The OES visited Siesta Motel on September 12, 2015. Located on U.S. Route 40 in Norwich, the motel was built by John Mathews in 1952 next to his family home after his service in the U.S. Army during World War II. The first guest of the motel paid $3 for their overnight stay. Being on the National Road, business boomed at Siesta Motel over the next decade. On most nights cars would be lined up on U.S. 40 as weary travelers waited to book a room for the night. It wasn’t until Interstate 70 was built in the 1960s that the motel’s business began to decline. Mathews took a factory job after I-70 was built to make ends meet. The motel had stopped advertising by the mid-1980s and the sign was no longer lit at night after vandals had broken the neon. The rooms were the same as they had been since being built with checkered linoleum floors, black-and-white TVs, an open Bible, a chair and a double bed in each room. Siesta Motel stayed open for business, though, despite the lack of updates or guests every night. In 1986, the cost for a room for two was only $18.75 per night. We aren’t entirely sure when Siesta Motel closed. Roberta Mathews, John’s wife, died in 2013 and John himself died in May 2015. The motel appeared to be pretty run down at the time of our visit, but the sign was still by the road and it appeared that someone still lived at the family home. There were a couple of old cars in the parking lot and a few newer vehicles around the corner, but we saw no one the entire time we were there. It would be interesting to see if the motel could be revitalized at some point in the future. It’s a shame that unique places like this are vanishing from the landscape at an astonishing rate.
Of course, with such an isolated and seemingly abandoned motel, it was almost guaranteed to have its own legend, and it does. As the story goes, in 1994 a man had been in an argument with his mother and booked a room at the motel to get away and clear his mind. His mother found where he was staying and phoned him later that night, further enraging the man. He soon fell asleep but was awakened by the sound of someone in his room. Assuming it was his mother, the man attacked the figure in the dark. It turned out to be a burglar, who in turn, killed the man. It is said the man’s ghost now haunts Siesta Motel, slamming doors, turning off lights, whispering vulgarities and moving items to odd places. Some eyewitnesses even claim to have been hit by the dark-haired man. We have searched newspaper archives, looking for any proof of a murder having occurred there in 1994, but have not found anything thus far. We also recorded for electronic voice phenomenon and took electromagnetic field readings during our visit, but found nothing out of the ordinary. If you have any further information about the motel or its legend, please email .
Location Information: Inactive Business
Siesta Motel is located just southeast of the intersection of U.S. Route 40 and Sundale Road; Muskingum County.