Games Learning Resources Visit the Museum
America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Transportation in America before 1876 Community Dreams: Santa Cruz, California, 1876 Delivering the Goods: Watsonville, California, 1895 A Streetcar City: Washington, D.C., 1900 The People's Highway: Route 66, 1930s-1940s Lives on the Railroad: Salisbury, North Carolina, 1927 Americans Adopt the Auto Crossing the Country: Somewhere in Wyoming, 1903 The Connected City: New York, New York, 1920s People on the Move Family Camping: York Beach, Maine, 1930s On the School Bus: Martinsburg, Indiana, 1939 Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949 City and Suburb: Chicago and Park Forest, Illinois, 1950s On the Interstate: I-10, 1956-1990 Transforming the Waterfront: San Francisco and Oakland, California, 1960-1970 Going Global: Los Angeles Introduction Ring's Rest Jim Crow on the Road
11: Roadside Communities: Ring's Rest, Muirkirk, Maryland, 1930s

Ring’s Rest

By the 1930s, clusters of family-owned tourist cabins, restaurants, and gasoline stations kept long-distance motorists fed, rested, and ready to go. Fred E. Ringe
Sr. and his teenage children operated Ring’s Rest, four tourist cabins on Route 1 near Muirkirk, Maryland,
north of Washington. Ring’s Rest was cozy, homelike, and convenient, but isolated. Tourist cabins never achieved the respectability of hotels. Many had a slightly sinister atmosphere after dark. Some had reputations as criminal hangouts or dens of vice. The Ringes refused service to locals in order to screen out the “hot-pillow” trade.
Tourist cabin at Ring’s Rest, U.S. 1, Muirkirk, Maryland, about 1930
Tourist cabin at Ring’s Rest, U.S. 1, Muirkirk, Maryland, about 1930
Ring's Rest
Ring's Rest
Ring’s Rest consisted of four wooden cabins, an outhouse, a bathroom and shower in the Ringe home, a store with gasoline pumps, and a parking area for house trailers. It opened around 1930 as the Lone Pine Inn. The Ringes purchased it in 1934 and remained in business until the 1960s.
Ringe family
Margaret Ringe, Fred E. Ringe Jr., Virginia Doyle (a friend), and Carolyn Ringe. The Ringe children greeted guests at Ring’s Rest, collected payments, made beds, cleaned the floors, and pumped gasoline.
Ringe family
Lodging directory, 1939
Lodging directory, 1939
Directory of overnight lodging on U.S. 1 in Maryland, northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C., 1939
Neon sign from Ring’s Rest
Neon sign from Ring’s Rest
Plymouth business coupe, 1939
Plymouth business coupe, 1939

Creating Consistency

Comfort, cleanliness, and clientele varied greatly at mom-and-pop tourist cabins, and motorists could not always find satisfactory lodgings on the road. Some cabin owners joined referral organizations that promised higher standards—as did the few chains of franchised cabins or courts that appeared before World War II. After the war, motel chains such as Holiday Inn, Howard Johnson, and Best Western set a new standard for lodging, removing the guesswork and worry from long-distance automobile travel, as well as the local flavor and personal touches.

Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts
Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts

Alamo Plaza Courts was one of the first successful motel chains. In the 1930s, its distinctive, elegant Spanish-style facade and high-quality furnishings attracted motorists at several locations in the South and Midwest.

Continue
National Museum of American History About This Site | Sponsors | Buy the Book | E-mail Signup | Credits