Tag Archives: motel

Haven Motel Demolition

Haven Main Office

Haven Front Office

The Haven Motel (formerly Lein Motel) was one of the early urbex locations that inspired American Urbex. After discovering the location I did a quick Google search and discovered that the diminutive motel once attracted international celebrity. I have occasionally kept tabs on the accelerated decay of the location since moving into the area.

It seems now that the property owners are no longer content with leaving the units to the will of nature. The overgrowth has been cleared and trees converted into mulch. The structures are now fully exposed to the elements. If they are not intentionally knocked down in the short-term, they will certainly fall much faster than when they were under tree cover.

Excerpt from local news source Ft. Atkinson Daily Union:

Lloyd and Myrtle Lein purchased the 28.6-acre farm in December 1929 after 11 years of farming in the Albion area. The Leins continued farming, and the first of the cabins were built in 1931, as well as the filling station that accompanied them.

In 1938 the motel had been expanded to 10 cabins. By the late 1930s, Myrtle Lein was serving lunches at the filling station, and by the mid-1940s there were 20 cabins on the property. Lloyd Lein did all of the construction himself, doing all of the masonry, electrical and plumbing works. Myrtle sewed all of the curtains and awnings for the cabins.

The Lein?Motel was a good stopping point between Chicago and Minneapolis, and cost $1 per night if you brought your own linens; $1.25 if the Leins supplied linens. The motel was one of the first located on Highway 12.

The property sported its own well, and two individual farm “electric plants” that provided electricity. When the power lines were extended from the Star School property one-quarter-mile north of the cabins, Lloyd Lein signed a contract agreeing to pay $3.50 per month for electricity.

In my Haven Motel Flickr set there are photos from past and the most recent visit.


The Fox Inn

Fox Inn

Welcome to the Fox Inn. Rooms are available for as low as $22 a night. Well… they were at some point. The Winnebago County Health Department has something else to say about that.

Fox Inn

Being right next to H41 this place attracts a lot of attention. The first floor and stairwells are now boarded up completely. Patrols drive past this location quite frequently. The last time I was here shooting footage for a documentary the local Sheriff asked what I was up to. I explained that I was merely shooting footage and would be immediately on my way out. This is a good tip for any urbexer. Don’t run from the police. Just be cool, explain yourself, be friendly and listen to what they tell you to do. Being confrontational and acting suspicious is a great way to end up with a ticket.

Fox Inn

So what is the story behind the Fox Inn?

One uncredited source says it closed in January, 2008. At the time I lived in Oshkosh and this seems to comport with what I saw when driving to Appleton. The Fox Inn used to be called the Northern Inn. The last major news item was a triple shooting committed by Chuckie Vang in 2005. Vang has since been captured thanks to a 2008 America’s Most Wanted broadcast detailing his crime. The Menasha Police Department highlighted the arrest in a public report (PDF). Before closing the Fox Inn was home to low-income families and people down on their luck. The Post Crescent ran an article on one such family living in the motel.

Haven Motel

Haven Main Office

Welcome to the Haven Motel.

Well, that’s what it was renamed to in 1958 and remained so until the 1980’s. When Ozzie & Harriet Nelson, boxer Joe Louis, and the von Trapp family of The Sound of Music fame stayed here it was known as Lein’s Cabins.

Haven Hovel

The adobe structures now sit in a state of disrepair. Whenever I drive past them on H12 I’ve noticed that they are decaying quite rapidly now that the weather has loosened the internal brickwork.


Research Links:

Hoard Museum

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Article

El Tidy’s Visit Account

My Flickr “Abandoned Haven” Collection