Sunday, June 30, 2019

Postcard: Parkwood Motel in Statesboro, Georgia

Mid-century postcards of obscure hotels and motels remain among my favorite pieces of ephemera and items for posting on Papergreat. It irks me that I didn't give them their own label (for sorting/archiving) purposes at the launch. So they're kind of just scattered all over the history over the blog, willy-nilly.

This is a dandy one. It's an aerial shot of Parkwood Motel, located along U.S. 301 near Statesboro, Georgia.1 There were myriad amenities, as noted on the back:

— Shaded by Beautiful Georgia Southern Pines —
2 Miles South of Statesboro, Georgia 30458
On U.S. 301 & 25
Tel. 764-9892
25 Air Conditioned & Electrically Heated Units with
Beautyrest and Pulse-A-Rythm [sic] Massaging Mattresses.2
Free TV, Swimming Pool, Playground
RESTAURANT — French American Cooking
Bill & Armande Wachniak

Armande “Sally” Wachniak lived from 1930 to 1989. According to her obituary, "the Quebec, Canada, native lived in Statesboro for 27 years and was part owner with her husband of the Parkwood Motel and Restaurant." William Wachniak lived from 1920 to 1997. According to his obituary, "the Canada native had lived for the past 34 years in Statesboro, where he operated the Parkwood Motel." One of their children, Lana, is a retired professor of sociology and criminal justice who studied the minds of serial killers (partially through their artwork) and also co-founded Kennesaw State University's Homelessness Awareness Week.3

After Bill Wachniak died in 1997, son Harry Wachniak and his wife returned to Statesboro to take over the Parkwood Motel & RV Park, according to a 2007 article in the Statesboro Herald that contains much history about the business. Harry's parents were not the original owners of the motel. They purchased it in 1961 and added an RV park in 1971. "I think that my dad felt that with the growth of the interstate system there would be more traffic and RV's," Harry Wachniak told the Statesboro Herald. "For him it was just another opportunity to expand his business."4

The business is still going strong in 2019, which is super-unusual for the mid-century motels that I research. You can read all about it on the Parkwood RV Park & Cottages Facebook page or on its website. A Facebook review from this past February notes: "This park is spotless, everything is kept nice and organized. Bathrooms were the cleanest of any rv park I have stayed at. I would recommend this park to anyone."

And Parkwood is having a Hot Dog Cookout this week for the Fourth of July. It notes on Facebook: "Come join us at the Parkwood for a hot dog lunch. Free for all guests and $2 for folks in the community. It'll be located next to the pool. After the lunch head to Mill Creek for the firework festivities. #parkwood #parkwoodrvpark #rvpark #4thofjuly #hotdogs #camping #goodsamclub #goodsam #patriotic #redwhiteblue #party #cookout

1. I'm not sure I've ever spent a significant amount of time on U.S. 301. It runs from Biddles Corner, Delaware, to Sarasota, Florida. So I could totally use it as a much slower, more leisurely route to go visit Dad in Bradenton, Florida. It looks like it might be kind of tricky to make sure you stay on the route, though, with a lot of concurrencies.
2. Author Heather David, talking to Metro in 2017 about her book Motel California: A Pictorial History of the Motel in The Golden State, said that Pulse-A-Rhythm vibrating beds were a precursor to Magic Fingers: "The thing about Pulse-A-Rhythm beds is that they promised a cure for pretty much everything. And the FDA came along and said, 'Unh unh uh' and made them pull all the devices off the mattresses and put them out of business. So after Pulse-A-Rhythm, Magic Fingers came into play."
3. A March 13, 2003, article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that Lana "grew up around law enforcement officers who stopped in her family's motel/restaurant."
4. So, that effectively dates this postcard between 1962 and 1970.

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