Venus McNeill Pendergast and her husband Henry “Penny” moved to Ludlow from Escondido in 1939. Venus had lived in Ludlow previously with her family because her father, Thomas McNeill worked as Roadmaster for the Santa Fe Railroad. She attended beauty school in Escondido but suffered from hay fever and soon after they were married she persuaded Penny to move back to the desert.
When they arrived in Ludlow they initially stayed with their friends, Jack and Vernie Sherraden. Vernie was the Ludlow Postmaster. The Sherradens suggested that they buy an old run-down hotel that was for sale at that time. The hotel was originally the Mohawk Hotel in Goldfield, Nevada. In 1921 the building and the adjacent cabins had been moved to Main Street in Ludlow and operated as the Oasis Hotel. The Pendergasts bought it and moved it about two blocks north, facing old Route 66 and operated it as the Ludlow Motel.
The motel consisted of a main building with 6 or 8 separate small cabins all facing old Route 66 on the east end of Ludlow. Venus and Penny lived in a small wood frame house across the street. Penny was elected Constable of that portion of San Bernardino County and so he had his law enforcement duties as well as the hotel business. Venus served as Penny’s deputy whenever a matron was needed for for women prisoners.
The hotel building is still there, but it badly dilapidated. One of the cabins is also still there as is the small wood frame house across the road where Venus and Penny lived.
When Penny died Venus moved back to Escondido to be near her son Jackson and she died in 1989. Venus and Penny are buried together in Barstow, California.