UPDATE: The Clown Motel was sold in April, 2019. The new owner has kept the same theme.
It’s either the stuff of a collector’s dream or a coulrophobic‘s nightmare. Whichever type of person you may be or, more likely, you’re neither and just curious, the famous Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada is for sale for a surprisingly low price of just $900,000! Oh, and did you know there’s a cemetery right next door? Yeah, there really is.
Opened around 1985 by siblings Leona and LeRoy David, it was a clown-themed hotel from the very beginning, as the Davids had a collection of clowns that they immediately used to decorate the building. Bob Perchetti bought The Clown Motel from them in 1995 and the collection just grew from there, especially with gifts of clowns that people would send from all over the world. Clowns fill the entire lobby and pictures of clowns are hung over the beds of the rooms.
The Clown Motel really started taking off in the past few years, thanks to the internet, social media and television. Ghost Adventures did a segment on them in 2015, there are YouTube videos about the place, and word just got around more and more. Fans and collectors of clowns come to stay in a hotel chock full of clowns, people come to overcome their fear of clowns, people who like the weird and quirky (*cough* hand raised *cough*) will come to get their W&Q on, and apparently even troupes of clowns have come to, what else, be in their element. In fact, it’s even been rated The Scariest Motel in America by roadtrippers.com.
Tonopah is an old mining town that was the site of the second richest silver strike in Nevada history. It’s situated about halfway between Las Vegas and Reno and has about 1,200 residents. The Clown Hotel doesn’t have an official history of being haunted, but being next door to the Tonopah Cemetery certainly doesn’t hurt (the cemetery was used from 1901 to 1911 but they had to close it when the number of dead was more than the number of plots. There are about 300 people interred there, many of whom were victims of the mysterious “Tonopah Plague” of 1902 [they never figured out what caused it] and 14 miners who died during the Tonopah-Belmont fire of 1911), and the Ghost Adventures episode just added to the story.
Perchetti, a lifetime resident of Tonopah (4th generation, actually) is ready to retire and spend more time fishing and camping with his grandkids. But although he’s put The Clown Hotel up for sale, there is one condition. The new owners can make additions to the hotel, upgrade it, add a miniature golf course or whatever they want – but the clowns must stay. So if you want to visit in the future – or to make sure you never, ever go there – that might be important to know.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary