Thursday, June 30, 2016

Signature Inn Peoria, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan

I have not visited either the Peoria or Detroit locations, so I have no photos of them.  I am again creating a double post to make up for the lack of pictures.
aerial imagery courtesy of Bing maps
map graphic courtesy of at

The Peoria, Illinois, Signature Inn was one of four hotels built in 1988.  It contains 124 rooms, which was about the standard, give or take a couple, for those built during that time.

One thing I found of particular interest was that a lot of previous references to this hotel showed a co-branding with Best Western.  I couldn't really tell when it started, but it looked like the Best Western references were gone as of mid-2009.  Also, I was unable to pinpoint when the Jameson name replaced the Signature name, but I can only surmise it was in 2006 when the Jameson name appeared on a lot of the other inns.

This hotel was one of the final seven hotels remaining with the chain, sold in late December 2012 or early January 2013. Since then, it has been a Quality Inn.

Also notable is that the hotel appeared to retain its Signature Inn charm for quite some time.  However, I found a Google capture that shows some significant work had been done.

The exterior walls of the hotel were re-done, as was the roof.  Perhaps even more significant than those two changes were the enclosure over the pool and the heavy renovation to the canopy.

The Detroit, Michigan, location was one of five locations opened in 1987.  Depending on who you ask, this location was referred to as either Detroit or Romulus.  This was on the larger side of the hotels, with 135 rooms.

This hotel missed the changeover to the Jameson flag.  It was sold in 1992 as Signature Inn was exiting its financial troubles and bankruptcy of 1990-1991.  It became a Hampton Inn in early 1992; it was later known as the Lexington Hotel and is currently a LaQuinta Inn.
classified ad from The Detroit News and Free Press, 4/5/1992, mentioning a Hardee's open house.  By this time, the Detroit/Romulus had become a Hampton Inn.  Warren, mentioned a couple posts ago, would hang on for about another year.
I am not sure when this building was renovated from its Signature Inn look, but as of 2011, it's still fairly recognizable:

Sometime between July 2011 and July 2015, this property received another renovation.  This time, even more of the Signature Inn look was stripped away, leaving us with:

I almost didn't recognize the property myself!  I had to go back to the 2011 GSV capture to make sure I was looking at the right address. has some current photos of the property.  Not too shabby, despite the fact it's virtually unrecognizable as a Signature Inn.

sources for this post include the Peoria County, Illinois, auditor's website, 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

Friday, June 17, 2016

Has it been a year already?

After posting my Normal, Illinois, article, I realized it had been about a year since The History of Signature Inn began.  Looking at my first blog post, I see I am celebrating the site's one-year anniversary 8 days late.  Better late than never!

In the last year, I have covered 20 of the chain's 35 hotels through the blog, with the other 15 in various stages of the writing process and waiting their turn to see the light of day.  While I had done most of my research and photography just prior to this thing getting off the ground, there were still a handful whose photos I had taken afterward.  Plus, as we all remember, I recently found even more stuff I didn't know I didn't know.

As has been my dream since I started this project, I have been able to spend three nights at two different former Signature Inns and am still looking/hoping for opportunities to stay at others.  It's been a fun year as far as this blog goes and even though my update schedule will take me through about the next seven months, I hope to stretch it out a little bit through additional updates of information I've already presented.

I leave you all with this article from April 1983, courtesy of The Indianapolis Star via  I love the wording..."Dynamic New Motel"...

Signature Inn Normal, Illinois

Normal, Illinois, can be added to the list of Signature Inns I've never visited, and to the even shorter list of ones I'll never be able to.
aerial imagery courtesy of Bing Maps
map graphic courtesy of at
Normal, Illinois, opened in 1988.  It was one of four hotels that would open during that time.  This hotel was built with 124 rooms.

from The Pantagraph, a photo showing the hotel's lobby.  This photo ran two days after the hotel's opening.  Courtesy of

Below are a few photos of the hotel that I found on the Normal Township, Illinois, assessor's website.  I love the signage on the hotel!
Feb. 2006 photo, courtesy of Normal Twp, IL, assessor
Feb. 2006 photo, courtesy of Normal Twp, IL, assessor
Sept. 2012 photo, courtesy of Normal Twp, IL, assessor

This hotel was one of a handful that kept the Signature Inn name through the Jameson years.  It was sold in late 2012 and became a Howard Johnson in December 2012.  Hojo did very little exterior work on the building, thusly retaining its Signature Inn awesomeness.
Feb. 2013 photo, courtesy of Normal Twp, IL, assessor
I found an article from late May 2013 stating that the ceiling under the hotel's canopy had fallen down, resulting in no injuries.  Three months later, it was announced that the hotel would close.  Demolition commenced in October of that year.
from The Pantagraph, 5/29/2013, an article on the hotel's ceiling collapse.  The photo came from the newspaper's website; article from

A pair of articles from The Pantagraph
Left: 8/1/2013 announcing the hotel's closure
Right: 8/2/2013 announcing the hotel's sale and eventual demolition
Courtesy of

from The Pantagraph, 8/31/2013, a classified article advertising an auction of the hotel's contents.
Courtesy of

from The Pantagraph, 10/18/2013, a couple of photos on the hotel's demolition
Courtesy of

Oct. 2013 photo, courtesy of Normal Twp, IL, assessor
The hotel's site is now home to a Chick-Fil-A and a Red Robin restaurant.

sources for this post include the Normal Township, Illinois, assessor's website, information found through,  and imagery found through Bing and Google Maps.

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

Monday, June 6, 2016

Signature Inn Cincinnati North

aerial imagery courtesy of Bing maps
map graphic courtesy of at

One of seven locations built in 1987, the Cincinnati North location opened for business on September 2, 1987.  This hotel is located in the northern suburb of Sharonville and contains 130 rooms.
advertisement for the hotel's 9/2/1987 opening
advertisement for the hotel's 10/14/1987 grand opening celebration
My only stay at a Signature Inn was at this hotel back in 1991 on a trip with my family.  As a child of 10, I enjoyed the semi-frequent road trips we would go on and particularly enjoyed staying in different hotels.  This hotel in particular was one of my favorites to stay in and left quite an impression on me.  I snagged a hotel directory (long since thrown away :( ) and filled out one of the comment cards, to which I received a response in the mail (also gone).  The hotel made such an impression on me that I never forgot about it and here I am now 25 years later writing about it.

One of the things I liked most about the hotel was the lobby, which I unfortunately do not have photos of.  I'm still trying to find an opportunity to stay at a former Signature Inn and snap some photos.

This particular hotel, up until mid-2015, still retained the classic Signature Inn look on the outside.  During the summer, a remodeling project had taken place and along with it, the wall-mounted cladding was painted a darker color.  I have to say that it does dress it up somewhat.

The canopy still has its skylights, but no lights.  In my photos, it's hard to tell if there ever were lights.

While this hotel was still part of the chain after its sale to Jameson Inns, it did not make the changeover to the Jameson name.  The hotel was sold in early 2004 and from what I can tell has been a LivINN since then.

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