The Governor’s House Motel was built in 1965 as a premier landmark in the capital city of Alabama. The motel has over 140 guest rooms, six 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 fascinating feature of the motel was the custom-built Alabama-shaped swimming pool. The Governor’s House Motel even had a restaurant and lounge, The Rotunda Restaurant and Filibuster Lounge.
The Governor’s House Motel quickly became one of the top convention centers in the area during the 1960s and hosted many 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 Motel while she filmed the movie The Long Walk Home.
By the 1990s, the Governor’s House Motel showed its age. The horse stables and golf course were long gone. With the area in decline, the motel went through a rebranding 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 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.
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. The latest instance is just one of many fires since the motel was put up for auction in 2010.