Andrew Wood


The Disappearing Roadside Motel

Mom and pop motels are shuttering across the United States – and so are traditional notions of American freedom.

In 1939, when John Steinbeck imagined Highway 66 as “the road of flight,” he evoked the crushing realities of Depression-era migrants who’d been pushed off their land by failing crops, relentless dust and heartless banks.

Struggling to find some sense of home on the road, these environmental and economic refugees searched for hope against a backdrop of unfathomable loss. On the road to California, they’d rest and recuperate in army surplus tents, hastily constructed Department of Transportation camps and Sears Roebuck chicken-coop cabins.

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