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Duluth’s London Road Motel Row

Back in the 1950s and later on London Road was called Motel Row. Can anybody recall the names of the motels? I can only recall the Viking Motel and the Lake Aire Motel. What were the others? Does anybody have some old postcards to post? I have only the Viking Motel postcard and matches. I wish to recall the others! Chime in please!

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38 Comment(s)

  1. The News Tribune Attic has a post about the “Edgewater before the Waterpark” that has some old photos, including the one above.

    Also related to London Road, but not hotels, are the two photos of Putt Skil Minature Golf below, courtesy of Anine Lufholm’s Facebook page.

    Putt Skil was located at 2105 London Road, which is roughly where McDonald’s is now. Anine figures her photos are from about 1970.

    Putt Skil lasted about a decade, from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s, operated by William J. Brull. McDonald’s took over the spot in roughly 1976.

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  2. Yup, Edgewater.

    I remember the mini golf and the A&W restaurant across London Road on the lower side.

    Swan | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  3. For I think $10, you could have the Edgewater put a customized message up on their sign for a week. I did that once for my parents anniversary.

    I remember playing at the mini golf course with my Dad and my friends.

    Also, I have a vague memory of eating with my Dad at a “Sandy’s” restaurant that was somewhere down in that neighborhood long before the McDonalds.

    mnbeerdrinker | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  4. I just gave a 1960′s era post card to a friend who is a collector of the Edgewater. Inside pool shot. Very sexy (60s sexy mind you) women around the pool. The post card was from a family stay there in 1965.

    TopOfTheHillMan | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  5. Sandy’s was 15th Ave, I think. It later was a Hardees. Wasn’t there a Henry’s Hamburger on the lower side past the Edgewater?

    Timk | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  6. I recall staying at the Lake Aire once, does anybody recall how that relates to the current Lake Aire Bottle Shop? We also would stay on a regular basis at the Viking Motel on Memorial Day weekends when the rain chased us out of our tent camping plans. (wimps)
    But then we could watch the Indy 500.

    Bayfieldwis | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  7. Henry’s & Sandy’s were in the same location.

    Dawn Hulmer | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  8. I remember Henry’s Hamburgers. It was located on the south side of London Road, near where the freeway ends.

    markryan | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  9. Andrew | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  10. I don’t know if you are actively going out and looking for pictures or postcards, but the “antique” shop up the shore has an EXTENSIVE collection of postcards from all states, and I’m assuming a large Duluth collection. It is the place that looks like a house with a dirt parking lot right before the Scenic. Unfortunately, I think it may only be open on the weekends in the summer months.

    Jupiter Gingy | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  11. Sandy’s Restaurant was at 1515 London Road from about 1969 to 1973. That location then became a Hardee’s for about 20 years. Edina Realty and Farmer’s Insurance Group are there now.

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  12. The London Road motel rundown in 1970 was:

    1801 London Manor Motel
    1811 Lake Motel
    2211 Edgewater West
    2330 Edgewater East
    2416 Lake-aire Motel
    2511 Viking Motel

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  13. Fantastic motel list from the 1970s. That was somewhat what I was looking for!

    Another motel was the Flamette by the Lemon Drop restaurant. I think we ate there. Very strange name to the motel, however.

    There was the Voyager motel downtown as well.

    Bayfieldwis | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  14. Also courtesy News Tribune Attic. Part one | Part two

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  15. Here’s a postcard of the Lake-Aire Motel, courtesy of X-Communication.

    Paul Lundgren | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  16. Nice postcard! Thanks again! London Road was really the spot back before the huge motels at Canal Park. It was the place to stay and make side trips up to Gooseberry Falls and Two Harbors. You came back at night and would eat in Duluth area after touring around.

    Bayfieldwis | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  17. has some nice Duluth postcards of motels and attractions. I have yet to find the Lake Motel postcard. The others are all online on e-Bay or the

    Bayfieldwis | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  18. The London Manor Motel is the present-day Chalet Motel, 1801 London Road, Duluth. Is that correct? I notice right away the same address and footprint of the building.

    Bayfieldwis | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  19. Hence the name Lemon Drop Hill — the only hill in Grandma’s Marathon.

    pune | Jan 12, 2011 | New Comment
  20. My legs tell me that there are other hills on the Grandma’s course (French River, London Road to Superior Street and Fifth Avenue West over I-35).

    Nobody | Jan 13, 2011 | New Comment
  21. Henry’s Hamburgers, the London Inn, the A&W and others. Is it me or were the places better in the past? I am not excited about today’s fast foods at all. Taco Bell? Burger King? Forget it.

    I guess it’s the Hi-Hat for burgers!

    Wes Scott | Jan 14, 2011 | New Comment
  22. The Lake Aire Bottle Shop used to be located on the London Road side of the Lake Aire Motel. I remember going in with my parents. It was very dark and there was a lot of plastic grapes ontop of the shelves or hanging from the ceiling. I suppose it was meant to be like a wine cellar or something? I also remember the cashiers used to give the children suckers.

    Taxidancer | Jan 15, 2011 | New Comment
  23. Anybody have the Lake Motel picture? I have found all the others online. A postcard would be neat! I can recall it slightly in my mind.

    Wes Scott | Jan 21, 2011 | New Comment
  24. The London Inn (best onion rings ever) was located at 16th Avenue East and London Road next to where the empty beat up DQ is now. There were a lot of small corner grocery stores in the area also. Then McDonalds came in and ruined it all. It was a great place to grow up.

    Where Wendy’s is now used to be a neighborhood dirt bike race track. Don’t forget the Shoredrive A&W (corner of 21st Ave East across London Road from where McDonalds is now) Soap Box derby on what is now called Lemon Drop Hill. London Road was a beautiful tree-lined road. The Viking Agate Shop just east of the Reef (Old Coca-Cola Bottling plant) where Subway is now used to be a Clark Gas Station.

    Sorry, I’ll stop now, I could gone on forever.

    Rick | Feb 5, 2011 | New Comment
  25. The Flamette Motel was on the corner of 28th where a gas station is now. The Lemon Drop was once called the Flamette as well. Back in the day we had the old Flame and the Flamette. The Flamette motel had about 20 rooms. I believe Overman owned the property.

    llinmpls | Mar 28, 2011 | New Comment
  26. A few years ago, we bought four captain’s chairs from the old London Inn from a rummage out at the big church over by NLCC.

    zra | Apr 9, 2011 | New Comment
  27. I hope somebody saved that London Manor sign that was under the Chalet sign. Does anybody know? That should be hanging in Grandma’s or anywhere that has that sort of interior. That is a real piece of history. I never stayed at the London Manor of course as that was a long time ago.

    Wes Scott | Apr 9, 2011 | New Comment
  28. The sign is still up, I saw it today! The Chalet part was stripped off and the London Manor part was exposed.

    -Berv | Apr 10, 2011 | New Comment
  29. Somebody is going to purchase that sign I’m guessing. Glad to see it’s not destroyed. It really has a great look to it. Very 1950s. I hope it ends up down at Grandma’s on the wall.

    Wes Scott | Apr 12, 2011 | New Comment
  30. Drove past last night. Couldn’t help but snap this picture on the cell phone cam:

    I called it “progress” because you see from the sign how the 70s-esque “chalet” makeover buried another rendition which doubtless buried 2 or 3 other renditions of something else on the same spot. And this coming new iteration will one day be buried by something else … if we last another 50 years or so, that is. Progress.

    wildgoose | Apr 13, 2011 | New Comment
  31. I’ll be in the Northland tomorrow and will have to drive by and take a look. Thanks for the picture! There should be a history of the London drive. I have heard about all the great places to eat. The London Inn was run by the same people that run Gordy’s Hi Hat I understand, and that is very interesting.

    Wes Scott | Apr 13, 2011 | New Comment
  32. The Flamette Motel was indeed owned by the Overman Company. I worked there for a couple years back in the early 1970s -- first job I ever had. If you were driving west to east on London Road back then, you’d drive up what is now called Lemon Drop Hill and see the Flamette Motel, the first of many small motels along that stretch of London Road.

    Bill D | Apr 18, 2011 | New Comment
  33. What a great blog…I was the original builder and owner of the Viking Motel, opened in June 1961. We started with 20 units and then in about 1970, added 10 more, facing London Road and the very posh London House Restaurant across the street. Next door to the east was the London Road Court Motel, owned by Gordon Brindos. They were originally built as small housing units right after the war for returning vets and converted to a motel in the late 1950s. The Brindos family owned and operated until they sold the property to the Overman’s in about 1975.
    I sold the Viking Motel in 1989.

    Bob Sigel | Apr 30, 2011 | New Comment
  34. Thanks for the info about the Viking motel. I stayed in your motel many times in the late 1970s and early ’80s. We had a nice time dining across the street and touring Duluth and the North Shore. It was a great location. I recall it as clean and well kept in those days. And of course looking back it sure seems inexpensive compared to today’s prices.

    Wes Scott | Apr 30, 2011 | New Comment
  35. Court Motel postcard.

    Wes Scott | May 1, 2011 | New Comment
  36. When I was in 6th grade (1968-69) my parents moved us from Richfield to Duluth. While our house was being built (by George Hovland) we lived in the Viking Court Motel (for three months). We had an efficiency room. Four adults and a dog in a one bedroom with a folding screened door separating it from the living area with a fold out couch. We were there from November through February.

    Sue | Jul 12, 2011 | New Comment
  37. I lived at the corner of 21st and 2nd back in ’63/65. Later I lived just beyond Proctor (my family put in Ormsby Road!)
    I remember many of the places mentioned, but I was pretty young when we lived in the area. Friends and I played in an empty lot on 2nd street east of Endion Elementary. I attend 5th and 6th at Endion. It’s great to know the school is still standing. I also went to the old Children’s Museum (Chisholm) on 2nd street near Endion.

    When living near Proctor, I worked at the Sandy’s in the summer of 1968, owned by Butch Sachs. It was one hour by bicycle to get to work; about 2.5 hours to get back home up the hill.
    I vaguely remember the McDonald’s. I swam at the Edgewater several times as part of group; the last time was in ’68/69 with my senior class.

    Jim | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  38. Good messages all of them. I love the history!

    Wes Scott | Aug 3, 2011 | New Comment

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  1. Apr 8, 2011: from Farewell, Chalet Motel | News Tribune Attic

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