Historically Progressive: The Town House Motel in Eureka

Discover how Historic Old Eureka California and the Town House Motel were made for each other!

In the 1940s the Town House Motel was a small five-unit apartment building with a used car lot in front. In the 1950s, the property was known as “The Wrights Motel”, and an additional twelve units were added in place of the used parking lot.

Vintage California Travel Poster - Town House Motel - Historic Old Town Eureka Motel

Vintage California Travel Poster

Simultaneously in the post-war U.S., Americans began their love affair with the “horseless carriage” as automakers developed better, more reliable autos, the interstate highway system increasingly connected the entire country to far-flung new parks and sights developed in the 1930s that had previously been hard to get to, and baby boom families grew in size and prosperity.

These American families enjoyed taking in the sights and scenes of the country, taking advantage of the freedom offered by the car and the access provided by the growing network of roads. they enjoyed eating at roadside diners, and overnighting at roadside “mom-and-pop” owned motels that sprouted along the new highways.

The name “Town House Motel”, while born sometime in the 1960s, truly earned its glory in 1977, when the current owners, the Natha family, migrated from South Africa in hopes of putting the political issues in their home country behind them. They purchased the motel in Eureka and were soon renting rooms for $5 a night, offering a modest bed, rotary phone usage for 25 cents per local call, and a rather small 19-inch television with 12 channels. The Town House Motel in Eureka became known for the true roadside Motel experience of its time.

The travel industry was vastly changing during the 1960s and 1970s, with MOTELS evolving closer and closer to the HOTELS of today with amenities such as pools, spas and cocktail lounges. In 1962, only 2% of motels were franchises, part of a larger corporate model. By 1987, only 25 years later, that number had grown to 64%. Americans accepted that corporate America could offer the security and standardization needed while traveling to unknown places. This appeal spelled the demise of most of the mom-and-pop establishments along the highway. However, the Natha Family was determined even in the travel industry downturn of the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s to keep the motel experience alive and stay true to the character of the Historic Old Town district that made downtown Eureka such a Northern California, Pacific Coast Highway attraction.

Town House Motel - Old Town Eureka in the 1960s

Then & Now: Town House Motel circa 1960s

Town House Motel - Old Town Eureka in the 1960s

Then & Now: Town House Motel circa 2017

For the next few decades, the family made major improvements to the physical structure of the Town House Motel, while still keeping the classic architectural appeal of the iconic roadside motel. The Eureka motel still boasts of rich old growth redwood both interior and exterior, an interior covered courtyard which can be enjoyed from the majority of our rooms, as well as architectural features of an industrial age hotel which are an extinct feature in today’s modern, look-alike, franchise hotels.

Although rooms now rent for more than $5 a night, the Town House Motel in Eureka still offers affordable accommodations and friendly service decades later. The Natha family team has grown into a wonderful team that creates an inviting atmosphere for both long-standing and first-time guests. The hotel offers a unique educational motel experience in order to teach its guests what traveling during the mid 19th century was like. Being a part of the Historic Old Town district, the Town House Motel allows guests to freely enjoy the gems in our “backyard” and also learn about them while using our motel as their Northern California travel headquarters.

Whether you’re on a business trip, a relaxing (or exciting) vacation, or just passing through, the Town House Motel welcomes you to Eureka, California. Our revitalizing guestrooms, helpful staff and unrivaled locale create a vibrant hub for all visitors looking for adventure in a Victorian city with charm – and yes, the same couple that checked you into your room in 1978, will check you in again even today (unless they are visiting the grandkids)!