Cover photo: Postcard of the Swan Motel circa the 1960s.

Image courtesy of the Society for Commercial Architecture: The Jim Seelen Motel Images Collection.

While traveling around the country visiting Stuckey’s stores or other roadside attractions, we come across real gems of mid-century modern motels along the way. One of those motels just happens to be the Swan Motel in Perry, GA. It’s an honest-to-goodness mom and pop motel that has a story that is just as quaint as the motel remains to this day.

Image: Stuckey’s Corp./Stephanie Stuckey

The Swan Motel sits along Perry’s Main Street, right “in the heart of town,” as their postcards used to say.  Originally called the Swan Motor Court, it was built sometime in the late 1950s by local World War II and Korean War veteran Richard “Dick” Roughton. After serving his country, Roughton returned to Perry and started his own construction business because, as he was known to say, he just wanted to leave his beloved city a little “better than when he found it.” Though he built many houses and motels in the small Georgia town, it’s likely that Dick built The Swan Motor Court specifically for his recently widowed mother, Mrs. Eunice Roughton, the Swan’s owner and manager.

Back then the Swan mentioned on its postcards that it was built of brick and something called Perma-Stone, a faux-stone or brick veneer made of Portland cement, aggregate, crushed quartz , mineral colors and metallic hardeners. All that brick and Perma-Stone supposedly made the Swan Motor Lodge “fireproof”, which is another amenity their postcards touted to help you get a good sleep at night while you stayed there.

Other amenities of the 18-room motel included individually controlled air-conditioning and steam heat (later replaced with electric heating), free TV, and phones in every room. Later, they added a swimming pool. Later still, they filled it in.

Mrs. Roughton would pass away in 1990 at the age of 95. Her son Richard would follow in 2014 at the age of 90.

Image: Stuckey’s Corp./Stephanie Stuckey

The Swan Motor Lodge stills lives on, however, though today it’s called the Swan Motel and is owned and operated by Bob Mistry. The 18 rooms have that classic vintage feel, though the amenities have been updated to free cable TV and WIFI. Most crowd-sourced local business reviews and social networking sites like Yelp!, Tripadvisor, and Google give it an average rating of three stars. Some people love it for its retro feel while others call it “dated.” All we can say is that the Swan Motel is what it is – a clean, quiet, comfortable spot to lay your head, whether you’re visiting Perry or heading in directions where Perry is a point in-between.

One more thing we have to mention is that there are still plenty “ample eating accommodations available” near the motel. In fact, within walking distance is one of our favorites – Schultze’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop, home of the Chrome Plated Shultze Burger. (And don’t forget to stop by Stuckey’s of Perry, just a five-minute-drive from the Swan Motel for all of your road trip snacks and late-night munchies.)

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