Tearing down modernism in Danville VA

I have cycled to and from Danville many times.    In terms of driving time, it is the closest place to Carrboro that really feels like you are not in Kansas anymore.   In its own mind, its biggest claim to fame is that it was, for forty-eight hours, the last capital of the Confederacy.    It is a textile and tobacco town whose textile mills have almost all closed.    If it could get its act in gear it might actually end up a pretty cool place.

This Sunday afternoon I cycled from Yanceyville NC (about 45 miles from Carrboro) about twenty miles each way to Danville.  It is a glorious ride through Piedmont farms and woods.

Danville is blessed with an abundance of historic architecture, including blocks and blocks of old tobacco warehouses, most of which are not fully used.

old tobacco warehouses, Danville

This blog is really about the Downtowner Motor Inn.   This motel  must have seemed like a good idea at the time.  In 1966, people wanted to stay in motels, not hotels.  So why not build a high rise motel downtown?   It was a very small national chain.  They were in places like Sumter SC, Springfield IL, and Rochester NY.    And Danville VA.  They are all pretty much gone; you can follow them on the web.  (I am not the only nut out there on this issue!)

I had even written a letter to the local paper,  The Danville Bee imploring their community to save this building.   One guy on Facebook agreed with me, although he lives in Dallas, Texas, of all places.   Another  guy on the web referred to its “Bauhaus-like qualities.”   It appears pretty much everybody in Danville hates this building.   It was in the process of being demolished while I was there.     R.I.P.

Downtowner Motor Inn, June 2012

For more pictures by even more intense advocates, see  http://flickeflu.com/set/72157629434958603

One response to “Tearing down modernism in Danville VA”

  1. Paco, I love how you weave a little history into your biking adventures. It is interesting how some people appreciate certain architecture and some don’t. I remember one of the most beautiful buildings in my hometown being torn down and being replaced with a parking lot. It was a sad day for Carlsbad, NM. Take a look at this beautiful hotel and the ugly replacement.

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