On the side of the Main Street of Tonopah in Nevada lies Clown Motel right next to the Old Tonopah Cemetery. This hotel owes its name to the central theme of the hotel – clowns. Leona and Leroy David built this hotel in 1985.
Their father was a clown collector, and his body was buried in the cemetery next door.
With over 2,050 small and large clowns throughout the hotel, this place will test your courage, especially if you have coulrophobia – fear of clowns.
If that was not enough, their 31 rooms have spooky murals and according to them, what happens after the night falls is out of their hands. Sounds promising!
The staff goes to great lengths to ensure your stay will be memorable. Around the motel, you'll find many antique and junk shops where you might find some gems.
Where is the Clown Motel?
Clown Motel is close to Tonopah's downtown, and while the former mining town doesn't have bustling city life, you will still find a couple of bars, restaurants, and casinos on its main street.
The town is between Reno and Las Vegas and often serves as a stopover for travelers between the two cities. Fans of the wild west, rickety buildings, small smoky casinos, and rusty remnants of silver mining history are in the right place in the ghost town of Tonopah.
Once more than 50,000 people lived here, but when the silver mines closed, it was over for the local community. Today, only 2,500 locals call Tonopah their home.
You can visit the Tonopah Historic Mining Park museum to learn more about the town's silver mining past.
The American TV show "Ghost Adventures" has recorded several episodes in the city known for its many haunted buildings.
If you enter Tonopah via US Route 95, you can't miss the sign with a large orange-haired clown with a red nose. Jolly, the motel's large clown cutout, can be seen from afar. It's a large advertising board for the colorful building hiding behind it.
The Clown Motel takes advantage of the renewed interest in motels, which used to have a connotation of being dull and unassuming. However, the new wave of retro-styling and quirky themes can attract a more demanding crowd.
Inside, the reception is decorated with countless dolls and teddy bears, all dressed in costumes in the colors of the rainbow. Some are sweet, and others are goofy. Additionally, the staff is dressed in the motel's merchandise and has clownish makeup.
Clown Motel's Rooms
The creepiness continues when you enter one of the unique clown-themed rooms. Room 214, for example, is the Halloween Suite, with an evil comic clown character painting.
If that's not enough to disturb your night, there is a wall-sized painting of Michael Myers, a fictional character from the Halloween series of horror movies.
The Exorcist Suite in room 111 is not for the faint-hearted either. I'm not sure if the possessed kid in this creepy backward position will visit you during the night, but good luck if she does.
If paranormal activities give you an adrenaline rush, then you are at the right place. To quote Clown Motel's disclaimer:
"By visiting The Clown Motel, you acknowledge that you may encounter interaction with spiritual and/or unexplained phenomena and/or other unexplainable, unusual or paranormal activity or interactions which may include risks which may or may not be foreseeable.
The Clown Motel will not be held liable for any bodily injury, damage to personal property, emotional distress, death, or other harm caused by the aforementioned."
A "sleep well" wish from an awkwardly smiling clown is always welcome!
The motel's shop has an extensive collection of clowns and merchandise.
Apparently, Clown Motel has gathered more than five hundred clowns over the years.
If you overcome your coulrophobia (fear of clowns), Clown Motel is an excellent place to take incredible shots!
The Clown Motel is a place you should visit not just for its facilities but for having a little adventure with creepy clowns and reliving your favorite horror movies – some that were filmed here.
Old Tonopah Cemetery
During your stay, you can also tour the age-old cemetery. Right next to the motel is the town's old cemetery dating back to 1901, where wooden crosses and stones mark the last, dusty resting place of old-time miners and settlers. Many of the miners were killed in the Belmont Mine Fire.
The tombstone inscriptions are touching. So many of the buried people died young in the mines or from tuberculosis.