The Clown Motel in Tonopah, between Las Vegas and Reno, has probably caught the attention of many drivers.
Offering cheap rates and an endless supply of creepy, the Clown Motel is not a mirror image of lifestyles of the rich and famous. It actually interests more of a facility that appeals to the odd and quirky.
It’s all very odd, but by now, Bob Perchetti is used to it, and he should be; he owns Tonopah’s Clown Motel.
“This is a historic mining town,” Perchetti said. “What’s a Clown Motel doing in a historic mining town? That’s kind of strange.”
The lobby is lined with clowns of all shapes and sizes and faces.
“I’m kind of surrounded by them. I’m kind of like this guy here,” Perchetti said.
Some of the clowns at the Clown Motel dangle above most of the beds. In fact, visiting high school sports teams have been known to cover them with towels to avoid nightmares.
“I love clowns. I’ve never had a problem with clowns,” said Perchetti.
The motel sits next to Tonopah’s first cemetery, so that factor probably doesn’t help with the eerieness of the motel.
“As you know, it’s also called the scariest motel in the U.S.,” Perchetti said.
Perchetti opened the motel 20 years ago after he retired from his state tourism job. Along, with his late business partner, it was Perchetti’s idea to put a collection of family clowns just about everywhere.
“He had a house full of clowns, and he decided to bring the clowns up and put them to work,” Perchetti said.
And due to the help of the Internet, the Clown Motel has grown in popularity. Ghost seekers visit for the thrills, while clown lovers seek it out for the clowns.
The Clown Motel, may actually even be Tonopah’s top draw. However, for Perchetti, it’s work.
“It’s just like any job. It’s something you love, or you hate. I’ve always loved this job,” Perchetti said.
But changes are on the horizon, and after owning the place for 22 years, Perchetti’s putting it up for sale.”
“I’m going to go fishing. I want to go enjoy myself,” said Perchetti. “I’m going to do a little camping with the grandkids.”
A condition of any historic site sale is that the Clown Motel must keep its heritage. According to Perchetti, the new owners can upgrade it but don’t lose what the people love.
“It became a way of life with me,” Perchetti said. “It’s funny you get attached to something. I haven’t gone so far as to start talking to them.”
“Oh, I’m going to miss the clowns. I’m going to come back. I’m going to come back and visit my clowns,” Perchetti said.
Perchetti has lived in Tonopah his entire life, and he doesn’t have any plans to leave. He hopes to sell the motel for around $900,000.