The Happy Traveler Inn, Salisbury’s Mid-Century Modern Architectural Masterpiece and Fun-Tel, is Destined for the National Historic Registry

Posted on May 30, 2018



RFP Staff

♦ After much discussion the Editor and Staff of the Rowan Free Press decided it was time the city of Salisbury, North Carolina step up and recognized The Happy Traveler Inn, the city’s premier Fun-Tel and 1950’s Mid-Century Modern Architectural Masterpiece gracing 1420 E. Innes Street. Truly it is the glory of the atomic age and we believe it’s time our local historic preservation groups and societies got behind this magnificent structure’s entry into the National Register of Historic Places.  Destiny is hammering at the door of architectural history.

El Magnifico “The Happy Traveler Inn” 1402 E. Innes Street, Salisbury, NC:

The decrepit eyesore and flophouse, not opened to the public since 1963, the Empire Hotel has taken up valuable space in the 200 block of South Main and needs to be torn down.  It’s blighted Jules Vern style hideousness is an offense to the eye.  Salisbury’s Downtown desperately needs a parking lot and to be done with this albatross.  The Happy Traveler Inn on the other hand continues doing business since it opened in the 50’s.  Today it’s assessed value is $1,099,110 while the Empire Hotel was assessed at $1,018,832. Shamefully it is exempt from payment of real property taxes because it has remained empty since it was closed 1963.

It appears the City and DSI would’ve been more prudent to have invested in this 1950’s Mid-Century Modern architectural masterpiece instead of a dilapidated flophouse.  But who said city hall or DSI could beat two rocks together and get a spark?  Take a ride through Downtown Salisbury with your doors locked and semi-automatic pistol in your lap. You’ll know all you’ll need to know about blight and a lack of human lifeforms.

Wonder of the Atomic Age: the Happy Traveler Inn in all its splendor:

Breathtaking examples of 1950’s Mid-Century Modern Architectural Masterpieces:

The Fabulous Caribbean Motel in Wildwood, N.J.:

The Sinbad Motel in Miami, Florida:

The Orbit Inn Motel, Las Vegas, Nevada where the Space Age imprinted its vision on steel and glass.  Alas this great edifice was destroyed by a U.S. Army Deserter in 1967 who fired his pistol into a pack of dynamite, terminating both the Orbit Inn Motel and a number of victims in a blast that rocked Las Vegas:

The Happy Traveler Inn, Salisbury, N.C.:

The Entrance to the Flamingo Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada–the House that Bugsy Seigal Built:

A much deserved plaque for the Happy Traveler Inn: The National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior:

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