East St. Louis, Illinois Motels

East St. Louis Holiday Inn

by Michael R. Allen

Scan of postcard of the East St. Louis Holiday Inn at 657 E. Broadway. Source: Collection of the Preservation Research Office.

Following up on my article “Motels in the City of St. Louis”, I briefly wanted to show the largest motel built in our neignbor to the east, East St. Louis. The Holiday Inn at 657 E. Broadway, located just east of the seven-story Broadview Hotel of 1927, was built in the late 1960s. The motel’s amenities included a swimming pool and restaurant with cocktail lounge, in addition to close proximity to the cluster of interstates 55, 64 and 70 around downtown East St. Louis.  This modern motel was built amid Model Cities-funded redevelopment of the central city.  The large-scale building removal that was part of East St. Louis’ redevelopment efforts is evident in the above postcard view’s capture of large swaths of verdant green grass.

The remaining section of the Holiday Inn today.

The Holiday Inn’s two-story, U-shaped mass of hotel rooms stood until a decade ago. By then, the motel’s last owner had closed up shop, and the place was an abandoned curiosity. However, the one-story, brick-faced and largely windowless restaurant building remains standing and in use as a banquet center.  The trademark Holiday Inn sign’s twisted trapezoid replacement is as memorable as its predecessor.

4 replies on “East St. Louis Holiday Inn”

Ha, I bet you dollars to donuts the “grass” was retouched, the old fashioned way.

I not only stayed here in the late 60s BUT the restaurant at the hotel at the time was not just a standard issue Holiday Inn one but a branch of the St. Louis German restaurant chain Schneithorst’s. It was wonderful food and at the time East St. Louis was even considered safe as I was a teen and my sister like 12 when our family vacationed in Missouri and stayed here on the way home to Louisville.

My aunt, Jewel, had her wedding there in September of 1977. My family knew the owner very well, though I can’t remember his name. I do remember that he lost the hotel in a poker game in 1980.

The hotel itself has long been demolished, for at least 20+ years. The restaurant/lobby portion was reopened in the early 1990’s as a gay bar called City Center Square. They didn’t card anyone. We went there with a friend’s brother when we were juniors in high school (16 years old) and got completely wasted! When my friend dropped me off at 4:30 am I thought I could just sneak into the house, but my parents were up and waiting with EVERY light on in the house. Ha ha! I was grounded for 3 months, but it was fine because it was the winter months anyway.

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