on Mamie Eisenhower between Boone and Story Streets. I don’t know the name of that old motel and I couldn’t find a postcard of it. It is now apartments. The Topper Motel is now an apartment as well. The Shangri-La buildings didn’t stand the test of time. It was torn down and replaced by a Subway.

That is about all the knowledge I have on either motel. Their histories don’t seem to be documented. At least not in an easy online place that I could find about on the Googles. I did find a little bit of info on the Shangri-La on Mo Kelley’s blog, KELLEY’S KORNER:

From the Texas Hill Country, Chuck Brainard, BHS-50, wrote, “the Shangri-La motel was on the east side of Story Street between Fourth and Sixth Streets. It was a small, white double row of rooms, built, owned and operated by Glenn and Polly Brooks in the beginning. Glenn was a railroad passenger conductor and they were friends of my family. People said that Glenn bore a strong resemblance to the late actor, Franchot Tone.”

Loren Frazier, BHS-58, wrote, “you were correct on the location of the Shangri-La, north of the telephone company building on the east side of Story Street. The current occupant of that area is the Subway store.” Loren even sent a photo of the Shangri-La.

John McLeod, BHS-58 added, “I recall the Shangri-La’s grand opening. It was quite an event. The motel was hailed as “up-scale” and a real benefit to Boone. That Fourth and Story intersection, in those days, was the “cross-roads of the city” for years as Mamie Eisenhower then was Highway 30, the Lincoln Highway. The Shangri-La motel was in a perfect location to capture travelers. The other three corners of the intersection, as you will recall, were occupied by service stations.”

The Kornerman has just one more thought on that subject. Way back in a small corner of my 82-year old mind, I’m getting a “recall.” Didn’t the late Alex Mahood, the old drummer, and family own and operate the Shangri-La in its later years? Sandy, BHS-64, where are you? Is the Kornerman right, or dreaming………again?

With recollections, it is hard to tell how much of that information is accurate, but I will accept that it is. Especially the part about Franchot Tone.

Here are the postcards:

Shangri La Motel - Original
Shangri-La Motel – Original
Back of Postcard: Block off Highway #30 at Stop Light. Boone, Iowa – Tiled Showers, Automatic Heat, Air Conditioning

Shangri La Motel - Redux
Shangri-La Motel – Redux

Topper Motel- Original
Topper Motel – Original
Back of Postcard: On Highway 30, Boone, Iowa. Phone 2681 – First stop from the East… last stop from the West. Tops in sleep… Tops in food… Tops in Service. Television in all units.

Topper Motel - Redux
Topper Motel – Redux

The Topper Motel was next to the old Chick-A-Dine Restaurant. That would eventually become the Black Knight. That eventually would become… well that is a story for another POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT.

Both of these postcards were published by The Hamilton Photo Co. of Ames, Iowa.

The next time we check in with the POSTCARD RECREATION PROJECT, it will involve a church.

On an unrelated note, on my list of things to do in the post-pandemic world is to stay in a small town motel. I need to compile and publish this list so you people can help keep me accountable.

Looking forward to getting that vaccine some time in late July!


This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is WIND:


WIND was a theme that was suggested by Andy. He practically dared me to use it as a theme because he said it would break the double digit streak. Well, challenge accepted!

But what is a WIND picture? You can’t see the WIND after all. While WIND might be invisible, you can see the effects of WIND on many, many things. In the photo reveal/example image, it is WIND that is blowing snow across the road. Tamara’s submission for USE OF SPACE could just as easily be a WIND submission. At least here in central Iowa, WIND will be a major factor in our lives this week. WIND chill temperatures could get lower than -30. Andy says we can’t do double digit submissions for WIND. I say that it is almost too easy!

But while thinking of how you are going to compose your wind image, think on the (one of my favorite songs of all-time) lyrics to the song THE WIND by Yusuf Islam:

I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul
Where I’ll end up, well, I think only God really knows
I’ve sat upon the setting sun
But never, never, never, never
I never wanted water once
No never, never, never
I listen to my words but they fall far below
I let my music take me where my heart wants to go
I swam upon the Devil’s lake
But never, never, never, never
I’ll never make the same mistake
No, never, never, never

Meditate on those words while you make your WIND interpretation.

Happy photo harvesting!

5 thoughts on “Postcard Recreation Project – Motels”

  1. So, the Topper Motel – when they say on Highway 30, do they mean Old 30? Is that the one that is behind the Kum & Go at Story/Mamie, by where they used to (at least, maybe still do) put the Tropical Sno stand? I always thought that place looked fascinating. In the “it’d definitely now be a Craigslist meetup” way.

  2. Yeah. Back when these postcards were produced, there wasn’t a 4 lane US30 south of Boone. So Mamie Eisenhower was highway 30.

    The Tropical Sno moved to what used to be Moffitt’s lot. Just south of the police station.

    The Topper Motel was and where the building still stands, well if you don’t remember the Black Knight, ummm…

    It is on the east end of town. On the north side of Mamie. Across the street is probably where the Boone Vet used to be. Now it is between a storage unit and there used to be a trucking company on the other side. There is a masonry company (no for real, they actually lay bricks) in the area. Loweberry used be in the area. The Shopping News office used to be in the area.

    I’m out of landmarks. If it west of airport road, but east of the The Hideaway. Incidentally, my lunch today came from The Hideaway.

  3. Do you remember the vaguely-ominous motel I’m thinking of? Or am I totally making it up? It looks like Scooter’s Coffee is now in the area of what I’m thinking.

    Now I know where you mean! I’m so sorry, I missed the Black Knight reference, I was wondering what in the world “Chick-A-Dine” was. (I mean, the answer is obviously in the name.) Charlie’s had to pee in that storage unit parking lot before after swimming lessons. (I am not proud of that, but it was a pandemic and an emergency.) I was thinking of the long building that I’m remembering (potentially mistakenly) by the

  4. Yeah. It sits right behind the Barkley House. It was called the Capri Motel.

    The building still stands. I heard at one point the railroad purchased it for a place to put its employees that had stay overnight. But now it is just apartments. I believe.

    There will be a Chick-a-Dine postcard at some point. It will probably be paired with the Lincoln Restaurant postcard.

    But it is possible I will run out of old time postcards pretty soon. There are some railroad ones that I need the weather to be better to do. There is also some nursing home ones, but I’m not sure I can do those at all. Along with some Boone High ones. But this project could come to an end in a couple of months.

    Or it could go on for years.

Comments are closed.