Like the creepy Bates Motel in the movie Psycho, the old Star Lite Motel near Albion sits decaying back in the underbrush off US12.

Back in the 1950s, traffic from Chicago to Detroit was heavy. While I-94 wouldn’t come along until 1959, vehicles depended on US12 and Michigan Avenue to get to their destinations. At the time, Michigan Avenue was called Jackson Road, which had many roadside stops and amusements for travelers. Among these was the Star Light Drive-In.

The drive-in plodded along until 1952 when it changed ownership and venue: it was now the Star Lite Motel, a ‘courtyard’-type establishment with sixteen rooms, just a ways off the road. The Star Lite Motel opened for business on Sunday, August 23, 1952, and instantly became competition for the nearby Parker Inn Hotel. The charm of the Star Lite was its easy access: customers could park right outside their front door, which made it simpler to get up, pack, and leave first thing in the morning.

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A small café out front made a quick place to grab a bite before going on your way.

In 1960, I-94 was finished from Detroit to New Buffalo which made traveling easy, but not businesses along US12 and Michigan Avenue. Most establishments gave up and closed, while other motels, hotels, restaurants, and amusements moved closer to I-94. All, that is, except the Star Lite. The café out front shut down and was demolished. The motel was sold and kept operating throughout the 70s and 80s, name changed to ‘Sunshine Motor Lodge’.

In the early 1990s, that was it. The motel couldn’t keep hangin’ on and closed – but not long afterward it came back as an apartment complex. The year that closed is unknown, but it was sometime between 2009 and 2012.

Now take a look in and around the old Star Lite Motel, still sitting (so far) back in the weeds and bushes on Michigan Avenue in Albion.

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