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Spooky Roadside Stops: The Clown Motel

"America's Scariest Motel"

Spooky Season has arrived! 

The wind is chilled, the leaves are changing, and through this period of transition, we find a reinvigorated sense of adventure. 

Happy Campers RV Rentals is here to inspire and encourage your new found Fall feelings! Let’s dig into the spirit of the season together, as we take you on a journey to some of the best Spooky Roadside Stops on the West Coast! It’s time to pack up your costumes, consolidate your candy, and hit the open road on a Halloween destination vacation. 

The final destination on our tour of Spooky Roadside Stops is, without a doubt, the most disturbing destination of all. Welcome to the world-famous Clown Motel.

"It’s situated in Tonopah, a town literally miles from anywhere, but don’t worry about that, because you won’t be lonely at the Clown Motel…even if you wish you were. Because as you can see from these rather terrifying pictures, the Clown Motel, like its name suggests, is literally full of clowns. The motel office has over 500 clowns on display, and there’s even a stuffed, life-sized clown that sits in a chair in the lobby. Sounds like a fun place, right?"

Table of Contents

A Brief History of The Clown Motel

It all started in 1985 when Leona and Leroy David built the motel in memory of their father, Clarence David, who had passed away. Clarence David, you see, was an avid clown lover and had left a collection of 150 clowns in his home. Leona and Leroy decided to use their late father’s clown collection as the theme and focal point of their motel in their father’s memory. The Clown Motel was named “America’s Scariest Motel” due to its clown theme and proximity to the haunted cemetery next door. The Old Tonopah Cemetary is the resting site for dozens of minors who lost their lives to a tragic fire in 1911. Additionally, the graveyard is home to a slew of citizens who fell to pneumonia in 1907. All in all, you know there are some disgruntled ghosts in that graveyard.

Today the motel offers a little bit of something for everyone. It is home to over 2,000 clowns from every era and corner of the earth. Staying at the Clown Motel is, to say the least, a unique experience. All 31 of their rooms feature 2 to 3 custom clown art paintings, and their clown gallery space will make your jaw drop. The Clown Motel is an experience you’ll never forget. As The Clown Motel famously says, “We’ll do everything to make your stay comfortable, but what happens after dark is out of our hands….”

The Clown Motel Quick Facts

  1. 1
    Cemetery Neighbors
    The famous cemetery next door to The Clown Motel was founded in 1901 but was closed just 10 years later. Among those buried buried are victims of the 1905 "Tonopah Plague" as well as the 1911 Belmont Mine Fire and Sheriff Thomas Logan who was shot while trying to save others in a local brothel. Among others there's also George 'Devil' Davis, the first African American man in Tonopah. He was murdered by his wife who shot him in the back, although served a prison sentence of only one year due to the extensive abuse he'd inflicted upon her. Also among the graves is Bina Verrault of New York who made national headlines after her and a friend made a pact to become wealthy widows and collected clothes & jewelry to today's value of over $2.5 million from men they'd seduced. Bina went on the run and ended up in Tonopah where she died of alcoholism.
  2. 2
    Ghost Adventures
    Zak Bagans brought his crew to The Clown Motel to film an episode of 'Ghost Adventures'. Scenes include a visual sighting of a dark silhouette, a voice heard saying "Hello, it turned on" when using a voice spirit box and most famously - the hand of the large clown is caught on camera moving off it's leg entirely of it's own accord.... ​ It was after the episode aired that Bob Perchetti said things really started to take off, with people from all over the world donating their clowns and booking their stay to see the spooky Motel for themselves!
  3. 3
    The Motel Today
    The motel was purchased in 2019 by the Mehar family from Las Vegas who are experienced hoteliers with a wealth of experience from around the globe. They are both dedicated and passionate about preserving the iconic Clown Motel and growing the world-famous clown collection. Since taking over the property, they have invested a lot of time and effort into improving the facilities and renovating the rooms. The family have many plans for the bright future of The Clown Motel to honour its legacy so it may be preserved for generations to come.
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