History Files


American Lives

Atlanta Hotels & Motels: Atlanta Central TraveLodge (Georgia)

by Laurie Stevens, 7 August 2021


Atlanta Central TraveLodge, postcard, Atlanta, GA
Photo © The History Files Collection

The Atlanta Central TraveLodge at 311 Courtland Street, NE still operates as a motel today, but as the location of a different chain of motels, while Travelodge has slightly modified its own name in contemporary use.

This was one of the first motel chains in the US, incorporated in southern California in 1939. The brand emphasized itself as a budget chain, offering functional accommodations at rates lower than other chains.

See more: Motor Hotel Postcards of Atlanta.

Motel 6, Atlanta, GA
Photo © Laurie Stevens

It also promoted its motels as being centrally located, in or near downtown areas, which this one is, convenient for local restaurants, shopping, attractions, and tourist destinations.

It perches directly on the elevated edge of the Downtown Connector (road), with the back of the building being a feature as you travel along that route.

The Travelodge 'sleepy bear'
Photo © Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Targeting families with children, Travelodge is well-known for its mascot, the 'Sleepy Bear', a smiling, sleep-walking bear wearing nightclothes with the company logo.

TraveLodge would give a free plush toy bear to any child staying in one of the rooms known as the 'Sleepy Bear Den Room', of which each location had at least one.

The modern version of the bear looks a good deal less sleepy than the original!

Motel 6, Atlanta, GA
Photo © Laurie Stevens

The logo has largely been retired but can still be soon on older signs and in some current advertising. This particular location dates from the mid-1960s and was in operation at least until the mid-1980s.

Motel 6, Atlanta, GA
Photo © Laurie Stevens

The building is currently a Motel 6, another value chain. The original structure is intact, although it has been heavily altered with stucco cladding and solid facings. The original zig-zag stair bannister accent panels can still be seen through the smokey glass in the windows which have enclosed the stair flights.

Main Sources

The Atlanta Constitution (now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper)

Atlanta History Center

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

City of Atlanta


Images and text copyright © Laurie Stevens except where stated. An original feature for the History Files: American Lives.