Warrior Motel sign.

Warrior Motel: Big Indian Sign

Field review by the editors.

Bryson City, North Carolina

The Warrior Motel was built by Jimmy Colville around 1960. Jimmy owned other motels and restaurants in the area. He also owned a construction company, which may account for the age-defying durability of the Warrior Motel's massive neon sign. Standing 30 feet high, it features the top half of a chesty Indian brave, whose neon tomahawk once waggled back and forth to attract passing motorists.

Warrior Motel sign.

Jimmy, also durable, died just shy of his 97th birthday in 2013. The motel closed in 2009.

This part of North Carolina, right outside of the Cherokee Reservation, is a popular spot for roadside Indian iconography, although the images have changed a bit since 1960.

We can't ask Jimmy what he was thinking, but perhaps a Warrior Motel suggests more regal amenities than a humble Wigwam Motel. The Warrior Motel did advertise that it had the "largest guest pool" in the Smoky Mountains.

Warrior Motel: Big Indian Sign

Address:
5725 US-19, Bryson City, NC
Directions:
North side of US-19/Ela Rd, 4.5 miles west of downtown Cherokee.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Mac's Indian Village CabinsMac's Indian Village Cabins, Cherokee, NC - 3 mi.
Cherokee: Tourists and IndiansCherokee: Tourists and Indians, Cherokee, NC - 4 mi.
Cherokee Bear ZooCherokee Bear Zoo, Cherokee, NC - 4 mi.
In the region:
Bear Head Entrance, Pigeon Forge, TN - 25 mi.

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