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Caseville’s Palmer Motel 1963

Every time I drive through Caseville, I pass a small building of apartments along M-25. There is no sign on the building, but cars are parked out front, and sometimes kids’ bikes are there. This building and the apartments must have a commanding view situated on the bluff of the Pigeon River. However, it seems, like most buildings in Caseville, that this site was once something else.

Palmer Motel Caseville Postcard
1963 Postcard of the Palmer Motel

While sorting through images collected while conducting research, I came across this postcard from 1963 showing the Palmer Motel. I never heard of it before. By most standards, it was a small place, but its location right across from the Caseville County Park and is situated on the river may have made it appealing for someone visiting the area but didn’t want to camp. If there was a dock on the river, fishermen could keep their boat outback for perch or walleye fishing. It had a rustic look with its log exterior.

Caseville – A Good Place to Vacation

Caseville Vacation Ad 1963
Caseville Vacation Ad 1963

I researched a bit more on the Palmer Motel and unfortunately came up with nothing except this 1963 ad from the Port Huron Times Herald. It was attempting to feature vacationing in Caseville. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a marketing ad highlighting “Just Loafing” as a thing to do. I’m not sure what “hectic rush” there was to get away from in the “modern world” of 1963. Also, Caseville is a Good, not Great, place to vacation. Maybe the Caseville Chamber of Commerce wrote the ad.

It’s interesting to note all the other Caseville motels and businesses listed and operating as a “progressive firm” in 1963. Will have to look up what that means.

Parkview Apartments from Google Earth

Today the site is known as Parkview Apartments. The rustic look is now tucked away under siding, and the office and neon sign is long gone. It’s another piece of history that lives on by reinventing itself. Some people do that too.

Two Verbs News



6 thoughts on “Caseville’s Palmer Motel 1963”

  1. Fascinating, Mike. Thanks for sharing this photo of the Palmer Motel. I remember when it was in business, as I was 13 in 1963. About two doors down was a trampoline business, with maybe four trampolines you could rent by maybe 15 minutes at a time. I think it cost 25c to rent. Then, across the street from the trampolines was / is Caseville’s wonderful Dairy Queen. As you said, most every business in Caseville today was something else yesterday.

    But it’s always been a tourist-centric (as they call it, “progressive”) town. I’m sure their definition of “progressive” is the small group who each pitched in probably $10 to pay for that newspaper ad. I’ve sold many of those… 95% of stores say “no” for sure.

    Reply
    • Hi Mark, Thanks for those memory updates. I remember the trampoline business. I also remember a restaurant next to the County park entrance that was torn down a long time ago.

      Reply
  2. That restaurant had several names over the years and was a popular Caseville eatery. Joe Rubino built it, naming it “Chi Chi’s Restaurant” after his daughter, Chi Chi Rubino. She was a star in multiple years of the Caseville Summer Enrichment Program’s Broadway shows in the 1962-67 era — and went on to become Francesca James, on ABC-TV’s “All My Children.” I had the pleasure of being in two plays with her in those years, and, while retired, she’s still in touch with Caseville friends on Facebook.

    I have a 1972 story about her from the Detroit Free Press that I’d be happy to post, if possible.

    Reply
  3. My parents owned and operated the Palmer Motel from 1970 to 1972. The motel’s office is still there. Looks like they extended the roof to cover the office and the rest of the units. The motel was built on a hill. There were six units total; four on the street level and two apartment sized units with kitchenettes and two bedrooms below. The motel office was also living quarters with a living room on the first floor and a bedroom and kitchen in the lower level. The Pigeon River was in the back yard, but we had no dock.

    By 1970 the motel sign in the post card was replaced by a bigger neon sign. There was another small motel on the same side of the street about a quarter mile away, called Jungle Land, but it was out of business by 1970. A quick Google maps search shows that it has been demolished.

    Reply
    • Thanks Ed,

      Appreciate you filling in the details. Very little was found. Do you remember the name of the trampoline place down the street?

      Reply

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