Originally this was a motel in the “Travelodge” chain. Early postcards read, “Kingman TRAVELODGE in Mohave County – Sportsmen’s Paradise.” It opened in 1958 as a thirty-two-room complex. Five years later four additional rooms were added. The motel retains its original appearance including the trademark railings with TL designation which makes it a roadside rarity. It is estimated that less than 5% of pre 1960 Travelodge motels with original design elements remain.
Travelodge was a pioneering motel chain in the United States. Scott King, a contractor by trade, filed as a California corporation in 1939 with its headquarters in El Cajon. The first TraveLodge opened in San Diego the following year.
Its initial success was built on two primary pillars. First, it was a budget motel that offered clean, modern accommodations at budget rates. The second was the locating of the chain’s motels close to central business districts on major highways.
In 1954 a marketing campaign was launched by the Dan Lawrence Advertising agency of San Diego to a specific demographic, families with children. A component of the marketing campaign was creation of a Sleepy Bear mascot, a smiling, sleep-walking teddy bear wearing a nightcap with his name, a nightshirt with the Travelodge logo, and slippers. The logo was created by Robert Hale and was used on signage as well as promotional materials.
An innovative aspect of the marketing campaign included the transformation of at least one room at each affiliated motel into the Sleepy Bear Den. It was decorated and outfitted with amenities that would appeal to a child. At check into this special room each child received a plush toy Sleepy Bear that looked just like the motel’s mascot.