Skip to main content

Wilmurt's Motel - McKenney, Virginia


About 15 years ago, I was on an explore trip with my friend Joe.  We drove up US 1 in Virginia, turned east on VA 40, and then headed south back home to North Carolina via US 301.  Just before the town of McKenney, Virginia, was an old motel - complete with leftover signage to where it looked like it hadn't been long abandoned.

A fire in late 2009 or 2010 - destroyed a wing of rooms at the former Wilmurt Motel. The property was condemned as a result. Also in the photo, the Economy Inn branding from the motel's later days.

There was what appeared to have been a recent fire, which led to condemnation of the entire site. We grabbed some great photos - and for the most part, I had thought it was long torn down by now. 

This great neon restaurant sign stood tall long after Wilmurt's restaurant closed.  As of this writing, I do not know when the restaurant part of the operation closed.

However, when I recently went through the trip's photo album, I looked at Google Streetview and found the motel still stands.  From the looks of things, the damaged buildings were repaired at one point.  However, it appears the old motor lodge and restaurant remain abandoned. 

Initially, I had no plans to have a separate entry or feature on Wilmurt's Motel.  However, seeing that the buildings are still standing, I figured, why not try to have a more permanent and searchable internet presence than a Facebook post.

Wing of motor lodge rooms that were added in the 1950s.

Wilmurt's Motel dates to the 1930s. It originally had guest cabins, a gas station, and a restaurant.  The establishment grew in the 1950s as the cabins were converted to a more conventional motor court style.  Wilmurt's was now home to 54 rooms for US 1 travelers. A new brick facade was built in front of the original two-story 'lunch room' and showers. 

Wilmurt's also added a pool, and the Esso station would eventually close.  At some point, Wilmurt's would become rebranded as the 'Economy Inn;' however, nearly all of the original signage for Wilmurt's remained in place.

Inside on of the abandoned motel rooms. Unlike many abandoned properties, the rooms were still in good shape.

When Joe and I explored here in February 2010, it did appear that the motel had not been closed long.  There were still handwritten signs regarding checkout times and other motel rules.  Also, most of the motel rooms had not been trashed as you would expect at a site that would have been abandoned longer.

A lot of old travel stickers on the lobby window at Wilmurt's.  The latest date on the stickers is 2005 - the motel was still in operation then.

There were even some vintage business stickers on the front window. For example, Wilmurt's Motel was a 1979 member of the Virginia Travel Council.


So, it was surprising when I saw recent Google Street View imagery (October 2023) showing that the motel is still there. Other GSV images show that there were attempts to restore the motel. I am not sure if it ever briefly re-opened or if that is still a long, slow work in progress.

Though at the end of its life it was an 'Economy Inn' - nearly all of the old Wilmurt's Motel signing remained.

What is the future of Wilmurt's Motel? What is more of its past? From my research, I found old postcards dating from 1968 or earlier - that is a long gap between 1968 and 2010.  If you have any old stories or information about Wilmurt's Motel, leave a comment below or send me an e-mail.

All photos taken by post author - February 26, 2011 - unless otherwise noted.

Site Navigation:

Sources & Links:

How To Get There:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

North Carolina Continues to Move Forward with Rail

2023 and the first half of 2024 have seen continued growth in North Carolina's passenger rail system.  From increased daily trains from Raleigh to Charlotte, federal funds for studying additional corridors, and receiving a historic grant to begin the construction of high-speed rail between Raleigh and Richmond, the last 18 months have been a flurry of activity at NCDOT's Rail Division.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg. As ridership and routes increase - the engine of North Carolina passenger rail trains will become a more common sight. (Adam Prince) Increased Passenger Train Service: On July 10, 2023, a fourth Piedmont round-trip rail service between Raleigh and Charlotte commenced.  The four Piedmont trains plus the daily Carolinian (to Washington, DC, and New York) bring the total of trains serving the two cities daily to five. The current daily Piedmont and Carolinian schedule between Charlotte and Raleigh (NCDOT) The result was over 641,000 passengers utilized pa

The Midway Palm and Pine of US Route 99

Along modern day California State Route 99 south of Avenue 11 just outside the City limits of Madera one can find the Midway Palm and Pine in the center median of the freeway.  The Midway Palm and Pine denotes the halfway point between the Mexican Border and Oregon State Line on what was US Route 99.  The Midway Palm is intended to represent Southern California whereas the Midway Pine is intended to represent Northern California.  Pictured above the Midway Palm and Pine can be seen from the northbound lanes of the California State Route 99 Freeway.   This blog is part of the larger Gribblenation US Route 99 Page.  For more information pertaining to the other various segments of US Route 99 and it's three-digit child routes check out the link the below. Gribblenation US Route 99 Page The history of the Midway Palm and Pine The true timeframe for when the Midway Palm and Pine (originally a Deadora Cedar Tree) were planted is unknown.  In fact, the origin of the Midway Palm and Pine w

US Route 101 in Benbow, Garberville and Redway

The communities of Benbow, Garberville and Redway can all be found along US Route 101 within southern Humboldt County.  The former surface alignment of US Route 101 in Garberville and Redway once crossed the Garberville Bluffs along what is now Redwood Drive via a corridor constructed as part of the Redwood Highway during the 1910s.  US Route 101 through Benbow, Garberville and Redway was modernized by 1935.  US Route 101 would eventually be upgraded to freeway standards in Benbow, Garberville and Redway by extension of the Redwood Freeway during 1966-68.  As the cover photo the original grade of US Route 101 and the Redwood Highway can be seen at the Garberville Bluffs during 1934.  US Route 101 can be seen in the communities of Benbow, Garberville and Redway on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Humboldt County .   The history of US Route 101 in Benbow, Garberville and Redway Benbow, Garberville and Redway lie on the banks of the South Fork Eel River of southern Humboldt County.  D