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  Cape Canaveral-area hotels, motels of the 60s (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Cape Canaveral-area hotels, motels of the 60s
ApolloAlex
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posted 02-01-2010 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ApolloAlex   Click Here to Email ApolloAlex     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ApolloAlex:
I am currently planning my family's next trip to Florida...
Just posted a pic I took in La Fiesta, a little bit dark but a great place nevertheless.

spaceman1961
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posted 07-23-2010 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1961     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was just in Cocoa Beach in May for the Atlantis launch. I stayed at the Oceans Landing Resort, which once was the Atlantis Beach Lodge. Defintely still a 60s vibe to the place. Right next door was a empty building that appeared to have once been the main lobby for the Starlite Motel. It had the same roof canopy with the elongated points I've seen in old postcards of the Starlite.

I've been collecting old postcards of these great motels on eBay, and if I can find out how to post some scans, I will do so.

drscoop
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posted 10-06-2010 08:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for drscoop     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like I'm off to Orlando with work next year and I plan to do an extra 2 days to see the old Mercury/Gemini stuff, on the "Canaveral: Now and Then" tour out of KSC.

I've been following this thread for a little while, and have been doing some more digging, to try to place some of the motels discussed here, and their history and evolution. I thought I would post back my findings, in case they were of interest or use to anyone else. As far as possible, the details below have come from original published sources (books/newspapers/reports/memoirs etc) and not from hearsay or speculation on the web, though that has been very helpful in pointing me in (mostly!) the right direction.

Any errors or omissions are my fault; factual corrections and comments would be welcome to make this as accurate as possible for anyone else trying to track down historical places to stay around Cocoa Beach.

The old Holiday Inn, as managed by Henri Landwirth, now appears to be the International Palms resort, on A1A.

Across the road is the La Quinta, which used to be Cape Colony, with which the original Mercury 7 astonauts were involved. There is a suggestion that this site used to be the old, original Holiday Inn but there was insuffcient space to expand so they sold up and moved across the street, making the original motel available for purchase by the Original 7. However, a book on the history of Cocoa Beach suggests the Cape Colony was a new build, at the time the largest motel in the area, casting doubt on the above suggestion. Also, there is suggestion is that the Original 7 planned to invest the money paid by Life Magazine for their exclusive stories in this motel, but this was frowned upon by the upper echelons of management at NASA. The above-mentioned book suggests the Mercury 7 were forced out of part-ownership of the motel before construction was completed. Again, this conflicts with reports of the Original 7 staying there whilst still owners.

Trying to find definitive evidence as to which account is correct and the timelines has been complicated. However, I came across this, in Wally Schirra's 2003 book: "Leo DeOrsey had proposed to us that we build a motel in Cocoa Beach... Henri Landwirth, also a part-owner, quit his job at the Holiday Inn to become the manager. We named the motel the Cape Colony Inn. ... The motel didn't do as well as we hoped and Leo suggested we sell... End of story, almost. Henri had to leave Cocoa Beach because of a no-compete clause in the contract to sell the Cape Colony. He and John Glenn later became partners and today they own two very profitable Holiday Inns adjacent to Disney World in Orlando.". That would appear to clear that one up...

As I understand it, the hotel and pool area have been altered and updated but the basic building has remained largely unchanged since the Mercury days and the upper apartment section was reputedly the home of the families of the Mercury 7 while they were in town for the launches. Next door (now a beach shop?) appears to have been the office building complex that became a fully functional press suite.

Next to the Holiday Inn, to the south, is the Ocean's Landings Resort; this used to be the The old Atlantis Beach Lodge. Before this, the Atlantis Beach Lodge was the Carriage House Motel and before this, was the Ramada, famous particularly for Wolfie's Deli, home of the infamous Gemini III Corned Beef and Pickle on Rye sandwich.... Other sites suggest the Ramada was subsumed by the Holiday Inn on expansion but from what I've read, pulling together various pieces and threads, I think the above is more probable unless anyone has evidence to the contrary?

The fourth motel often debated in discussions around early space program lodgings was the original Hilton at Cape Canaveral. Most sites list this as demolished, and confirming the original location hasn't been straightforward. However, from a book on Cape Canaveral it appears that the Cape Canaveral Hilton was not demolished, but acquired by Dr Carl McIntire. As far as I can make out, he moved his bible college (Shelton College) there for a while and re-launched as the “Gateway to the Stars, the Bible Conference and Freedom Center". The book notes that, after the end of the Apollo Program ended, real estate prices crashed and the site was picked up fairly cheaply; other sources state the site was acquired in 1971 as the program was winding down. The college itself (at the Cape site) closed in 1992. Archived documents give the address of the center as 8701 Astronaut Boulevard, Cape Canaveral. This is now the site of the Radisson Resort at the Port. I have no evidence if this is the original building but the site seems plausible. Certainly the current appearance of the area fits with the description from a former student who describes "a residential neighborhood filled with split-levels, basketball hoops and two car garages". Mention is made of the "Under the Stars" hotel; I'm unsure as to whether this is what the Hilton became before the buy-out, or what the college became after it closed in 1992. I have also found a second reference confirming the Radission as the location of the Cape Hilton in a site featuring Cocoa Beach trivia.

Some other motels from the same era:

The Satellite Motel (home of the apparently oft-frequented Pillow Talk Lounge) with it's famous Globe sign has now gone, having been demolished. The site is now, as far as I can tell, occupied by the Resort at Cocoa Beach.

The Starlight motel was the first major motel to be built at Cocoa Beach, built in 1956. I believe this was/is next to what is now the Oceans Beach Resort mentioned above. I am working on pinning down the exact location. This appears to be where Henri Landwirth first got a job as a motel manager in Cocoa Beach. I note the recent comments of the poster above and would welcome clarification on which empty building was being referred to...

Silver Sands motel appears to be still in existence at 225 N Atlantic Avenue though I can't confirm with certainty yet if this is the original site/building. The Sea Aire motel, from the same area, also seems to be in existence at the original location, at 181 N Atlantic Avenue.

The Apollo motel is now a Best Western, at 5600 N Atlantic Ave. The Durango steakhouse in the same area used to be the Mousetrap Restaurant and Bar, which was a frequent haunt of the NASA staff. Again, I presume this is the original building (rather than a new site or simply re-use of the name) but have yet to confirm this. The location of the Apollo would indicate that the Apollo motel and the Polaris motel, also mentioned in these discussions, were actually one and the same, during different eras.

Finally, the Sea Missile Motel appears to have been located at the corner of Cocoa Beach Causeway and A1A, now the site of the CVS opposite Ron Jon's surf shop.

If I find more information, or receive corrections, I will try to keep this updated and as correct as possible. Hope someone finds it useful.

spaceman1961
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posted 10-11-2010 07:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1961     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your research into the Cocoa Beach motels. I am the poster who mentioned the abandoned building next door to the Ocean Landings Resort that I believe was the lobby to the Starlite Motel. I actually just got back from another trip to Cocoa Beach and I again stayed at the Ocean Landings. The abandoned building I refered to is immediately south of the Ocean Landings lobby and connected to it by a driveway. If you do a search on Google Maps for 900 N Atlantic Ave and click on the street view, it is the building with the large brown roof. It appears that at some point in time the Starlite was "absorbed" by what is now the Ocean Landings as it is all one large property. The abandoned building/Starlite lobby building was "updated" with the brown shingle roof and stone columns some time ago, but the basic shape of the roof canopy, with its elongated points at the corners, is still evident.

In August I stayed at the Sea Aire Motel. It is still run by the same family who built it in the early 1950's. I chatted with Gary, the manager who is the grandson of the original owner(s). One of the interesting things he told me that was that Werner Von Braun stayed in Room 10 - a fact apparently well known to German tourists, who Gary said seek out the room for that reason.

I have also continued collecting postcards of the motels from this era, and came across two places I had never heard mentioned. The first is Crossway Motor Inn, 3901 N. Atlantic Ave. Today, a Comfort Inn is located there, which appears to be a completely new building, not a remodel of the Crossway. The second is the Bal-Ray. There is no address listed, but the card says it is (was) "directly on the beach" and "close to the shopping district", which may mean "downtown" Cocoa Beach.

spaceman1961
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posted 10-11-2010 08:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1961     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also, Gary at the Sea Aire told me the Silver Sands was "right down the street" from them (pointing north) and that it had been mismanaged then torn down; there is a condo building there now called Ocean Oasis, built in 2004.

dsenechal
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posted 11-04-2010 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dsenechal   Click Here to Email dsenechal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another '60's era hotel is/was the Ocean Suites Hotel, 5500 Ocean Blvd, Cocoa Beach. When I was doing work in the area back in the 1990's, I made it a point to stay there. It may no longer exist, and I'm not sure if that was the original name, but the hotel was definitely of the M-G-A era. It even had vintage furnishings, as I recall, which were cool to see but a little creepy to sleep on.

jcook
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posted 03-09-2011 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jcook   Click Here to Email jcook     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello, all! I'm doing a historical preservation project on the Holiday Inn Cocoa Beach (now the International Palms), once managed by Henri Landwirth. I know the Mercury 7 astronauts frequented this hotel. Does anyone have any stories or pictures of this hotel from the 1960s?

I have a few good sources but would like to enhance the richness of my research. I've already come across some very amusing anecdotes, one concerning a boat in the swimming pool. (I would love to know more about that, by the way.)

My ultimate goal is to preserve locations that remember the lives of those who were seminal in the development of Florida's space coast. If anyone has anything they would like to share, it would be very much appreciated. — Jennifer

golddog
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posted 03-12-2011 05:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for golddog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
if I remember correctly, the boat incident was attributed to Gordon Cooper. He got a motor boat put in the pool as a joke, and they sat around drinking and fishing from it

mode1charlie
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posted 03-12-2011 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In regards to the original Hilton at Cape Canaveral mentioned above, I have no first-hand knowledge as I was too young at the time and lived in Texas, but Al Worden made a remark at the Apollo 14 Gala on Jan. 29, 2011 about "the old Hilton". The cocktail reception for the Gala was held at the Radisson Resort at the Port, and in opening remarks Worden stated that this was the old Hilton, and that the room we were in (I think it was the Montego Room) used to be the bar. He mentioned that after the Hilton sold it, it was used by a bible study group, and how that was especially ironic if they only had known the good times they had there back in the day. I might be misremembering some details, but that was the gist.

That said, the room layout at the Radisson didn't look like what I think of as a typical Hilton layout at all - how the rooms are laid out reminds me more of a Holiday Inn sort of set up, but I wasn't around during that time so who am I to say. If Worden said so, his word is definitely better than mine. Hopefully others who were at the event can chime in and add to my (quite possibly incomplete) recollection of his remarks.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 03-12-2011 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I, too, recall Worden's remarks during the Apollo 14 anniversary gala at the Port's Radisson Resort more than 6 weeks ago.

In fact, it was the Cape Kennedy Hilton in Cape Canaveral that was in the location area of the now-Radisson during the Apollo era.

Just north, or next door, of the "old Hilton" was Camelot Restaurant. Right across the street from the Hilton was the NASA Apollo News Center where media types all across the world would register for an Apollo launch coverage.

mode1charlie
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posted 03-12-2011 06:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Ken. Just to clarify, the Cape Kennedy Hilton later became what is now the Radisson Resort at the Port. But is the old Hilton building structure mostly the same, or was the Hilton torn down and a new structure put in the same location?

Ken Havekotte
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posted 03-12-2011 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
During the Apollo era, the Cape Kennedy Hilton was the only far-north motel resort adjacent to Port Canaveral.

The now-Radisson Resort at the Port is of the same location as the old Hilton was on.

Yes, indeed, just about all the old Hilton foundations and structures were completely re-built. The resort's convention center, if I recall, still maintains a similar structure in use today.

I think the bar that Worden made reference to at the old Hilton was the Pieces of Eight Lounge near the motor inn's romantic Gaucho Steak Room.

During the Cape/Hilton days, the Norm Schooping Trio, with Norm at the piano, was one of the most popular Space Coast beach entertainment spots.

drscoop
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posted 06-23-2011 04:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for drscoop     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After all the help off here planning my trip to the area, it seems only fair to post some photos in return , in case they're of interest. Comments welcome...

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Shasta56
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posted 07-14-2012 09:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shasta56   Click Here to Email Shasta56     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is anyone familiar with the Bal-Ray Motel in Cocoa Beach? We stayed there in 1960 or 61 when my dad had a work trip to Cape Canaveral. I'm trying to pin down time frames. I just can't quite remember.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Shasta56
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posted 07-14-2012 10:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Shasta56   Click Here to Email Shasta56     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaceman1961:
The second is the Bal-Ray. There is no address listed, but the card says it is (was) "directly on the beach" and "close to the shopping district", which may mean "downtown" Cocoa Beach.
I remember the Bal-Ray being right on the beach and within walking distance for shopping. We had a kitchenette, and I can remember running out the door and looking up every time we heard something being launched. I also remember that the motel had shuffleboard. I'm trying to piece my dad's work history together, but the old gray matter ain't what it used to be.

YankeeClipper
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posted 07-22-2012 07:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are two sites that are worth viewing.

First, Cocoa Beach Historical Photos presents images of some of the Cocoa Beach motels from the 1950s/1960s.

The second is a great biographical piece on the legendary Henri Landwirth and covers his time at the Starlite Motel, the Holiday Inn, and the Cape Colony Inn. There are some good stories mentioned including the Cooper boat in the pool, the giant cake, fried cardboard menu, and many more.

YankeeClipper
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posted 07-23-2012 01:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

YankeeClipper
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posted 07-25-2012 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
  • Bernard's Surf / The Surf Bar & Grill
    2 South Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach.

    Rusty Fischer, whose uncle Bernard opened the restaurant on Oct. 30 1948, sold the restaurant circa 2007 to Tomas Saronja and Niko Mihatovic, both natives of Croatia. The terms of the sale stipulated that the name of Fischer's uncle come off the building, and so it became simply The Surf Bar & Grill. In June 2012, British entrepreneur Luke Johnson acquired the signature Cocoa Beach restaurant and pledged to restore it as a top dining venue.

  • The Boar's Head Lounge / JD's Sports Bar and Grill
    1644 South Fiske Blvd, Rockledge 32955.

    The Boar's Head was a hide-a-way for the early astronauts and run by Tony Broadway a former NASA Manned Spacecraft Operations Building Supervisor. After his passing, his family ran the bar/restaurant until circa 2003, when it became JD's Sports Bar and Grill

  • Holiday Inn Cocoa Beach

    From Ralph Morse Life Magazine astronaut Deke Slayton during an unexpected dip in the Holiday Inn pool, 1961. From Ralph Morse Life Magazine pad leader Guenter Wendt emerging from the Holiday Inn pool, soaking wet, after being thrown in during a post-Freedom 7 celebration party in May 1961.

  • Cape Colony Inn / La Quinta Inn
    1275 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach.

    The luxury motel in which the Mercury Seven invested opened in June 1962 and was put up for sale in early October 1962 due to NASA and media pressure. In May 1963, the day before Gordo Cooper's Faith 7 flight, Henri Landwirth hosted a dinner at the Cape Colony Inn for the Mercury Seven and the New Nine. This was the famous fried cardboard incident. The Mercury Seven sold their interests in the motel not long afterwards, and Landwirth left Cocoa Beach to run the Holiday Inn at Lakeland, Florida. This Miami News article confirms ownership of the Cape Colony in May 1963 by the Mercury Seven, and also indicates that the Carriage House used to be the Starlight, first motel on Cocoa Beach.

YankeeClipper
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posted 07-26-2012 01:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The following Miami News article from May 1963 "Cape Economy Sails Skyward Like Rocket" provides useful clarification on the Carriage House and the Ramada Inn at Cocoa Beach:
"Carriage House ... bought up the old Starlight Motel, with 87 units, added another 100 and spent $3.5 million in building and furnishing to have the biggest motel complex at Cocoa Beach."

"Ramada Inn, a big West Coast motel chain, not to be outdone, is putting up a 200 unit motel next door with a Miami Beach - franchised Wolfie's Restaurant and take-out shop as the main attraction."

Examination of City of Cocoa Beach Board of Adjustment Meeting Minutes also provides useful cross-verification of names and addresses.

Based on all the information provided to date, here is what should be an accurate list of M-G-A period establishments:

  • 1960s: Cape Kennedy Hilton
    2012: Radisson Resort At The Port
    Place: 8701 Astronaut Blvd, Cape Canaveral

  • 1960s: Mouse Trap Bar & Restaurant
    2012: Mouse Trap
    Place: 5602 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

  • 1960s: Polaris Motel
    2012: Best Western Ocean Beach Hotel
    Place: 5600 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

  • 1960s: Sea Missile Motel
    2012: CVS Pharmacy
    Place: 4292 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

  • 1960s: Satellite Motel & Pillow Talk Lounge
    2012: Resort On Cocoa Beach
    Place: 1600 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

  • 1960s: Holiday Inn Motel
    2012: International Palms Resort
    Place: 1300 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

  • 1960s: Cape Colony Inn
    2012: La Quinta Inn
    Place: 1275 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

  • 1960s: Ramada Inn & Wolfie's Restaurant
    2012:
    Place: 1100 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

  • 1960s: Starlight Motel/Carriage House Motel
    2012: Ocean Landings Resort
    Place: 900 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

  • 1960s: Silver Sands Motel
    2012: Ocean Oasis Condominiums
    Place: 225 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

  • 1960s: Sea Aire Motel
    2012: Sea Aire Motel
    Place: 181 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

  • 1960s: Bernard's Surf
    2012: The Surf Bar & Grill
    Place: 2 South Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach

  • 1960s: Boar's Head Lounge
    2012: JD's Sports Bar & Grill
    Place: 1644 South Fiske Blvd, Rockledge

Gonzo
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posted 07-26-2012 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone have any info on the "Luna Sea" just down the street from RonJon's? We've been past that place a hundred times and always laugh at the name. We've never stayed there as we've always stayed down at what used to be the Holiday Inn (now the International Palms Resort and Conference Center). But I've always gotten a chuckle out of the name and wondered how old it really was.

YankeeClipper
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posted 07-26-2012 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few more additions to the list of period places:
  • 1960s: Alma's Italian Restaurant
    2012: Slow & Low BBQ Bar & Grill
    Place: 306 North Orlando Ave, Cocoa Beach
Although not strictly on-topic, the following are included for historical interest:
  • 1960s: Riverside Presbyterian Church
    2012: Riverside Presbyterian Church
    Place: 3400 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach
In 1962, prior to his Friendship 7 flight and amid much media attention, Mercury Astronaut John Glenn attended church services at Riverside Presbyterian where one of the hymns dedicated to him was "The Silent Sea". Knox Hall was the original church building in use as the sanctuary at the time.
  • 1960s: First Christian Church of Cocoa Beach
    2012: First Christian Church of Cocoa Beach
    Place: 470 South Brevard Ave, Cocoa Beach
In May 1963, prior to his Faith 7 flight, Mercury Astronaut Gordon Cooper attended church service at First Christian Church.

Cozmosis22
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posted 07-26-2012 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gonzo:
Anyone have any info on the "Luna Sea" just down the street from RonJon's?
Pretty sure that was built in the '90s. Stayed there once... for the novelty. Always preferred the Wakulla down the road a bit at 3550 N Atlantic Ave.

YankeeClipper
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posted 07-27-2012 01:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The fate of the Ramada Inn & Wolfie's Restaurant became clear when I chanced upon a November 2003 post on astronomyforum.net by Scott Grissom.

When asked if the original Cocoa Beach Holiday Inn still existed, Scott wrote:

"Yes it's still all there. the original is only about 1/4 of the new complex. The suites near the ocean are new and what was the Ramada Inn (next door) is part of the Holiday Inn. It's not the same, but it's still there. The Cape Colony (the other side of A1A, which we owned) is there, too."
Close analysis of period postcard photos of the Holiday Inn and Ramada Inn Wolfies and Ramada Inn, combined with Google Maps Streetview and Bing Maps Birdseye views, show that the Ramada Inn & Wolfie's did become part of the Holiday Inn. Both the old Holiday Inn and the old Ramada Inn form the present day International Palms Resort.

Google Maps Streetview clearly shows the large distinctive portico entrance of the old Ramada Inn, with its 2 rows of 4 columns, still exists now at the International Palms Resort. The original Ramada Inn building at 1100 North Atlantic Ave now has 1300 over the entrance, the same address as the old Holiday Inn and present International Palms Resort.

Aerial analysis of the International Palms Resort using Bing Maps shows that the old Ramada Inn building has been retained, and based on differences in roof coloration you can see the old Holiday Inn buildings around the swimming pool which correlate with ground-level period photos.

To summarize, as you enter the International Palms Resort from North Atlantic Ave (A1A), the old Holiday Inn is the building to the left of the big arch and the old Ramada Inn is the building to the right.

  • 1960s: Ramada Inn & Wolfie's Restaurant
    2012: International Palms Resort
    Place: 1300 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach
    Note: Ramada Inn was originally 1100 North Atlantic Ave

YankeeClipper
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posted 07-28-2012 02:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few more legendary venues:
  • 1960s: Moon Hut Restaurant
    2012: La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant
    Place: 7802 Astronaut Blvd, Cape Canaveral
The Moon Hut opened in 1958 and was a family diner popular with astronauts and launch teams, with walls covered in space memorabilia, until 2004. In 2005, La Fiesta Mexican opened but kept the space memorabilia in one section including the famous Moon Hut sign.
  • 1960s: Fat Boys Bar-B-Q Restaurant
    2012: Madd Jacks Grillin Shack
    Place: 6006 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach
Fat Boys was popular among the Mercury Astronauts - particularly Gus Grissom who could often be found enjoying their barbecued ribs.
  • 1960s: Ramon's
    2012: Dinosaur Store & Museum
    Place: 250 West Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach
In the 1960s, there was Ramon's Rainbow Room, a penthouse restaurant on the top floor of the "Glass Bank" building in Cocoa Beach, and the original Ramon's "The Toast of the Coast" on the causeway. Both regularly hosted astronauts and stars and were prime venues.

ApolloAlex
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posted 07-28-2012 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ApolloAlex   Click Here to Email ApolloAlex     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would just like to say how impressed I am of your list of what I would call places of Historical nostalgia.

I can say that the La Fiesta is an amazing place to visit and the Mexican food there is the best I have ever had.

And in regards to the International Palm Resort being the Ramada I can only assume that the Gregory's is on the site of the Wolfies?

I have been of late been collecting memorabilia in regards to the history of the Cape ranging from various hotel postcards to matchbooks to personal items such as security passes, staff awards ranging from lapel badges to letters from the director of the KSC at that time. I have even a hard hat worn by David Hudson, who was at the time the Manager of Quality assurance for Boeing. I find the personal stories of those who worked at the Cape from the past to the present fascinating.

Nevertheless, great research.

YankeeClipper
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posted 07-28-2012 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ApolloAlex:
I would just like to say how impressed I am of your list of what I would call places of Historical nostalgia.
Thanks is really due to all the cS members who contributed insight/leads in previous threads/posts. Period newspaper reports, photos, records, and mapping tools then helped to verify or refine that intelligence further.

On that subject, if Sy, Lola, Kris, Ken or anyone else familiar with the period sees any glaring errors in what I have listed please jump in with any corrections!

Originally I just wanted to take a trip back through time, but to do that you have to know what to look for and where. Some of the information i.e. multiple names, locations, and memories were initially confusing - not surprising when you consider how fast the motels, bars, and restaurants were opening, changing, and closing over the last 50 years on the Space Coast.

What did become clear during the research was just how unique a vibe existed in these venues in the 1960s. The motels had more personality and character than today's homogenous chains. The bars/restaurants had a fabulous mix of live music, astronauts, Cape workers, Air Force personnel, movie stars, heads-of-state, celebrities, groupies and fans. The energy is just palpable!.

It's a real shame that there doesn't seem to have been much emphasis or priority put on preserving that history/legacy for future generations. Places seemed to close and the interiors changed with memories, memorabilia, and atmosphere lost forever.

In the UK/Ireland, a historical society would salvage artifacts like signs, cards, menus, glasses, period photos, distinctive interior furnishings etc and display them in a local museum (usually one of the actual historical venues itself). Historic plaques on building walls/grounds would tell you what building existed at a location and a little of the history connected to the Space Program. Space tourists would love that sort of thing, especially in the form of a tourist trail space history map. Anyone know if something like that exists today?.

It's a good job some structures still stand untouched - the First Christian Church looks today as it did when Gordo Cooper was photographed leaving after service in May 1963.

quote:
And in regards to the International Palm Resort being the Ramada I can only assume that the Gregory's is on the site of the Wolfies?.
Gregory's Steak & Seafood Grille is listed at 900 North Atlantic Ave which is currently the Ocean Landings Resort.

SpaceKSCBlog
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Posts: 116
From: Merritt Island, FL
Registered: Nov 2011

posted 07-28-2012 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceKSCBlog   Click Here to Email SpaceKSCBlog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just wanted to toss in my two cents' worth about La Fiesta, or as we call it the Ex-Moon Hut. Good food, good service, and lots of memorabilia. The parking lot is a bit small but that's the only major criticism.

Cozmosis22
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From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 07-28-2012 08:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, the good ole Moon Hut used to have the best Greek salad with fabulous service, and they even had their own wine label.

YankeeClipper
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Posts: 305
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Mar 2011

posted 07-30-2012 10:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A few more to stir the memories:
  • 1960s: Camelot Inn
    2012: Zachary's Restaurant
    Place: 8799 Astronaut Blvd, Cape Canaveral

  • 1960s: Vanguard Motel
    2012: Alan Shepard Park Parking Lot
    Place: 200 East Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach
Built by former Air Force Sgt. Jake Brodsky and Dick Lang, circa 1958, the Vanguard Motel was a 60 room $400,000 motel. Jack King "The Voice of Apollo" stayed here when first assigned by AP to cover Cape launches in 1958.
  • 1960s: Astrocraft Motel
    2012:
    Place: East Cocoa Beach Causeway & Ocean (Beach) Blvd, Cocoa Beach
Astrocraft Motel matchbook
  • 1960s: Samoa Restaurant & Lounge
    2012: Ron Jon Surf Shop
    Place: 4145 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach
The Samoa featured exotic tiki dining and acts in a tropical paradise setting. Great background information including a detailed analysis of its exact location can be found on the Tikiroom Forum.
  • 1960s: Crossway Inn Motel / Carnival Club
    2012: Comfort Inn & Suites Resort
    Place: 3901 North Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach
Lee Caron's Carnival Club, notable for its iconic fiberglass elephant "Pinky", was a live music venue popular with space workers.

Some excellent background on prominent Cocoa Beach Spots is available from the Orlando Sentinel.

Finally, a couple of relevant movie-related snippets of information:

  • A 1965 cult sci-fi film Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster features many vintage shots and a trip down memory lane in a car down A1A where sites like the Mousetrap, Moon Hut and others can be viewed.

  • Actor Gregory Peck stayed at the Sheraton Cape Colony Inn (Quality Inn, now La Quinta Inn) while filming the 1969 space movie Marooned.

moorouge
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Posts: 1788
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 06-04-2013 01:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
Was the Atlantis Beach Lodge anywhere near the Holiday Inn? I stayed at the Atlantis in 1975 but it seems to have disappeared.
It's a long time coming and apologies for the poor quality, but its been extracted from an 8mm video shot through the window of a Greyhound bus. Nevertheless Geoffrey - does this ring any bells?

stargazerken73
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From: Fort Meade, Fl, USA
Registered: Aug 2012

posted 07-20-2013 10:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stargazerken73   Click Here to Email stargazerken73     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to the folks on this site, we decided to spend a couple of days at the Sea Aire. The manager, Gary, told me this morning that room 8 was the room that Wernher von Braun stayed in when in the area. Also non-space related-room one was occupied by a famous rock band.

We also visited La Fiesta (aka The Moon Hut) and looked in the room with the memorabilia and the Moon Hut decor on the north wall. We were unable to enter due to a meeting.

Blackarrow
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Posts: 2210
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 07-21-2013 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
Does this ring any bells?
I've only just seen this - yes! Quite a few memories. I have pictures of the same sign both during daylight and lit up at night.

I remember that during my July 1975 stay at the Atlantis, I often ate dinner at the nearby Howard Johnson restaurant. It was a short walk north. It wasn't there in 2007, but would I be correct in guessing it is now the Holiday Inn restaurant (which is beside but physically detached from the Holiday Inn)?

AdamTwelve
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From: Los Angeles CA
Registered: Dec 2013

posted 12-20-2013 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AdamTwelve   Click Here to Email AdamTwelve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm the archival producer for a Travel Channel show about stories of events that happened at hotels. We're doing a segment on the Holiday Inn Cocoa Beach, related to John Glenn's orbital flight (now the International Palms), and I am looking for an image of the Holiday Inn in the early 1960s. Would any of you have one that you might be willing to scan and share with us? Feel free to contact me off-thread.

Thank you for your help.

--
Adam Hyman
Travel Channel - “Hotel History”
Twelve02 Television
1410 S. Centinela Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90025
adam@twelve02.tv
310-873-5130 (w)
310-566 9468 (fx)

Rick H
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From: Whiting New Jersey
Registered: Mar 2014

posted 03-10-2014 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick H   Click Here to Email Rick H     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I was in High School I won an essay contest on 'Space Exploration.' The prize was a trip to Washington DC and a tour of Cape Canaveral. This was back in 1963 just at the end of the Mercury Flight program.

We stayed at the Cape Colony Inn in Cocoa Beach. I was pleased to find this website and its many references to the Cape Colony Inn. I also got a chance to meet the NASA administrator James Webb and was able to tour Hanger 'S'. I also remember standing at the top of the gantry on Pad 34, and the tour guide pointing North and saying the launch pad under construction was where we would leave earth to go to the moon. This website has brought back many memories- thanks.

p51
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Posts: 1081
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 07-30-2014 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by goldbera:
From what I understand, the original Holiday Inn - Cocoa Beach (that was referenced above) is currently the La Quinta Inn here in Cocoa Beach.
It is still there? Is that the same building or did they tear it down to build another? What's the address of the original Holiday Inn that is mention in all the books?

capoetc
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Posts: 1774
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 07-30-2014 06:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I recall correctly, the old Holiday Inn is now the International Palms Resort and Conference Center. It was still the Holiday Inn when I stayed there for the 2007 Sims & Hankow show, but they had added on buildings that were not there in the '60s.

The La Quinta in Cocoa Beach used to be the Cape Colony Inn. If you go in the courtyard of that La Quinta, there is a sign attesting to the fact that the hotel was originally owned by the Mercury 7. There have been additions, but the original building forms the central part of the La Quinta.


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