From Dave Brigham:
I really, really want this to be an old motel. Over the years of riding the train, walking and driving by Whittier Place Boston, I imagined that this building -- a fitness center at the condo development that is actually owned by nearby Massachusetts General Hospital -- once hosted secret trysts, hard-drinking door-to-door salesmen, con men on the lam and just regular old people visiting Boston. But this doesn't seem to be true.
I did all sorts of Google searches and reviewed old photos online of this area, which was Boston's West End until the late 1950s, when urban renewal wiped this old-school neighborhood (it once looked like the nearby North End) off the map. Nothing in that research told me that there was ever a motel here. I guess that when Whittier Place was constructed, the developers put up a pool and accompanying building with dozens of cabanas specifically designed to fool little old me.
Perhaps the architect designed it to look like a motel because in 1970, when the complex was erected, motels were still at least somewhat in vogue, and perhaps he or she thought this design would offer low-to-the-ground familiarity to offset the tall residential buildings going up all around it. I'm just grasping at straws. Straws that rich people use to stir their fancy smoothies from Jugos that are offered at the club.
To read more about actual motels, see:
July 26, 2015, "Cavalier Attitude About Motels"
April 25, 2015, "From Motel to Mall"
August 5, 2010, "Dark Side of the Motel"