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Memories Of The White Haven Motor Lodge


Overland Park, KS – The White Haven Motor Lodge, with its black and white building and landmark neon sign, was operated by the White family since it opened in 1957. Over the years, the rooms retained the trappings of that era, outfitted in classic 50s decor and opened with keys on brass rings.

It was a family business, and when the time came, it was taken over by the next generation of Whites. But the recession, family illness and death, as well as Overland Park redevelopment eventually made them think seriously about getting out of the motel business.

The Whites gave up their ownership of the motel in 2008, but the motel didn't close for good until a couple of weeks ago. KCUR's Susan B. Wilson recently caught up with former owner Esther White, daughter-in-law of the original founder, and her daughter, Sheila White-Berry.

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A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Susan admits that her “first love” was radio, being an avid listener since childhood. However, she spent much of her career in mental health, healthcare administration, and sports psychology (Susan holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Bloch School of Business at UMKC.) In the meantime, Wilson satisfied her journalistic cravings by doing public speaking, providing “expert” interviews for local television, and being a guest commentator/contributor to KPRS’s morning drive time show and the teen talk show “Generation Rap.”
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