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The official Wildwoods-by-the-sea handbook of design guidelines

Guidelines for preservation, restoration, renovation and new construction in the Wildwoods. Published by the Doo Wop Preservation League. Click here to download.

The Ten Commandments for Creating a Great Doo-Wop Inspired Motel

(Based on studies conduncted by the University
of Pennsylvania, Yale University and Kent State University)


Take a simple 2-3 story bar or L-shaped motel building and add the following: 

1. A great name that evokes the 1950's i.e., "The Rock-N-Roll Motel", a distant exotic vacation spot, "The Caribbean Motel", or space, "The Astro Motel", etc. 


2. Create a wild and crazy high reader sign with shapes and typefaces that evoke the name, i.e., stars, planets, kidney shapes, and lots and lots of neon. 


3. Create a motel office, lounge, etc. in the shape of some wonderful wacky image, i.e., a spaceship, a beach ball, a sailboat, etc. with lots of color, glass and a decorative paint job. 


4. Create a pool area with kidney shaped pool surrounded by bright green Astroturf, and wild and crazy beach umbrellas and landscape with plastic palm trees. 


5. Create a colorful and distinctive profile for the balcony railings -- S-curves, C-Curves, the more curvy the better. 


6. Create an exterior color scheme made up of 1950's colors, i.e., pinks, baby blue, turquoise, sea greens... for rails, doors, trim and the drapes in the picture windows. 


7. Create an interior color scheme using a similar but more subtle palette and add "Jetson" decorations and furnishings from the 1950's. 


8. Create a wild and crazy neon roof sign in the style and typeface of the motel name and high reader sign. 


9. Create a decorative night lighting scheme, i.e., linear neon fascia or eave lights, floodlighting, and thematic, decorative fixtures in the pool and parking areas. 


10. And last but not least... put this all together in an idiosyncratic, original and crazy way that clashes, jumps and jives...!

The Classic
Doo Wop Styles


glass walls bring to mind the jet-age airports of the period, with names like Satellite and Fantasy...



Movement in architecture is expressed through forward thrusting, pointed building parts, at the Ebb Tide and the Rio...


Pu-Pu Platter

otherwise known as "Tiki" architecture, has samplings of thatched roofs, plastic palms, bean-pole torches and Kon-Tiki heads at the Waikiki, Kona Kai, Ala Moana and others, recalling a “South Pacific” technicolor moment...


Chinatown Revival

brings exotic destinations to the Jersey Shore... no need to take an expensive jetliner to get that “The King and I” feeling at the Singapore Motel with its pagoda roof...


Phony Colonee

The patriotic style of Cold War culture at the Saratoga Motel and the Sand Castle Restaurant...


Just Plain Wacky

Other trademark Doo Wop architectural elements include boomerang rooflines, jutting facades, and zig-zagging balconies and railings...

Self-Guided Architectural Tours 

Hop on your bike or jump in your car and experience the architecture of America's hippest resort... Wildwood by the Sea!

Get Doo Wopped!
Ready to hop on the Doo Wop bandwagon? The following professionals specialize in bringing "Doo Wop" design to your Wildwood resort property or business in the form of architectural consulting, sign design & manufacture, interior furnishings and even websites! 

Stokes Architecture 
Richard Stokes, AIA
2103 Sansom Street Philadelphia, PA 19103 
Phone: 215.523.9190 
Fax: 215.523.9398 
Designer of the new Starlux Motel and other Doo Wop related projects in Wildwood.

Sign Manufacturers 
A.B.S. Signs
3008 Park Blvd
Wildwood, NJ 08260
Phone: 609-522-6833
Custom commercial neon signs, traditional signs and more.

Web Design/Graphics

Wild Island Graphics

Wildwood, NJ


Note: Builders, architects, developers, planners, students and others with a specific interest or active role in Wildwood planning & development may be entitled to a free copy. Please contact the DWPL for details at or call 609-523-1958.


Friedman, Alice T. "The Luxury of Lapidus." Harvard Design Magazine, Summer 2000. 

Gillies, Mary Davis McCall's Book of Modern Houses by the Architectural Editor of McCall's. Simon and Schuster New York, 1951. 

Harris, Cyril M. Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1975. 

Jordan, R. Furneaux. A Consise History of Western Architecture. London: Thames and Hudson LTD., 1979. 

Lang, J. Christopher and Stout, Kate. Building with Nantucket in Mind; Guildelines for Protecting the Historic Architecture and Landscape of Nantucket Island. Nantucket Historic District Commission, Nantucket, Massuchusetts, 1995 

Lapidus, Morris. Too Much is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli Books, 1996. 

Lenaz, Mueller & Associates. Borough of Wildwood Crest, Cape May County, New Jersey;Land Development Ordinance, Wildwood Crest, NJ, adopted 1992. 

Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts. The Wildwoods and the Doo Wop Era. New Jersey Historic Preservation Plan. NJ Historic Preservation Office. 2002-2007. 

Planning Department. Miami Beach Design Guidelines. Amended June, 2000. 

Reut, Jennifer C. Motels, Modernism, and the American Summer Vacation in Wildwood, New Jersey. A Thesis Presented to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Architectural History of the School of Architecture in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Master of Architectural History. School of Architecture, University of Virginia. May 2004. 

Zerbe, Nancy L. National Register nominations for the Wildwood Crest/Wildwood Historic Districts and Motels of the Wildwoods multiple property documentation form 

Nozzi, Dom "Neighborhoods Don't Like the Snout House", June 2002

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