Riverside Motel | Photo © 2015 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

Somewhere near the Florida/Georgia border is a place that has sat, abandoned and remarkably untouched, for decades. Little information is readily available about the Riverside Motel and St Mary’s Liquors, which also housed a Souvenir Shop. This place has managed to stay mostly safe from the hands of vandals, with only a few signs of any serious or obviously intentional damage; everything else was the product of natural decay. There were several things inside, such as the furniture, decor, and other miscellaneous items that hinted at it being vacated sometime in the 80’s, however, all of the locals could only give the time frame as “a long time – decades.”

The two buildings that make up the motel are in an “L” shape, with the office sitting in the middle of the land. The building that is closest to the road shows the most damage, with most of the flooring in at least the first half of the rooms being broken up and sunken into the ground, leaving all of the furniture also half sunken into the Earth below. In both buildings, the beds, chairs, tables, vanities, and even the Bibles are still inside. One room had evidence of a fire, but strangely only the bed itself seems to have gone up and was then put out before the fire could spread any farther. In the middle of the bed, a Bible sits on a pillow, unburned.

Heavy with cobwebs, dust, and insect nests, one of the rooms in the second building even had a full wardrobe still hanging in the closet, with clothing items also strewn about the dresser and the bed. Other evidence of past lives littered other rooms, such as a coffee cup on the footboard of one bed and books, mostly with religious themes, in others. Magazines and newspapers were either completely faded or too water damaged and moldy to make out a date on them.




Riverside Motel | Photo © 2015 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

Next door to the Riverside Motel is the old St Mary’s Liquors, which is really two businesses in one. Divided in the middle, one side was the bar and liquor store where they would also play movies, and the other side was a souvenir shop. The building is actually much larger on the inside than it appears to be from the outside, so one can only imagine that they had a lot of stuff to see in there. Now, all that is left is the large, old sign that used to hang on the wall in the liquor store and an ancient typewriter in the souvenir shop side. A few random items, such as a very old tape recorder and a broom propped up against the counter still sit there, waiting for someone who will never come back.

Being so close to the border, this place must have been extremely popular on the weekends. The sale of alcohol is largely prohibited in Georgia on Sundays, barring special events or the few places where local government has overruled. People probably crossed the state line into Florida and hung out here all through the weekends so they could drink and socialize, having the convenience of the motel next door to crash at if they were too wasted to drive home.

Now, the particular stretch of highway that Riverside and St Mary’s sits on is very quiet, only used regularly by the locals. Once I-95 was built, many travelers stopped using the smaller highways and opted for the larger, faster, and more convenient interstates, which is what likely lead to the demise of this hidden gem. Now it just sits, as it has for decades, quietly. Perhaps the same location that once pushed it to become abandoned has also saved it from the demolition equipment by keeping it safely off of the beaten path.




21 Comments

  1. Well done Emily!! Your photos are the shiznit!!

  2. Very interesting. Amazing photos! Very well writen. Great job Emily!

  3. Great photos Emily! The closet filled with clothing is so disturbing.

  4. What an amazing find. Very cool.

  5. Very cool. Can’t wait to see your upcoming Dertroit photos!!

  6. I was just up there yesterday taking a few pictures. Looks a bit different just shy of three years after this post. I didn’t venture inside though.

    • I tried to find it on google maps. i remember it quite well. there were tons of places like this on “this road” in the 80s that were in similar states of decay and that always made trips to Florida as a kid quite magical for me. Anyone remember Hornes?

  7. This reminds me of the old Clermont Motor Lodge in Clermont, Fl. (now demolished. It had tons of old 60’s and 70’s furniture and the bathrooms still had the multi-colored ceramic tiles from when it was originally built in 1958. Here’s a video I took of it in Dec. 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvqZxUnJyK8

  8. I lived in this hotel as a child. My grandmother was the manager in the late 1980s. The fire happened while we were there and hotel closed soon after.

  9. My grandma was born in Glen St. Mary & have kin all through the region, going back to Spanish, FL ….So far. When she was 16 approx. 1913 she played an organ at a movie house, wonder if this was the one? Direct Surnames: Davis, Altman, Crews, Harvey, Yelvington

  10. I want buy this building. Who is the seller?

  11. PLEASE DON”T BUY IT. Leave it alone

  12. How easy is this place to get into? Thinking of taking some pictures for a photography project before someone buys…

  13. I was going to go too :) DONT LET ANYONE BUY IT LEAVE IT ALONE
    VICTOR I WILL BUY IT JUST SO YOU CAN”T TOUCH IT -_- AND I WILL LET EVERYONE EXPLORE IT

  14. Is this place still open? I want to shoot in here within the next month

  15. I live in Yulee and can’t wait to find it :)