“Lute Casey was my great uncle. I never met him. His sister, Pearl Casey Leach, owned a hotel downtown, the Plaza Hotel. Also part owner of the Winona hotel, later called the Arcade.
He and my grandmother had an argument and never spoke again.”
– Susan Williams
As Caitlin eagerly and victoriously wraps up writing the remaining chapters of this endearing little Memphis book, I want to express a sincere thank you to all who have submitted a story and contacted us through this blog. I also want to urge you to continue sharing your Memphis memories with us because our vision of this project doesn’t end with a book. We seek to continue to learn and share all the great landmarks of this city because… well we just absolutely love this big little city.
One of the first stories submitted to us was about Casey’s Motel. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until the book is released to learn the full story. Instead, please allow me to tell you the story of my own short visit to Casey’s Motel.
I went on a little Memphis voyage with a great photographer friend, Leigh Ann Black. At that time I was beginning a new giant postcard painting series called “Greetings From U.S.A” in which I was and still am on a hunt to find at least one fun motel from each state to create a postcard painting of. To have a good photographer friend in life makes for great brainstorming, projects, and good company. Plus, I always secretly admire their work because a photographer owns a skill I do not possess.
I don’t pass Casey’s Motel often, but when I do, I always notice one or two cars parked out front. And that was still the case when we stopped in for pictures. The place was completely vacant from what we could gather. Windows were boarded and painted over, doors were locked. But the office windows seemed open for viewing so we looked inside.
I don’t remember much of what was present inside except a random clutter of objects, papers on a desk, and maybe porcelain cats. Oddly, there was also a living woman. We walked away and she exited the building to approach us. I am pretty certain she wanted to know what we were doing but I can’t say much was communicated clearly because there was a bit of a language barrier. So we sort of just slowly and quietly walked back to the car…
And that’s the story of the mysterious woman at Casey’s Motel. Maybe you know her?
Scottish Inns & Suites was where we stopped next as it was just further down the road and I just couldn’t pass up an aluminum palm tree. It currently stands as Econo Lodge with the same aluminum palm tree planted out front. Below is the postcard illustration that came from the photographs for those who like to see the process.