The Governor’s House Motel was built in 1965 as a premier landmark in the capital city of Montgomery, Alabama. The motel had over 140 guest rooms, 6 meeting rooms, and a large banquet hall. The Governor’s House had all of the luxuries of a private country club with outdoor activities including swimming, golf at a 9-hole golf course and horseback riding. The Governor’s House Motel even had a restaurant and lounge, The Rotunda Restaurant and Filibuster Lounge. One fascinating feature of the motel was the custom-built Alabama-shaped swimming pool.
During the 1960s, the Governor’s House Motel quickly became one of the top convention centers in Montgomery. The motel hosted all sorts of famous people and events. Former Alabama Governors George Wallace and Fob James both held their campaign election parties in the Alabama Room. Politicians were frequent guests in the Rotunda Restaurant. However, the guest list was not limited to only government officials. Many famous actresses and actors were also known to patronize the motel. In 1990, Whoopi Goldberg was a guest at the Governor’s House while she filmed the movie The Long Walk Home.
By the 1990s, the Governor’s House Motel showed its age. Long gone were amenities like the horse stables and golf course. The area around the property was in a steady decline and the motel went through a rebranding as an economy-class motel. Soon after, visitors complained of mold in the guest rooms and unsanitary conditions. The Governor’s House was a mere shadow of its once glorious self. Before permanently closing, only a third of the building was in use.
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. On Friday, April 26, 2019, Montgomery firefighters responded to reports of a two-alarm fire at the motel. There’s no power to the building, ruling out electrical issues that could lead to fires. Due to its secluded design, the property is magnet for homeless and vandals. Several rooms appear to be occupied with makeshift doors in place. The latest instance is just one of many fires reported since the Governor’s House first went up for auction in 2010.
In 2018, a sale was pending on the old motel, but the plans never materialized. A decade after closing, the Governor’s House Motel remains for sale. The 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.