-pat and the Holiday Motel-


The Motel
The Holiday Motel
was the first motel in Door County, Wisconsin. Built in the Cubist Modern (or Modern International) design, it opened its doors on Saturday. May 31, 1952. The motel was designed and owned by William Paul, a local Supper Club (Nautical Inn) owner and his business partner Myron Krueger. According to newspaper reports of the time, the two emphasized the "modern" detail and amenities when including such items as:

"The ventilated phone booth just for the business

traveler's calling convenience"
"Fire Proof and Chip Proof Simmons furnishings"
Glass block windows
White Stucco and Cement block construction--the newest methods of the day
Tile bathrooms
Theater lit hallways and stairs

The builder used the post Motor Court style popular at a time in American travel history when the on-site private parking lot at the front door of the guest room was a major attraction to travelers. In the early part of the twentieth century, there were few choices for travelers—most stayed at camp grounds, cottage courts or tourist homes. Business was good and a year later The Holiday Diner was added to serve a full breakfast menu.

An interesting subsequent development is that the Holiday Inn chain was launched only 3 months later in Memphis with the promise of properties that were standardized, clean, predictable, family-friendly, and readily accessible to road travelers. By 1958 there were 50 Inns across the country. (The name Holiday Inn was given to the original hotel by its architect as a joke in reference to the popular Bing Crosby movie.)


pat's involvement with The Motel:

The Holiday Music Motel in pat's hometown of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin was purchased in May 2007 by Holiday Motel Management, LLC, a group of musicians and music enthusiasts. This group came together while working on the Steel Bridge Songfest 2, a benefit to raise money and awareness for the preservation of the historic Michigan Street Bridge. The motel sits at the approach to the bridge.

Singer/songwriter pat mAcdonald (co-founder of SBSF) organized a songwriting workshop in 2006 called The Construction Zone, which took place for the first time in conjunction with that year's festival. The Holiday Motel (owned and operated at that time by fellow bridge lovers Peter and Marilyn DeVaney) was used as headquarters for the workshop. Twenty-five songwriters were invited to stay at the motel and write songs in collaboration. A make-shift recording studio was installed in one of the rooms by Steve Hamilton from Milwaukee and some 60 original songs were written and recorded at the motel. One of the current owners, Anna Sacks, was among those songwriters. She was so inspired by the event, she commented to pat that she wished they could just buy a motel and make the workshop available year-round. pat pointed out that the Holiday Motel was for sale.

Friends began
to tell friends and soon a collection of like-minded people banded together to buy the motel. (One of the owners is noted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Browne, who appears annually at the Steel Bridge Songfest.)

The second Construction Zone was held at the Holiday Motel June 9-16, 2007 and another 60-some songs were composed and recorded in the now custom designed recording studio housed within the motel. A compilation CD from the first year's workshop was issued and debuted at the 2007 festival. Subsequent workshops were scheduled for Fall and Winter '07. But, that was not to be.

An electrical fire on August 5, 2007 did extensive damage to the motel and forced it to close for repairs. Seeming initially like a staggering blow to the fledgling venture, the blaze and the subsequent reconstruction required that improvements originally planned for a phased development be made in an accelerated time frame. The owners also opted to invest in making additional upgrades while construction was going on.

The renovation proceeded with three goals in mind:

1."Going Green"  2. Preserving the historic integrity and classic 50's decor of the building. 3. Enhancing the motel's recording capabilities.

Reconstruction features:

Additional wiring enabling digital connection to the studio from each guestroom
All trusses replaced on the roof
All of the original Simmons furniture cleaned and re-installed
Insulation added between floors
All rooms sound treated with a green, recycled product
Much of the original bathroom tile preserved
Individual room temperature controls added with the new ultra-efficient HVAC system
Improvements in the lobby and reception area
Christie Weber, president of Citizens for Our Bridge and co-founder of SBSF, is campaigning to get the motel listed on the National Register of Historic Places. She is also spearheading a drive for LEED certification for the green efforts used in the remodeling. Exciting new ideas are being conceived and implemented daily to further the motel's legacy of creative collaboration.

We hope that the Holiday Music Motel can become a nucleus for the creation of great music for years to come. It has already inspired songwriters from across the nation. We want it to be a mecca for creative minds—and that means everyone. We believe that people who write music, love music, or just occasionally listen to music will all feel at home here. Everyone is welcome.”

-pat mAcdonald-