Profile America — Thursday, December 12th. Most Americans drive on their vacations, and if they don't stay with relatives they often stay at one of the nation's many motels. The term motel came to have meaning only when the automobile started to dominate the landscape and the term "motor hotel" came into general use. The first motel opened on this date in 1925 in San Luis Obispo, California. The building featured a sign with flashing lights that changed the first letter so that it alternated the words "hotel" and "motel. It had accommodations for 160 guests in individual chalets, each with bathroom, telephone, and a garage. Today, there are close to 51,000 hotels and motels across the U.S., with a total of 4.8 million rooms. Occupancy usually averages over 60 percent. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <www.census.gov>.
Kane's Famous First Facts, 2429
http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/accommodation_food_other_services.html t. 1282