Space Age Lodge.

Stovall's Space Age Lodge

Field review by the editors.

Gila Bend, Arizona

Stovall's Space Age Lodge opened in 1965, according to a brief history on the back of the Lodge's restaurant menu. A local wheeler-dealer named Al Stovall was its visionary. He had friends in the military and government, and his connections got him autographed photos of astronauts, which he hung on the walls of the Lodge's restaurant. He also owned a plastics factory, which produced the custom space-age decorations that made his motel the closet thing to the Jetsons this side of the 23rd century.

Space Age Restaurant.

Then Al died. The astronaut photos were returned to his family. Best Western came in and renovated the place. Al's ghost may not have been happy about that, because shortly thereafter the restaurant burned down. Its ruins were flagged with a tongue-in-cheek banner, claiming that it had been attacked by aliens.

The restaurant was rebuilt and reopened in 1999, and the Space Age Lodge has remained pretty much the same since then. It has 1990s space murals on the Lodge's indoor walls, a bubble dome "flying saucer" above the lobby, and Shuttle-era NASA photographs in the restaurant.

It's too slick and orthodox to be 1965, but we give its current owners -- which include Gila Bend's former mayor -- credit for at least trying to preserve the spirit of the place. "The ideas and designs generated and implemented over 40 years ago have been updated," the menu concludes, "but the hopes and dreams behind their creation remain."

Stovall's Space Age Lodge

401 E. Pima St., Gila Bend, AZ
I-8 exit 119. North on Butterfield, which veers left onto Pima. Left side, about a mile.
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In the region:
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September 28, 2020

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