Blog Alert: Scrutiny Hooligans capture the end of the Interstate Motel sign

Over the weekend, Asheville residents bid farewell to an unlikely downtown landmark. For decades the Interstate Motel sign has proudly proclaimed room rentals for a scant $29, even though the motel itself was converted into the 37 Hiawasee condominiums in 2003. Although various uses for the increasingly confusing sign have been proposed over the last four years, developer Tony Cecil recently decided that it was time for the aging advertisement to finally come down.

For those of you who missed the big event, the local bloggers at Scrutiny Hooligans managed to land a cool video of the sign’s final moments, as well as a slideshow of the entire process. Blog contributor Syntax also posted a few musings on the sign’s removal, which could be seen as the end of an era.

“For years the sign was not only a fascinating standout for people who appreciate cultural ephemera and urban decay as art, but also a reminder of innocent and not-so-innocent times. No matter what your take on this is, there’s no denying that Asheville lost yet another piece of its history. In a weird way, I was sad to see it go … “

— Steve Shanafelt, A&E editor


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12 thoughts on “Blog Alert: Scrutiny Hooligans capture the end of the Interstate Motel sign

  1. Orbit DVD

    I was filling in at Broadway Video years ago, when all of the sudden a frantic man came running in asking, “WHERE’S THE MOTEL THAT HAS THE CRACK AND THE HOOKERS???” I pointed up the hill and he was off to a night (or 2 hours) of bliss.

    I’ll miss that sign. It was great seeing it up there years after the motel was developed.


  2. John Motta

    Blog alert? You missed the real blog excitement today at

  3. Still Learning

    This isn’t Screwy’s most compelling video.

    Over at

    this morning (Sunday) you’ll find news and commentary about Screwy’s mean-spirited video being promoted by Elaine Lite’s organizations. (Elaine Lite is running for Asheville City Council.)

  4. Shannon

    I am an Asheville local of 25 years. I am very glad to see the Interstate Motel sign come down. I hated the Interstate Motel and all that it stood for. I think the sign should have came down when the condos were being built. As far as urban decay as art, it is a very important piece of work and should be preserved–somewhere else. That “Motel” was nothing but decay and I am glad to see that one eyesore of Old Asheville gone!

  5. Screwy Hoolie

    I loved that old sign, but I can imagine it’d be hard to sell condos if people think their neighbors might accuse them of running a low-rent brothel.

  6. chuck

    awww maaaann,

    i loved that sign.

    it reminded me of a not-so-long-ago time when asheville didnt have condos downtown, or the people who ‘lived’ in ’em.

    and, personally, i think the condo they ‘built’ in that location is far uglier than that sign. at least the sign had character. the condo looks ugly and plastic. no neon anywhere on it.

  7. There’s something wonderfully sad about replacing a hotel where you could get prostitutes to service you for crack with a group of condos owned by men who get young fashionable girls to service them for cocaine and promises of a real estate job.

    Some call it gentrification, while I call it progress.

  8. Yetisquatch

    the sign should go in the orange peel. at least the colors somewhat match.

  9. The Interstate Motel sign was no less ugly than the grotesque Marquee that Pack Square put up a few years back.

    Despite Crack n’ Ho’s – the sign is still an integral part of our city’s history. Plus it did look damn cool (and better than the $150K Condos).

    My two cents: the sign should be preserved or integrated as a piece of local art. We have enough creative folks down in Riverside – let them do something with it.

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