Vintage Holiday Inn Ashtrays
Lest anyone think we've gotten "too big for our britches", or that P.O.S.H. has somehow become...well, too posh, let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike Eloise, we did not live in the penthouse of the Plaza Hotel. In fact, the Holiday Inn was much more our speed. On our family vacations, we would drive to Florida in a car without air conditioning and be thrilled with our accommodations at the Holiday Inn. And if it happened to be one of the fancy Holiday Inns with an indoor pool...well, we thought we had struck gold!
In case you're unfamiliar with the inn, allow me to share a bit of history:
The original Holiday Inn chain of hotels was created in 1952 in Memphis, Tennessee, by a local homebuilder named Kemmons Wilson. His dream was to provide inexpensive family accommodation for travelers within the United States. Eventually the Holiday Inn expanded beyond the borders of the United States to become "The World's Innkeeper".
The iconic Holiday Inn "Great Sign" was the traditional, historic roadside sign used by the Holiday Inn during their original era of expansion in the 1950s - 1970s. The signs were extremely large and eye-catching, but were expensive to construct and operate. The sign’s colors were selected because they were favorites of founder Kemmons Wilson’s mother.
In 1982, following Kemmons Wilson's departure, the Holiday Inn board of directors made the decision to phase out the "Great Sign" in favor of a cheaper backlit sign. The decision was not without controversy as it essentially signaled an end of an era and removed a ubiquitous and internationally recognizable company icon.
Now imagine our excitement when we discovered a single case of vintage, unused glass Holiday Inn ashtrays buried in a long-shuttered Chicago restaurant supply depot! In an instant, we were 12 years old again, sweating in the back seat of a 1965 Chevy Impala heading down Florida's I-95 and squealing with delight as we pulled into the big parking lot of the Holiday Inn.