Governor’s House Motel

Governor's House Motel
Today, the Governor’s House Motel has been labeled as an eyesore. Years of neglect and vandalism have destroyed the landmark motel.
Governor's House Motel
Governor’s House Motel, circa 1965 (Alabama Archives)
Governor's House Motel
Motel room interior (Alabama Archives, 1965)
Governor's House Motel
An early postcard from the Governor’s House Motel.

 

In 1965, The Governor’s House Motel was built as a premiere landmark in the capital city of Alabama. The motel has over 140 guest rooms, 6 meeting rooms and a large banquet hall. The Governor’s House Motel had all the luxuries of a private country club, with outdoor activities including swimming, golf at a 9-hole golf course, and horseback riding. One of the most interesting features of the motel was the custom built Alabama-shaped swimming pool. The Governor’s House Motel even had its own restaurant and lounge, The Rotunda Restaurant and Filibuster Lounge.

Governor's House Motel
Today, the Rotunda Restaurant is littered with insolation, shattered glass, and ceiling tiles.

The Governor’s House Motel quickly became one of the top convention centers in the area during the 1960s and hosted many important people and events. Former Alabama Governors George Wallace and Fob James both held their campaign election parties in the Alabama Room. Politicians were common guests in the Rotunda Restaurant. The guest list was not limited to only government officials, actresses and actors were also known to frequent the motel. In 1990, Whoopi Goldberg was a guest at the Governor’s House Motel while she filmed the movie The Long Walk Home.

Governor's House Motel
The custom Alabama-shaped pool and kiddie pool are located in the center of the property.

Governor's House Motel

By the 1990s, the Governor’s House Motel showed its age. The horse stables and golf course were long gone. With the area in a decline, the motel was rebranded as an economy-class motel. Visitors complained of mold in the guest rooms and unsanitary conditions. Before closing, only a third of the building was in use. In 2018, a sale was pending on the old motel but plans never materialized.

Governor's House Motel
The overgrown courtyard of the Governor’s House Motel.
Governor's House Motel
The exterior entrance to the Alabama Room.
Governor's House Motel
The Alabama Room
Governor's House Motel
A campaign party in the Alabama Room for Governor Fob James on election night in the 1990s.

A decade after closing, the Governor’s House Motel remains for sale. The once thriving motel now belongs to the State of Alabama through a tax lien. The Department of Revenue owns the property and anyone with $166,000 can take possession of the abandoned motel. According to news reports, city officials are confident the area may regenerate itself and would entertain the idea of abating some property tax to get a developer to renovate the motel.

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