Cover: Postcard photo courtesy the Jim Seelen Motel Image Collection

Ah, the Space Age – a time in America when every kid wanted to be an astronaut and every adult had their eyes on the Moon and beyond.

Still, there was perhaps no one more inspired by outer space at the time than businessman and hotelier Al Stovall who became the original owner of five out-of-this-world motels that he designed and built in the mid-1960s. Today, we’ll take a look at one of those over the Moon accommodations – the Best Western Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend, Arizona.

“We choose to go to the moon.”

Image: Postcard photo courtesy the Jim Seelen Motel Image Collection

Speaking those words at Rice University on September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy launched the Space Age in America and one man who was out of this world about outer space at the time was businessman and hotelier Al Stovall.

In the mid-1960s, Stovall seemed to think America wasn’t getting out into space fast enough so he decided to bring a little outer space down to Earth. As a result, he designed and built five outer spaced-themed hotels: the Inn of Tomorrow, the Cosmic Inn, The Galaxy, the Space Age Lodge (all in Anaheim, California) and another Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend, Arizona.

Touted as a “new idea in SPACE-IOUS comfort” Stovall personally designed everything from the styrene lamps to space bubble room dividers in each motel using “jet age metals and plastics”. (Of course, it didn’t hurt that Stovall also owned a copper mine and a plastic factory from which he got his “jet age” materials.)

The Future Becomes the Past

Of course, July 20, 1969, man did land on the moon before the end of the decade as Kennedy promised seven years earlier. America would do it at least six more times with American astronauts last departing the moon aboard Apollo 17 on December 19, 1972. By then, however, the Space Age had started to wane.

By the 1980s, new wave music, strange hairstyles, neon clothes and MTV (which, ironically enough, featured an astronaut known as “Moon Man” as its mascot/icon) were all the rage. In trying to keep hip with the times, the four Anaheim motels adopted a “Miami Vice” theme, complete with neon lobbies and desktop computers on their front desks.

Image: Postcard photo courtesy the Jim Seelen Motel Image Collection

Fortunately, the Best Western Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend didn’t give in to 1980s peer pressure. In fact, it actually embraced its now kitschy Space Age past. When a faulty neon light caused a fire that destroyed the motel’s lobby and restaurant, the next day a banner was raised reading “Attacked by Aliens!” They even took the kitsch factor up a notch by adding a UFO-shaped roof to the lobby.

And, indeed, it’s that kitschiness mixed with a certain sense of nostalgia for moon landings, space races and wanting to be an astronaut that keeps the business going strong 58 years later. And we’re sure that, in 100 years or so, after man has colonized Mars and other planets, when Earthling-Martians or Earthling-Venusians decide to take whatever they call a road trip to visit ancient Earth’s roadside attractions in those times, they’ll likely choose to stay at the Best Western Space Age Lodge for the same reasons.

Still, in the here and now, if you’d like to stay the night in the future of the past, visit their website here or call  +1 928-683-2273 to make reservations or for  more information.

We think our “Eat Here and Get Gas” t-shirt will be all the rage on Jupiter.

Whether you’re planning a cross-country road trip down the American highway or planning for a future trip down the Venusian skyway, don’t forget to take some Stuckey’s with you no matter where you roam.

From the pecany goodness of our iconic Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our crunchy munchies like our bagfuls of Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all of the road trip snacks you need for your next adventure.

(We hear its cold in space, so you might want to take along a Stuckey’s branded hoodie or one of our caps or t-shirts just to look cool.)

 Get yours at a Stuckey’s on the road or order before you go from stuckeys.com.

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