Friday, March 3, 2017

Signature Inn, Kokomo, Indiana, newspaper items

By this point, I've covered all of the Signature Inn locations the best I can.  I DO have photos of one of my previously-covered-but-not-photographed locations, but that post it still a work in progress.  My "regular" updates are now a thing of the past; I will be posting stuff as I come across things I haven't seen before.

Today, let's visit what is likely the most dismal of the remaining Signature Inn properties, but in a happier time.  I found some newspaper items that ran surrounding the construction and opening of the Kokomo, Indiana, location.

Courtesy of, I first present a November 1, 1985, article highlighting five construction projects in the Kokomo area.  A couple of under-construction photos of the hotel are featured; the text makes only a small reference to Signature Inn toward the bottom of the article:

Next up is an article talking about delays to the hotel project and its impending opening.  I love the under-the-awning view in this, even though it's a newspaper scan:

Finally for this post, an ad for the new hotel that ran just a little over a week after the hotel's opening:

To see what the property has become now...just wow.  I'm not going to bad-mouth any business on here, but anyone with basic internet skills can see what I'm talking about.  That's as far as I'll go on that.

Thank you to my loyal followers, and welcome aboard to those who are seeing this site for the first time!  I'm hoping some travel opportunities will arise for this coming year so I can do some additional photo shoots.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Signature Inn: Recent developments

This may be new news to most, as most of what I found came about only through an internet search

It's been so long ago now--I imagine about a year by now--that I plugged Signature Inn into a search engine and found a listing for a Signature Inn in Kinder, Louisiana.  Further investigation revealed that it once used to be an America's Best Value Inn & Suites.  I was surprised to see the Signature Inn name come back, but I didn't find any other information on its return.  Me being curious, I did some TripAdvisor reading on the motel, and let me just say that if THAT was the future of Signature Inn, well, what a slap in the face.  As I have no personal experience with the place, that's all I'm going to say about that one.  More recent research on the place indicates that the SI name has since been removed.

Within the last few months, I found some additional Signature Inn goodness when I was searching for images...

Hotel News Now, 4/13/2015: Vantage focuses on brand, member opportunities
This article states that Vantage Hospitality group acquired six brands from America's Best Franchising in 2014.  As you may remember, ABF acquired Jameson Inns and the Signature Inn name (SI remained dormant since then) back in 2012.  In any case, Signature Inn was one of the six brands that were acquired.

Hotel News Now, 4/8/2016: Vantage's Signature revival puts new twist on old brand
One of the first articles I've been able to find about Signature Inn's return; this one rolls out designs for exterior-corridor hotels, which is a stark contrast to what Signature Inn started out from.  The brand will be available for both new construction and conversions.  Also in this article, a new logo was introduced as an option, though from reading it, it still appears that the old logo will stick around.

new logo, courtesy of Hotel News Now site

Asian Hospitality, 8/16/2016: Signature Moment
According to the article, Signature Inn was relaunched in December 2016 as "an affordable boutique hotel in the economy segment."  Sound familiar?  Back in Signature's early days, the brand was designed to be a "first-class environment within a moderately priced segment" (Signature Inn website, 1998).  So it's nice to see the brand returning, and returning to its roots.  The article also states there are seven hotels waiting to be converted into Signature Inns.

Hotel News Now, 9/15/2016: Vantage's model won't change when Red Lion bid closes
Hotel News Now, 12/7/2016: Red Lion Execs: Vantage brands could vanish, change
The above two articles have less to do with Signature Inn and more to do with their new parent company.  The latter part of 2016 sees the disappearance of the Vantage name, as that company was acquired by Red Lion.  The second article brings the Signature Inn name into play only slightly more, as Red Lion decides what to do with the now-13 brands that are under its umbrella.

Hotel News Now, 12/8/2016: Red Lion execs see promise in Settle Inn, Signature Inn
Article excerpt:
Signature Inn takes lifestyle role

Signature Inn was another brand that came as part of an acquisition—in this case, Vantage’s 2014 acquisition of America’s Best Franchising’s core brands. Earlier this year, Roger Bloss, former president and CEO of Vantage and now president of global development for RLHC, detailed plans for a Signature Inn relaunch, positioning it as a design-forward, cost-effective, boutique-style option for conversions and new builds alike.

The company signed about a dozen Signature Inns before the RLHC acquisition. Now, Bloss said, the timing couldn’t be better to focus the brand as an “affordable boutique” opportunity that fits in well with RLHC’s Hotel RL, which launched in 2014 as an upscale, full-service lifestyle brand. The brand now has six properties open across the U.S.
Signature Inn currently is in the process of being tweaked to align it with RLHC, Mount said, and it will become “a play to go out and reposition existing real estate that’s in a good market and underbranded.”
“We want to make this an affordable boutique option, and it’ll resonate really well,” Bloss said. “When that guest wants to trade up, Hotel RL is there. When they trade down, Signature is there.”
Bloss and Mount both said great markets are key to Signature Inn’s success.
“We want to keep that flair there,” Bloss said, citing cities like Hollywood, California; Las Vegas; and South Beach, Miami, as great sites for the brand.
Mount said brand standards for Signature will be key.
“It’s not just about putting a sign up, or having great technology,” he said. “The physical plant has to mirror what guests in the independent, boutique market really want to see.”
What once started out as a business-focused hotel with a secondary focus on leisure travel has re-emerged as a hotel focused on the leisure traveler.  It'll be interesting to see where this brand ends up in the coming years.  A look at Vantage's website, which may very well be on its last legs due to the merger, shows that there are three hotels under the Signature Inn name as of January 2017 - Fort Bragg, CA; Abilene, TX; and Superior, WI.  I've done no research or reading up on these as of right now, but I may get into that later.  A quick look at the three shows that they look like really nice places.  I'm interested in seeing where this goes!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Signature Inn that never was (Nashville, TN)

For my final chronology post, I present the Signature Inn that was planned but never built.
courtesy of

During my extensive research of Signature Inn, I found the above newspaper article from The Tennessean out of Nashville.  If this hotel were to be built, it would have opened about a year before the Carmel, Indiana, location.  Based on the smaller size, I imagine it would have looked like the Carmel location too.

BUT, for reasons that were never made clear in any news article that I could find, these plans simply never materialized.  Despite this, Signature Inn would open its new Carmel location and acquire existing hotels in Louisville, Kentucky, and Springfield, Illinois, in 1997.

The only other mention of a Nashville location I saw was a land transfer snippet that was printed in January 1998:
courtesy of, edited for content
About a year after this, the sale to Jameson was announced.

Today, the Nashville site is occupied by offices for Volunteer Corporate Credit Union, which was built in 2002.
Nashville, TN, proposed location.  The building shown is Volunteer Corporate Credit Union.  Courtesy of Bing maps.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Signature Inn, Springfield, Illinois

aerial imagery courtesy of Bing Maps
map graphic courtesy of at
Signature Inn opened what appears to be its final location in Springfield, Illinois, sometime in 1997.  property records show a June 1997 sale date; in that same information, I found a letter dated June 4, 1997, addressed from Signature Inn to the town collector giving an address where to mail future bills & assessment notices.  I tried but was unable to find any newspaper articles on the opening.  Seeing as how Carmel opened in February, it's entirely likely that this was it as far as new locations.

This hotel opened in 1969 as a Sheraton Hotel.  It became a Best Western in 1991, before becoming a Signature Inn in 1997.  Below is an undated postcard scan I found while browsing the Sangamon County Auditor's site that shows the hotel as a Sheraton:

Upon conversion to a Signature Inn, the hotel received a drive-through canopy in the style of nearly all of the rest of their hotels...

1997 photo, courtesy of Sangamon County auditor

While I found it neat to find a Polaroid shot of the front of the hotel shortly after its opening, I feel the below shot from 2007 gives a better view of the front of the hotel.
2007 photo, courtesy of Sangamon County auditor.
Signature Inn would remain operating at this location until February 2010, when it was determined that upgrading the hotel was too expensive and business had decreased.  Unlike other locations, this remained a Signature Inn through the Jameson merger until its closure.  The building would only stand for only about a month or so, until demolition commenced in mid-March 2010.  A Country Inn & Suites and a Shell Jiffi Stop would be the eventual replacements for the hotel.

Newspaper articles from the State Journal-Register (you can read 7 free articles a month):
Two hotels planned at Signature Inn site
Local hotels in spruce-up mood
Convenience store plan in place for old Signature Inn
Days Inn closes, Residence Inn slated to open at Dirksen and Stevenson - This article doesn't quite pertain to the Signature Inn site, though there are a couple of notable dates at the bottom.
Old Signature Inn site to be subdivided
Shell Jiffi Stop planned at Dirksen and Stevenson

Below is a Google Maps capture from May 2012 showing the hotel site.  Interesting the highway sign (at far left) remained for 2 1/2 years:

Finally, a shot of the hotel's property from a September 2014 Google Maps capture:

sources for this post include the Sangamon County, Illinois, auditor's website, archived at, archived at, and imagery found through Bing Maps and Google Maps.  Newspaper information courtesy of The State Journal-Register

Photographs of other Signature Inn locations can be found here: Formerly Signature Inn by Ryan on Flickr

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Signature Inn, Indianapolis/Carmel, IN

aerial imagery courtesy of Bing maps

map graphic courtesy of at
Signature Inn opened its Carmel, Indiana location in February 1997.  Located on the north side of Indianapolis, this hotel was Signature's smallest hotel, with only 81 rooms.  This was one of the last two hotels that the chain opened and its final new-build hotel.
Looking at the building upon entering the driveway
Early on in the project, I had a hard time believing this was a Signature Inn.  I mean, it didn't look like any of the others!  How could it be?  As I pored over property records and map captures, I finally resigned myself to believing it was, in fact, a Signature Inn at one point.

Lucky for me, I had a travel opportunity come up in early June 2015 which took me right through the Indianapolis area.  Along with the other 5 Indianapolis locations, I was able to visit this one and see the building first-hand (and from the ground!)

As I drove into the parking lot, it looked like your typical hotel-in-a-box.  There was one feature, however, that immediately stuck out at me and confirmed it was originally built as a Signature Inn.
Front entrance of the hotel
Yes, the hotel still sports a Signature Inn logo!  I find it hard to believe that it wasn't covered up, at the very least, but am thankful that it's still prominently displayed on the front of the building.
A couple of close-ups of the logo
It's very possible that this could have been the new Signature Inn look.  With a simpler design and a smaller footprint, they undoubtedly would have saved on construction costs.
Looking at the front of the hotel from the other direction
The hotel would become a Jameson Inn in 2006 when many of the remaining hotels switched over to the Jameson flag.  It remained a Jameson Inn until December 2012 or January 2013, when the last hotels were sold.  Since then, the hotel has been a Comfort Inn.
The hotel's east side, with the Comfort Inn signage.  The pool area is at the right of the building, the hotel's rear.  No S-shaped pool here :(
Below are a couple of newspaper snippets:

classified ad looking for applicants at the yet-to-open hotel
announcement of the hotel's opening
grand-opening announcement

sources for this post include the Hamilton County, Indiana, auditor's website, archived at, archived at, and imagery found through Bing Maps.  Newspaper ads courtesy of The Indianapolis Star archived at

Photographs not accredited in their captions were taken by me.  These and additional photos can be found here: Formerly Signature Inn by Ryan on Flickr

Monday, October 17, 2016

Signature Inn Jeffersontown, Kentucky, and Grand Rapids, Michigan

For this update...two more locations I haven't been to
aerial imagery courtesy of Bing maps
map graphic courtesy of at

The Louisville/Jeffersontown, Kentucky, Signature Inn was originally built as a Best Western in 1994.  Signature Inn purchased the hotel in 1997, and the hotel was co-branded as a Best Western Signature Inn until around 2002.

It's interesting to note that while Signature Inn did some exterior work to their other acquired hotels to give them a little Signature Inn flair, this one had none.  At first, I all but refused to believe that this was a Signature Inn and never would have, had it not been on their website.  A search of some newspaper articles helped fill in the missing pieces.
courtesy of

courtesy of

As of 2006, this 119-room hotel was known as a Jameson Inn.  It was one of the final seven hotels to be sold, which took place in December 2012 or January 2013.  Since then, it has been a Quality Inn.

aerial imagery courtesy of Bing maps
The Grand Rapids, Michigan, location opened in 1987.  This is one of what I call the "Mystery 7;" that is, one of the seven locations I wasn't aware of when I began this Signature Inn adventure.  Throughout this blog, I have been adding locations in roughly the order they were built/purchased; unfortunately this is the best place I could fit this location.

This hotel began its life all the way back in 1968 as a Howard Johnson motor lodge.  Signature Inn purchased the property in 1987 and demolished the gate lodge in favor of its own lobby design.  Along with a new lobby, an extra wing of guest rooms was built to the rear of the hotel.  It's the wing on the left in the aerial photo; from the air, it definitely looks like a Signature Inn wing.  Unfortunately, it doesn't match the rest of the hotel.  When Signature Inn was finished, the hotel had 120 rooms.

This hotel was sold in 1992 and became a Days Inn.  Since then, it had also been known as a LaQuinta Inn before its current branding as a Best Western.

imagery courtesy of Google Maps

imagery courtesy of Google Maps
This one I had a hard time believing was ever a Signature Inn due to the fact that it largely didn't look like one.  The photo above of the lobby helped confirm the fact that it was at one point, though the canopy had been renovated.  A kind reader sent me the following link from

Definitely an interesting read!  Thank you to whoever sumbitted that link!

sources for this post include, archived at, archived at, information found at, and imagery found through Google Maps and Bing Maps.  The dividing lines were also "borrowed" from Signature Inn's old site.

Photographs of other Signature Inn locations can be found here: Formerly Signature Inn by Ryan on Flickr

Monday, October 3, 2016

Signature Inn Auburn Hills, MI, and Knoxville, TN

Due to the lack of photographs of the Auburn Hills, Michigan, and Knoxville, Tennessee, locations, I have doubled them up on this post.

aerial imagery courtesy of Bing Maps
The Auburn Hills, Michigan, Signature Inn was built in 1989.  It was one of three inns that shared an updated design.  Like Middleburg Heights, which was covered in the previous post, it does not have that rectangular "box" running the whole length of the roof (the aerial view above shows not even a partial box), and the roof peaks above the stairwells are quite different.  In fact, the roof's peaked appearance from the ground is more of a false roof, as seen from the air.  It contains 124 rooms.

This hotel was part of the Signature Inn chain until late 1992 or early 1993.  After that, it became a Hampton Inn.  Below is an article announcing the switch:
courtesy of

Unfortunately, I couldn't get decent views even from Google Maps.  It appears that since the aerial view was taken, the roof was painted more of a tannish color.

The hotel has since switched over to a Quality Inn.

aerial imagery courtesy of Bing Maps
map graphic courtesy of at
The Knoxville, Tennesee, location opened in 1989.  It was Signature's only Tennessee location and was one of three hotels built with an updated design.  This hotel has 124 rooms.

This location became a Jameson Inn sometime between June 2004 and May 2006.  The canopy was given a more colonial look (forgive me if I have the architectural style wrong) once it fell under the Jameson name.  Below is a look at the hotel shortly after its construction, courtesy of Merit Construction (sorry guys):
photo courtesy of Merit Construction

This hotel would remain under the Jameson name until December 2012 or January 2013, when the final seven Signature Inn locations were sold out of the chain.  Since the sale, the hotel has been a Baymont Inn & Suites.

sources for this post include the Knox County, Tennessee, auditor's website, archived at, archived at, information found at, and imagery found through Merit construction, Google Maps and Bing Maps.  The dividing lines were also "borrowed" from Signature Inn's old site.

Photographs of other Signature Inn locations can be found here: Formerly Signature Inn by Ryan on Flickr