Moffat County History: Craig’s early motels
Produced in cooperation between the Museum of Northwest Colorado and the Craig Daily Press.
As major highways began to see improvements during the 1920s and 1930s, one of the new features on the American scene were motels first called Tourist Camps or Cabin Courts. In Craig, the first one was the Craig Cottage Court at 894 Yampa Ave., now known as Craig Motel.
Craig Motel was started in the fall of 1927 by a Mr. Ellis, and was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Dresser in 1928. The Craig Empire of Feb. 6, 1929, mentions the following about the new tourist camp.
"Each cabin is electric lighted and furnished with bed, springs, mattress, stove, table, chairs and cupboards, also good water, coal and kindling are supplied."
The following improvements we're planned for the spring: "several new cabins with kitchenettes and garage, also a laundry and bath house, including separate sanitary toilets and hot shower baths."
The Dressers owned the motel with many improvements until 1977.
Most likely the second of Craig's motels was the Moffat Lodge at what today is 510 W. Victory Way. It was built in the early 1930s in conjunction with the new filling station built on the southwest corner of Ranney Street and West Victory Way by R. B. Thompson with his son-in-law and daughter E.V. and Lois Coons. Ranney Street south of Victory Way was U.S. Highway 13 until the early 1970s, making this intersection a prime development area. The R. B. Thompson family was responsible for building four motel properties near this intersection. Photographs clearly show the garages between the units. This motel went through several owners during the years and was torn down when owned by the Shockleys in the late 1960s.
Many of the motels in the older section of Craig were built beginning in about 1940 to 1960 as the American public took to the road in mass, before the day of the Interstate Highway System took a good deal of tourist traffic off of U.S. Highway 40. By that time, the traveling public was expecting a lot more in accommodations. It is doubtful if any of this second generation of motels furnished wood and coal for the stoves.