In its heyday, the Bell’s Motel (named after its original owners – but also called the Bells and the Bell) on Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona, was a ‘fully modern, fire-proof, air-cooled motel’. Built in 1945, it had 13 rooms and boasted that it had rooms with both cooling and heat, tiled baths, tubs and showers, ‘Beauty Rest mattresses’, television and a playground and patio. Later, as it fell on harder times, it became the Desert Lodge Apartments.
In 2012, a state-wide survey for the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office recommended that the by now boarded up Desert Lodge Apartments should be put forward for entry onto the National Register of Historic Places with ‘High Priority’, this rating means it filled one or more of the following criteria: an excellent example of its property type and strong Route 66 character; particularly rare property due to age, type of construction or architectural style; good intact properties which appear endangered due to deterioration or redevelopment and/or being sited in a high priority historic district. Even in its sad state, with its ‘giraffe’ stone façade, the motel ticked at least two of those boxes.
In April 2015, the Californian owners announced they would be gutting the property, leaving the stonework standing and it would then be redeveloped as living accommodation. The interiors were indeed gutted and all the woodwork ripped out, and then nothing else happened. For a year, the Desert Lodge Apartments have stood, denuded and fenced off, and I’ve hoped against hope that the planned renovation would take place.
Yesterday bidding closed for the complete demolition of the Desert Lodge Apartments and the clearance of the site.
UPDATE Spring 2017: And so the demolition crew moved in. It took hours for there to be nothing left of the Bell. Now there’s one more empty lot in Kingman.
I guess this will be lost, then.
It is a shame that people like to get rid of history when this place is gone it will be just a empty lot.where weeds will grow and no one will clean it up.Its all ways get rid of history so there is no way for people to see what we use to have for people to stay’If someone would fix this place all kind of people would stay in a nice place that would say Kingman history Buy look like it will be just another place to have trash and weed.
This is a sad sight for me. I was raised along with my brother and two sisters in the back of this motel. My dad bought this old motel when I was just ten years old and now I am 75 years old. We came here from Gallup New Mexico to start a new life and that we did. If that old place could talk we could fill a library full of stories some good some bad. So now I say good-by to that old friend. I will never forget you.
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My parents stayed here on their cross-country honeymoon trip in 1951. I recently found the motel postcard (like the first one in this story) and looked it up to see if it was still in Kingman. Sad ending for this property.
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