Retro Charlotte

Alamo Plaza Motel

Two men walk from the Alamo Plaza Motel.
Two men walk from the Alamo Plaza Motel. The Charlotte Observer

The Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts built in 1945 was Charlotte’s first one-story, park-near-your-room lodging business. By 1988, however, North Tryon Street motel had become a flophouse that was a haven for prostitutes and drug dealers. Police visited the Alamo more than 250 times that year, including for a double-homicide after one man tried to stop another from beating a woman.

The motels 93 rooms rented for $20 a day then, or $69.95 a week.

In 1989 the city forced changes at the motel. Troublemakers were evicted, fences repaired, security guards hired, and the Alamo became the Crown Motor Inn. Desk clerks required identification when checking in and visitors had to pick up passes at the office.

But those changes didn’t make a difference and in 1991 the North Tryon Area Coalition led the fight to tear down the motel, saying “It’s been a disgusting blight.” According to reports, demolition workers found a man sleeping in a room crowded with mattresses, magazines and rubble. Above his bed were a small electric fan, hooked up by jumper cables to a car battery. On the walls, pictures of the Dalai Lama and naked women were taped next to newspaper food pages.

The motel at 2309 N. Tryon (beyond the Amtrak station and WSOC) was razed in 1992. The site stands empty today.

The slideshow illustrates the story of a very seedy establishment, July, 1988.