Postcard circa 1970s
Satellite image © Microsoft Corp.
Harrisonburg, Virginia
 -- 605 Port Republic Rd

Owned and Operated by Tommy and Harvey Tucker, the Harrisonburg complex opened in 1963 and was spread out along a newly opened portion of I-81 at its junction with Port Republic Road. Interestingly that stretch of the Interstate was only a few miles long and initially served as a bypass route of Harrisonburg.

Built in an early standardized style, the Motor Lodge offered 134 guest rooms in its classic two-story buildings. The first three guest buildings were exterior entry only while the fourth, at the southern end of the facility, featured a central corridor.

Photograph circa 1070s
Postcard circa 1960s

Postcard postmarked 1955

Prior to building the Harrisonburg Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge and Restaurant, the Tuckers had already established an outstanding reputation in the hospitality industry. For many years they were the owners and proprietors of the Belle Meade Motel and Restaurant on Harrisonburg's south side along U.S. 11.

The 120 room motel was typical of the 1950s, but offered the most modern amenities of the era like air conditioning, televisions, and telephones in all rooms. The Belle Meade was a member of Quality Courts United which was a referral or cooperative chain that had been formed in the 1940s. During the middle 1960s Tommy Tucker served as a national Director on the Executive Committee for Quality Courts. Eventually Quality was reorganized into a franchise chain that served to be the genesis of Choice Hotels Inc.

Right: About the time Quality was reorganized, the Belle Meade became a Red Carpet Inn. Interestingly Red Carpet was created by a former Quality Courts United president.

Photograph August 10, 1998

Photographs October 1996: Courtesy of Dan Donahue