|aerial view courtesy of Bing Maps|
|map graphic courtesy of signature-inns.com at archive.org|
Signature Inn's first location opened on March 12, 1981 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This hotel is located on Payne Branch Rd. in the northwestern section of the city. This was the second largest hotel in the chain, with 137 rooms. Only Terre Haute has more rooms, but then again, Terre Haute wasn't originally a Signature Inn when it was first built. I guess I could say that the is the largest hotel the chain constructed.
After looking through various photos and aerial images of the other hotels of the chain, I've found that while this location set the stage for the design of the buildings, there are some notable differences.
First, the rectangular part on the ridge of the roof does not run the full length of the roof. According to what I was able to find on historicaerials.com, it never did. The second difference I found is that the ell (you can thank all the years I've spent doing crosswords for that word) extended toward the back of the building instead of the front. It could be something as simple as the way the lot was laid out didn't allow for the ell to come out of the front of the building.
|the front of the building|
More importantly, the ell appears to have a small hallway connecting it to the main part of the building, making it look almost like an afterthought. All subsequent locations of this same general design were built to look like one cohesive unit.
|the ell that runs toward the back of the building|
Finally, when the building was constructed, the pool was open-air. Judging from historicaerials.com, I cannot be 100% sure that the building had the famous S-shaped pool, but it sure looks like it. The property card I found shows improvements to the pool in 1997, which must be when it was put under roof. Historicaerials.com from 1992 shows an outdoor pool; their 1998 imagery shows it was put under roof.
In the research I've done, I've been able to find that sometime between 2004 and 2006 was when the hotel was sold and converted into a Days Inn.
sources for this post include the Marion County, Indiana, auditor's website, signature-inns.com archived at archive.org, and imagery found through both Bing Maps and historicaerials.com.
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