For all of you road warriors who have a special place in your heart for retro motels, we have a real treat in store for today’s Motel Monday.

You see, it’s very rare these days that we get the chance to highlight a mid-century modern era motel that’s still family-run, let alone a motor lodge that’s owned and operated by the third-generation of the same family who built it. However, that’s exactly what we have for you today as we look at one of the most iconic retro motels still in operation today – Beck’s Motor Lodge of San Francisco, California.  

Beck’s Beginnings

Postcard c. 1960 / Public Domain

Seizing on the opportunity to build an automobile-centered motel in the quiet, hard working San Francisco Irish neighborhood known today as Castro, Will (“Bill”) Beck and his wife Frances first built the eponymous Beck’s Motor Lodge back in 1958, charging only $5 for a night’s stay at the small motel.

Beck’s Motor Lodge was built in the Googie-style of architectural design and featured the typical U-shaped plan that included a central courtyard for free parking and a prominent office that sat near Market Street with a large porte-cochere, the top of which served as a sun deck through which jutted a towering sign that read “Beck’s Motor Lodge”.

Guests entered their rooms at the three-story motor lodge from the outside through doors facing the courtyard. Inside each beautifully decorated room they found all the comfort that mid-20th century motel amenities offered at the time including television, 24-hour phone service, private bathrooms, and of course, use of the motor lodge’s sun deck.

Beck to the Future

Bill and Frances Beck continued to run their namesake motor lodge until 1973, when their son Eddie took over the business. Problem was, however, that Eddie already had his own painting contractor business – Beck Brothers – which he enjoyed a bit more than running the motel. So, after moving his contracting business to Beck’s Motor Lodge’s front office, Eddie hired a management company to look over the hospitality side of things.

Beck’s Motor Lodge today.
Image: Gregory Varnum, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

During this time, as the Castro neighborhood progress and underwent changes, so too did Beck’s. Castro during the 1970s became known as San Francisco’s largest gay community, and with Beck’s Motor Lodge at its heart, it became a safe haven for LBGT people who wanted to get away from the people who held them back and never even tried to understand them.  Today, it remains the must-stay location for many visitors coming to San Francisco who attend the city’s various LGBT events such the SF Pride Parade and the Folsom Street Fair.

In 2009, Eddie Beck suggested to his youngest daughter, Brittany Beck, that she should take the reins of the family-owned motel.  With her background in advertising and marketing and her experience in working at the Park Stanyan Hotel, Brittney agreed and officially purchased Beck’s Motor Lodge in 2011.  

Four years of renovation followed including replacing and moving the location of original 1958 elevator and putting the modern back in mid-century modern design of each room. New rails and fresh coats of vibrant blue and orange paint were added to the exterior of the building was updated with new railings and fresh, vibrant paint. Finally, Beck’s got a new logo, prominently featured on its big, beautiful (and original) Googie-designed sign that still towers over the building.  

Image by neufal54 from Pixabay

Beck’s and the Bees

Today, you might also hear a lot of buzz about what goes on up on the Beck’s Motor Lodge’s roof. Well, though, you most likely won’t hear or see them during your stay at the motel, it’s actually bees that are all the buzz.

Thanks to Brittney’s involvement with the Hotel Council of San Francisco, she learned about urban apiaries and how beekeeping can help the environment. As a result, Beck’s Motor Lodge now keeps five beehives on its roof as part of a movement among San Francisco hotels to combat the worldwide honeybee colony collapse by building hives on rooftops. Every week, local beekeeper Roger Garrison – a member of the San Francisco Beekeepers Association – comes and checks on the bees. Every six months, however, his patience is paid off in liquid gold – an average of about 100 pounds of honey a year.

Pretty sweet deal all around, we’d say!

Bee-friendly, LGBT-friendly, and tourist friendly – if you’re interested in spending the night at the friendliest hotel in all of San Francisco, then book your room today through their website here or by calling +14156218212.

Speaking of sweet deals, don’t forget to stock up on your favorite road trip snacks from Stuckey’s before you head out on your next road trip. From pecan treats like our pecan pralines and our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to road trip treats like Hunkey Dorey and salt water taffy, Stuckey’s has all the snacks you need to keep you rolling.

Of course, you can also choose to make your own snacks for the road with the Stuckey’s “Bakers” Pecan Kitchen Box. Each kitchen box includes all you need to make your own treats full of Stuckey’s pecany goodness like:

1 – Stuckey’s 9 oz. Pecan Halves,

1 – Stuckey’s 16 oz. Pecan Meal,

1 – Stuckey’s 9 oz. Pecan Pieces,

1 – Stuckey’s Red Kitchen Towel,

1 – Stuckey’s Yellow Kitchen Apron,

and one (1) copy of The Pecan Lovers Cook Book.   

(Oh and let’s not forget you also get FREE Shipping Included with this item.)

Visit our website for all this and more at stuckeys.com.

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!