The old Mount Aire Motel — Harlan County, Kentucky

Image of Mount Aire Motel postcard
Image of Mount Aire Motel postcard

Anyone who has been on US 421 across Pine Mountain in Harlan County, Kentucky has noticed the ruins of what was once a stylish 1950s or 60s era motel near the peak.   During the summer months the remains of the building are almost over taken by weeds and kudzu vines.


The back of this postcard reads:

Mount-Aire Motel, U.S. 421, 6 miles north of Harlan at Harlan Entrance to ‘Little Shepherd Trail’. Box 979, Telephone 606/573/3310. Heated pool, carpeting throughout, dining room, banquet room, 24 hour telephone service, completely air conditioned, color TV, shower and tub baths, twin rooms with balcony. Elevation 2800 feet. Buffet every Sunday serving regional foods. Harlan, Kentucky 40831.

Sounds like it was a pretty snazzy place back in the day and the premiere lodging choice in the area.


Flash forward to 2015.  Only a shell of the building remains.


The metal frame of the stairs to the second floor remains….but they lead to no where.

MountAire13The staircase to no where.


This appears to have been a common area, such as the main lobby.


This was a very large and spacious hotel.

MountAire5Another shot from what appears to have been the lobby / Common area.


The earth is close to retaking what was hers in this area of the hotel.


This was apparently balconies that overlooked the ledge of the mountain which this hotel is built on.  At 2800 feet I am sure it offered some amazing views.


Back inside you can see a lot of graffiti that has been left over the years.


I do believe those restrooms would be out of order.


For some reason I think this was possibly part of a kitchen area in the hotel.


Good advice I suppose.


Looking from the kitchen area to what appeared to have been a dining area.


back down the front corridor this was the hallway and outside access points to the rooms on the first floor.


Apparently the bathrooms had tile floors.


Another shot from inside the remains of one of the rooms.

MountAire17another shot of the front lobby / common area



I cant really ever remember this hotel being in operation at this location.  It was apparently damaged by fire and forced to relocate.  Mount Aire Motel is still in operation in Harlan, Kentucky as they have moved inside the city limits.

**UPDATE**  November 16, 2015:   I was in this area weekend before last and the site of this hotel has now been leveled and the remains are now all gone.  All thats left is a pile of freshly spread dirt.



2 thoughts on “The old Mount Aire Motel — Harlan County, Kentucky”

  1. I really enjoyed your pictures. I also like to find, explore and photograph old buildings, although I usually go for abandoned houses. Just be careful out there. You never know what you may find inside, from unsafe structures to unexpected guests (anamal and human).

  2. My Great Uncle Ben Lewallen built the Mount Aire. It was a beautiful Motel when I was a child in the late 50’s. We would go there for Sunday dinner/ brunch. The atmosphere and the views were amazing. I remember being scared to death to venture out onto the porch outside the large dining area to look at the mountains! The Mount Aire was ahead of its time.

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