The American Roadside Motel: Background information when reading The Sun Down Motel

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The Sun Down Motel

by Simone St. James

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James X
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2020, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2020, 352 pages

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The American Roadside Motel

This article relates to The Sun Down Motel

Palms Motel in Portland, Oregon In Simone St. James' thriller The Sun Down Motel, a roadside motel in upstate New York serves as the location for a ghost story that takes place in alternating timelines occurring in the years 1982 and 2017. It's hardly surprising that the author would place a motel at the center of this spooky suspense novel, as motels have something of a reputation for harboring unsavory elements. However, America's relationship with the motel is a storied and complex one. Whether they are seen as evoking the romance of the open road or as creepy and undesirable, roadside motels hold an iconic place in the American imagination.

Motels were preceded by "auto camps," or large areas (sometimes located in national parks) where motorists could park and camp with the benefit of security patrols and nearby amenities such as restrooms and showers. These camps, which became popular in the 1920s, provided a cheaper alternative to hotels at the time. When the Great Depression hit in 1929, auto camps helped...

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