AP PHOTOS: Vintage trailer court takes tourists back in time

The sun sets behind a 1950 Hughes Spartan travel trailer complete with pink flamingo and vintage El Dorado Cadillac parked by its side at the Shady Dell Trailer Court, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. Founded in 1927 and renamed the Shady Dell in the 1950's, the current travel court use vintage travel trailers as guest rooms. (AP Photo/Matt York)
A guest takes a photo with her smartphone while leaning on a Spartan Manor travel trailer, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at the Shady Dell Trailer Court in Bisbee, Ariz. Vintage aluminum travel trailers with period furnishings are used as guest rooms. Retro trailers such as Airstream, Spartan Royal Mansion, Airfloat, Boles Aero and El Rey are used in the trailer court located 10 miles from the Mexican border. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Stars shine above a 1950 Hughes Spartan trailer, right, a 1950 Boles Aero trailer, center, and a 1947 Airporter bus at the Shady Dell Trailer Court, late Wednesday, April 26, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. Vintage aluminum travel trailers, a yacht and a Hawaiian-themed bus are used as guests rooms at the trailer lodge. Views of Southern Arizona's star-filled sky are unencumbered by artificial light. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Manager Brad Hardy opens a 1951 Spartan Royal Mansion trailer for a guest at the Shady Dell Trailer Court, Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. Vintage aluminum travel trailers, a yacht and a Hawaiian-themed bus are used as guests rooms at the trailer lodge in the historic Southern Arizona copper mining town. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Windows glow a soft amber hue after dark at the Shady Dell trailer court, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. Founded in 1927 as the as the Thompson Motor Court and later renamed the Shady Dell in the 1950's, the rest haven nestled in the tiny copper mining town was a frequent stop for motorists during the golden age of American automobile travel and is a now an off-the-beaten-path destination for travelers and is located 10 miles from the Mexican border. (AP Photo/Matt York)
A 1947 Airporter bus glows after dark at the Shady Dell Trailer Court, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. The Hawaiian themed bus, surrounded by tiki poles, a surf board lounge table and festive lights, is used as a guest room at the trailer lodge in the Southern Arizona historic copper mining town. (AP Photo/Matt York)
The sun rises behind the stern of a 38-foot 1947 Chris Craft Yacht dry docked at the Shady Dell Trailer Court, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. The yacht offers a v-shaped berthing area and sleeps two. After lying dormant for years, the Shady Dell reopened in 1996 with the intention of reviving its 1950's atmosphere of an authentic trailer court and became a travel destination of it's own. (AP Photo/Matt York)
A guest uses a wagon to move her luggage at the Shady Dell Trailer Court, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. Founded in 1927 as the as the Thompson Motor Court and later renamed the Shady Dell in the 1950's, the rest haven nestled in the historic copper mining town was a frequent stop for motorists during the golden age of American automobile travel and is now it's own destination for vintage enthusiasts and those seeking a trip out of the ordinary. (AP Photo/Matt York)
The interior of a 1947 Airporter bus is decorated in a 1950's Hawaiian theme at the Shady Dell Trailer Court, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. The "Tiki" bus is used as a guest room at the trailer lodge in Southern Arizona compete with 50's island records on a vintage phonograph. (AP Photo/Matt York)
A man sits in the band stand at the center of the Shady Dell Trailer Court, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. as a common area used for socializing. Founded in 1927 just 10 miles from the Mexican border and renamed the Shady Dell in the 1950's, the current travel court uses vintage travel trailers, a Yacht and city bus as guest rooms while recreating a 1950's atmosphere. (AP Photo/Matt York)
The front office of the Shady Dell trailer court is illuminated at dawn, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. Founded in 1927 as the as the Thompson Motor Court and later renamed the Shady Dell in the 1950's, the rest haven nestled in the tiny mining town was a frequent stop for motorists during the golden age of American automobile travel and is a now an off-the-beaten-path destination for travelers. (AP Photo/Matt York)
The 1953 movie "Cat Women of the Moon" is shown on the big screen at the Shady Dell Trailer Court, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. Movies and advertisements from the 50's are shown nightly on the parks' big screen adjacent to the snack bar. Vintage golf carts and automobile seats are used from some of the seating. (AP Photo/Matt York)
The galley of a 38-foot 1947 Chris Craft Yacht dry docked at the Shady Dell Trailer Court, is shown Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. The yacht offers a v-shaped berthing area, at right, and sleeps two. After lying dormant for years, the Shady Dell reopened in 1996 with the intention of reviving its 1950's atmosphere of an authentic trailer court and became a unique travel destination of it's own. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Manager Brad Hardy applies touch up paint to the big screen at the Shady Dell Trailer Court, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. Movies and advertisements from the 1950's are projected nightly. Vintage golf carts and automobile bench seats are used from some of the seating. (AP Photo/Matt York)
A retro motel room key to a 1947 Airporter bus sits on a tiki pole at the Shady Dell Trailer Court, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, in Bisbee, Ariz. The Hawaiian themed bus, surrounded by tiki poles, a surf board lounge table and festive lights, is used as a guest room at the trailer lodge in the Southern Arizona historic copper mining town. (AP Photo/Matt York)
This combination of Wednesday, April 26, 2017 photos shows from left top to bottom; The interiors of 1951 Spartan Royal Mansion, 1947 Airporter Bus, 1957 Airfloat, 1959 El Rey, 1947 Chris Craft Yacht, 1951 Spartan Royal Mansion, 1951 Spartan Royal Mansion, 1950 Spartanette, and 1959 El Rey at the Shady Dell Trailer Court in Bisbee, Ariz. Vintage aluminum travel trailers, a yacht and a Hawaiian-themed bus are used as guests rooms at the trailer lodge located off Highway 80 in the historic Southern Arizona copper mining town. (AP Photo/Matt York)

BISBEE, Ariz. — Visitors arriving at the neon-illuminated office of the Shady Dell trailer court enter a kind of time warp, transported back to the 1950s when big Studebakers and Chevys rolled up carrying road-weary travelers, their trailers in tow.

Decades later, that mid-century feeling endures at this southern Arizona tourist stop.

Lined inside with warm woods, vintage aluminum travel trailers manufactured under names such as Airstream, Spartan Royal Mansion, Airfloat, Boles Aero and El Rey populate the tidy trailer court with gravel paths and small lawns. But the trailers, rather than the spaces, are for rent, like hotel rooms.

The trailer windows glow a soft amber hue after dusk, and tiki torches and neatly hung strings of multicolored lights circle a small bandstand outside. Once-popular songs from 1950s vinyl records crackle over a loudspeaker throughout the park just 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Founded in 1927 as the Thompson Motor Court and renamed Shady Dell in the 1950s, the rest haven nestled in the copper mining town of Bisbee was a frequent stop for motorists along Highway 80 during the golden age of American automobile travel.

Similar to its big brother, Route 66, the lesser-known Highway 80 once linked America's Atlantic and Pacific coasts — in its case between Savannah, Georgia, and San Diego. Back then, trailer courts lined Highway 80, offering respite to motorists traversing the Southwest's harsh landscape in the final push to Southern California.

The Shady Dell later sat dormant, reopening in 1996 with the idea of reviving its vintage atmosphere.

Now, the former layover for people traveling long distances has become a destination of its own for vintage enthusiasts and those just looking to get off the beaten path. The trailer park shuts down several months each year for the brutally hot desert summer but reopens as fall nears, coming this year on Friday.

Along with various mid-century trailers, a 1947 Chris Craft yacht with V-shaped berth sleeping quarters and a 1947 Airporter bus decked out in 1950s Hawaiian style have added to the court's yesteryear charm.

All guest rooms come complete with period-correct furnishings. Several have old-fashioned phonographs and black-and-white television sets, but there are no telephones, digital clocks or remote controls.

Staying true to the 1950s style, classic films are shown every night at a kind of drive-in theater outside, the viewers sitting in carts as they watch the big screen spread against Arizona's star-filled sky. The outdoor movie, adjacent to a little snack bar, is the perfect nightcap to a relaxing day in Bisbee's slow lane.

___

This story has been corrected to show the park wasn't closed for years.

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