The lights came on March 15, 1951 at Popp’s Motel Apts., home of Alex and Bertha Popp in Key Largo, Florida. The aerial photo of a 2 acre property with a sandy cove and coconut palms on the Florida Bay was a dream becoming reality. A mother in law cottage, main house with laundry and garage, and motel office became their family home. Four ground level buildings became motel suites and studios; each with a complete kitchen and private bath. Bertha became the first innkeeper known for her sponge cake and apple pie. Alex built a boat ramp, dock, and protective seawall for a private beach area and fished every day for snapper, trout, shrimp, and lobster.
Linda Popp, their daughter, moved to the motel home, Popp’s Motel - Bayside with her 4 month old son, Luke, to become the third and fourth generation owners. Linda changed her career of English professor to motel proprietress. She helped organize the Creative Playschool Co-op for pre-kindergarten children in 1987 at the local church, taught part- time at the community college, and joined the group of Latitude 25 Writers. She is active at the motel and is caretaker for Lou, who is now 90 years old.
Luke grew up at the motel, went to culinary university, and returned to operate the motel in 2001. His hobbies are setting up and maintaining aquariums, remodeling the motel cottages, and computer gaming. While playing Phantasy Star Universe online in December 2010, he met Michelle Russell from Scotland. After two years of gaming & skyping, Michelle and her son, Reese, joined the motel family. Drawing, sewing, painting, and crafting are her hobbies. In August 2013, their daughter Morgan Veronica was born, a saltwater conch, who became the fifth generation of the Popp family. Although Popp’s Motel spans five generations, it maintains the original footprint of Alex and Bertha’s dream home.
Joe Popp, their only son, was a navigator with the Air Force during WW 2. He married Lucene Gordon in 1945. They operated a hardware & paint store on CalleOcho or SW 8th St.in Miami. They moved to the motel in 1972, as their two children were in
college. Lucene, or “Lou” was one of the founders of Monroe County’s Fine Arts Council which created the first directory of artists. She painted mostly watercolors of local scenes. They operated the motel for 13 years until Joe passed away in 1985, and Lou moved back to the Miami home…