National Register of Historic Places in Grand County

National Register #08000062: Apache Motel in Moab 17 July 2010
National Register #08000062: Apache Motel in Moab 24 June 2011
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National Register #08000062
Apache Motel
166 South 400 East
Built 1955

The Apache Motel was one of the first motels built in Moab.

The motel is connected to a time when dramatic changes occurred in Moab because of two unrelated events: the 1949 filming of the first movie in the area and the 1952 discovery of uranium.

The eclectic, bungalow style architecture illustrates the 1950s transition from motor courts to motor inns. The sign is iconic - a facial profile of an American Indian wearing a headband, mounted on a twenty-foot pole shaped like a giant arrow with a feathered tip. It is typical of period signage in the Southwest. Similar signs were common on Route 66 and in Las Vegas.

When John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara came to Moab in 1950 for filming of Rio Grande, some members of the cast and crew took over Moab's one motel and three auto-tourist camps. Others stayed in private homes and a tent city.


The origin of the name, Apache Motel, is disputed. It may have been named after the Apache Uranium Company or one of two movies, Fort Apache (1949) or Battle At Apache Pass (1952).

Moab area was never Apache country. It was home to Utes, Piutes and Navajos.

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