What Would You Do If You Won a $49 Million Lottery?

Bryon Woods and his wife Barbara used their 2003 Texas Lottery winnings to rebuild a classic 1940-1950’s roadside structure, a Tee Pee Motel. Here’s the story…

AP: Tee Pee Motel restoration in Texas

As in the Tee Pee Motel, a throwback to the 1940s and ’50s, when taking a drive was still in style and roadside businesses used gimmicky architecture — like a gas station that looked like an oil derrick — to lure customers. The Tee Pee Motel is one of just a handful of tepee-themed lodges left in the country.

For years, however, Wharton’s Tee Pee Motel was little more than eleven gutted shells engulfed by a tangle of overgrown weeds and a broken sign that once beckoned guests with neon lights and an image of an American Indian chief.

After waffling for a few months, Bryon Woods gave in. He bought the 10-acre property for $60,000 — and spent the next two years and $1.6 million sweeping away the cobwebs and debris, remodeling, painting and fixing the neon sign.

"This wasn’t about making money. It’s having something no one else has," said Woods, 42, whose grandmother was Comanche. "This is a piece of Texas history."

They reopened the motel in 2006 and have attracted guests mainly by word of mouth and the Internet. It just goes to show you what you can do with financial freedom no matter how you achieve it, through luck or through work. Restoring a historical structure like that motel is the kind of thing that’s both a good personal investment as well as an investment in the local community.

One investment that the Woods’ should make is in a good, professional, web site. Their MySpace page promoting the motel is really a mess, even by MySpace standards and their own domain isn’t much better.

What would you spend your money on if you won or earned that kind of money? Leave me a comment and let me know.


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Comment by Luxury Destinations
2008-06-27 20:53:29

Well luxury travel obviously seeing you asked LOL! Though I think it is really cool that they did the renovation: they need to pay for a website renovation too! My big ticket item has been the same as when I was 5 years old: I would go to space :not just near space - but to the space station: there is an Ozzie millionaire doing it now: has to train with the Russians for years but he’s going!

2008-07-20 04:45:14

I’ve always wanted to have enough money to set my brother up in a photography business. He’s a great amateur photographer who definitely would do well with his own studio, but is very nervous about starting a business (he had an unrelated business some years ago and it failed, leaving him quite badly off financially).

I’d love to have the cash to set him up, and provide a float for the year or two it would take to see a regular flow of cash coming in.

Oh well, one can dream!

Comment by Cect 168 Phones
2008-07-20 05:25:42

My goodness, that is one ugly Web site, you’re right.

Funny, because judging by the pictures of the motel they obviously have at least some sense of aesthetics.

As for what I’d do with that kind of money … I’d like the freedom to work on things that interest me and that I care about, and to ignore the things I don’t.

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