This is a love letter – and an alert. The Lincoln Motor Court (5104 Lincoln Highway, Mann’s Choice, Bedford County) is for sale.
Please help us spread the word and find a new preservation-minded owner!
The Lincoln Highway
Not only is the Lincoln Motor Court a very special Legacy Business, it is also the last of its kind along the fabled Lincoln Highway. (The Society of Commercial Archaeology added it to the “Falling by the Wayside” list in 2016, calling it “one of the most iconic remaining resources along the Lincoln Highway.”)
The story of the Lincoln Highway begins in 1913, when the Lincoln Highway Association established the first transcontinental road for automobiles in the United States. The highway changed the way that people travel and helped usher in the golden age of automobile travel.
In the early days of the Lincoln Highway, travelers camped near their cars off the side of the road. In an effort to reduce nuisances associated with roadside camping and to capitalize on an opportunity to make some money, many entrepreneurs began to establish formal camping grounds along the roadway. These rustic campgrounds then evolved to include small cottages or cabins to provide shelter for a fee for travelers. The roadside quickly populated with diners, filling stations, and motor courts to accommodate drivers and their vehicles.
Groups of cottages were commonly known as Cottage Courts or Cabin Courts arranged around a central office building, which often contained a private apartment for the motel manager and his family. The cottages offered amenities such as plumbing and heat and were generally designed to look like little suburban houses to enhance their appeal among middle-class tourists and traveling businessmen.
Many Cottage Courts were combined with gasoline stations, cafes or other businesses. The Lincoln Motor Court didn’t offer these extras since it was located across the road from the Hotel Lincoln, with food and drinks available.
“When you sit on your cabin’s front porch and close your eyes, you can hear the gravel driveway crackling under the white-walled tires of a new Hudson Hornet making its way to one of the units 48 years ago.” — USA Today
A Roadside Icon
Over the years, motor court cottages have disappeared from the American landscape. At one time, there were 13 different motor courts in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, alone. Today, the Lincoln Motor Court is the only surviving tourist cabin court on the Lincoln Highway from New York City to San Francisco that is open to overnight guests. The Lincoln Motor Court has served travelers since 1945 and its survival is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit!
The Altizer Family has owned the motor court since 1983 and have maintained the integrity of each of the cottages to provide visitors with an authentic Lincoln Highway-era experience. Their desire for more family time with grandchildren has resulted in the decision to move and put the historic property up for sale.
Fans of the Lincoln Motor Court don’t want it to vanish from the landscape. Its large national fan base just voted it #2 of USA Today’s “Best Roadside Motel” top ten list for 2020.
Associated Press – 2016
“Seventy years ago, the Lincoln Motor Court would have been an unremarkable pull-off along the nation-spanning Lincoln Highway – just one of many roadside rest stops in Bedford County.
Today, the U-shaped collection of 12 tiny cottages between Bedford and Schellsburg is the only place of its kind left in the county. A symbol of the golden age of highway travel, the Lincoln Motor Court was added this month to a national list of historic commercial stops that could one day disappear.”
Preservation Pennsylvania At Risk
When the Lincoln Motor Court was added to Preservation Pennsylvania’s At Risk list in 2014, we organized a volunteer weekend. Many hands make light work! Volunteers stayed in the cabins and were put to work re-roofing, scraping and painting window frames and vintage metal chairs, and sprucing up the grounds. (You can support this work by becoming a member or making a donation.)
Have a memory to share about visiting the Lincoln Motor Court? Leave a comment below!
Please share this post and help us get the word out to find a new preservation-minded owner who will carry on the legacy.
Keep this legacy alive! Don’t let the reception bell go silent!
The very last original Motor Court along the Lincoln Highway in the United States! This is a rare opportunity to own this operating & turn key historic property! Situated atop Tulls Hill in beautiful Bedford County, PA, it features 12-original cabins, office/owner residence, a photo studio, & a relaxing courtyard for all to enjoy. Circa 1940, the vintage cabins have original knotty pine walls & ceramic tiled baths. The owner residence has a check in office, LR, kitchen, dining area, two bedrooms & a full bath. It rests on a full basement with oil hot water heat for the residence & cabins.
This storied property has been featured in many books, magazines, newspapers, a PBS documentary, websites, & online articles. It was just voted the #2 roadside motel by USA Today for 2020!!
Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor
Want help planning a trip? Want to learn more about the Lincoln Highway and its history? Visit the website of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, one of Pennsylvania’s 12 Heritage Areas. Or sign up to receive their e-news, The Sunday Driver.