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Nov 25, 2022 - I paid a visit to the old Star Lite and it is still standing. No Trespassing signs were in place so I wasn't able to get too close. Sadly the sun was blowing out the lens of my camera so the shots aren't that good.
This old 16 unit motel used to have a cafe right out front. You can still see the footprint of it in the street views if you look hard enough. This place shows up on the 1955 aerial photo but it was up for lease as of 1952 and was described as "newly built". It was operated by Gerald D. Adams as of 1964. Gerald seems to have closed the cafe at that time as the equipment was being auctioned off that same year. He and his wife also built the Adams Arms which I need to look into. The motel was also managed by Harry L. Gardner for a time.
The address in the newspaper ad is a bit confusing in that 1630 E Michigan is actually down the street as of 2022. The abandoned motel is actually closer to 1624 W Michigan Ave today. I am not positive if this place still stands as of 2022 but I intend to go down and find out. I am also not sure when it was last open.
From Frank Passic - Albion expert and historian
Numerous "Drive-In" restaurants, the predecessors of the fast food restaurants, sprang up during the 1950s. In the Albion area we had the "Tik-Tok" Drive-In on Austin Avenue, while on Jackson Road (that’s what Michigan Avenue east of town was once called) there was the A & W Restaurant Drive-In, Trippitt’s Drive-In, and the Star Light Drive-In. The latter was located at 1630 Jackson Road, and was operated by Alonzo B. Core in 1951.
If the name Star Light sounds familiar, it should. The Drive-In there became the site of a modern 1950s-era "courtyard" type facility called the Star Lite Motel. It was a 16-unit, AAA-rated motel owned by Mike Nester[enko] (1910-1999), a native of Saratoff, Russia who grew up in Albion. Mike of course was a local entrepreneur who owned Nester Metal Products on Austin Avenue. The Star Lite Motel opened on Sunday, August 23, 1952, and was managed for several years by Harry and Thelma Gardner. The Star Lite was the first Motel in the Albion area to compete with the bulky and traditional Parker Inn Hotel a mile away.
The Star Lite was designed for busy travelers who wanted to easily go "in and out," and get on their way. A guest would park their car outside directly in front of their room and enter from the outside. This was unlike traditional motels where you had to enter an inside lobby and walk through a hallway. Like the Drive-In restaurants, the Star Lite design concept was a prelude to the highway-access hotels we have today. There was also a little restaurant/cafe in the front center of the complex, designed to meet the needs of the hotel guests. Local people too would eat here.