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Cover image courtesy of the Jim Seelen Motel Images Collection

Last year around this time, we told you the story of Yeehaw Junction, Florida, the once thriving town that is, today, a virtual ghost town full of empty lots with concrete slabs where restaurants and gas stations once stood off of the Florida Turnpike.

However, the big story of that Motel Monday piece was the Desert Inn, the over-a-century-old hotel in Yeehaw Junction that was nearly destroyed when, on December 22, 2019, a semi-trailer truck hauling orange juice crashed into the front of the historic hotel.  Though its roof partially collapsed over a year ago, the Desert Inn still (barely) stands at the junction from which it got its name, held up only by a couple of weather two-by-fours. However, it seems only a matter of time before it the building is demolished.

Same Stuff, Different Accommodations

Picture of a rainbow cast over the rainbow of the Lazy U Motel.
Image courtesy Kaylee Mitchell

In a case of history repeating itself, earlier this year on January 10, 2023, Carrie Wiggins of Broadwater, Nebraska, woke in the morning to a missed call – a tractor-trailer crashed into the front office of the Lazy U Motel after the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.

The village of Broadwater, Nebraska was founded in 1909, and the Lazy U Motel was one of the first buildings to be built as part of its business district nearly a decade later. Back when it was first opened, however, it was known as the Schull Motel owned and operated by Schull family.

The Schull Motel seems to have stayed in the Schull family for nearly a half century. In 1964, they sold the motel to the Brasch family who changed its name to the Lazy U.

By 1993, however, the motel would be sold in a back tax sale and had fallen into disrepair with people coming and going in and out of the motel that now had its familiar rainbow painted on its side. After that, it seemed the motel was abandoned.

Carrie had just bought the Lazy U just little over six-months before the crash in June 2022, and at the time, she and her family were making progress on renovating the motel. The crash seemed to put that on pause and left Carrie feeling both “heart- and spirit-shattered”.

Ghost (Town) Busters

Exterior door of one of the rooms at the Lazy U Motel
Image courtesy Carrie Wiggins

Though a bit disheartened, Carrie didn’t let that stop her from her bigger goals. You see, her and a handful of other people from the village of about 95 people don’t want to see Broadwater turn into another ghost town like Yeehaw Junction.

In fact, in 2004 she purchased the Broadwater Community Hall. She also served on a committee that saved two school buildings from demolition. The Broadwater Community Hall is now a bar and grill and one of the schools is now an office building while the other is still under renovation.

Since the crash, Carrie and her family continue to make strides in the Lazy U’s renovation. They’ve fixed the leaking roof, gotten rid of all the old appliances and rotted floors and carpeting, and are currently in the process of building the office back better than ever.

Though the motel is a historical landmark and the most photographed building in all of Broadwater, Carrie doesn’t plan to keep it a motel. Rather, she sees it as a storage facility or a kind of mini-mall full of different shops and boutiques.  Whatever she decides in the end, you can watch her progress on her Instagram account here.

Stephanie holding a Stuckey's cup and a Stuckey's pecan log roll.Whether it’s small town Nebraska or it’s the big cities of Georgia, wherever your travels take you, take some Stuckey’s along for the ride.

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