As It Happens

For sale: Clown-themed motel next to cemetery in Nevada

Bob Perchetti, owner of The Clown Motel, says he'll miss his passion project once he finds a buyer and he'll continue to visit once it's sold.
Owner Bob Perchetti says there are over 600 clown items at The Clown Motel. (Sydney Martinez/Travel Nevada)

Story transcript

For around $1.1 million, a clown-themed motel in Nevada could be yours.

After taking it over 22 years ago, Bob Perchetti — owner of The Clown Motel in the small town of Tonopah — has decided it's time to sell.  

Bob Perchetti, middle, with two of his grandsons at The Clown Motel. Perchetti says he's going to be spending time with family. (Toni R. Wombaker)

"It's like any other motel, except for the fact that it has been called the scariest motel in the United States," Perchetti tells As It Happens guest host Helen Mann.  

"They're just nice rooms with two queen beds. We have clown pictures on the walls, we have wireless internet, we have dish TV, we have coffee in the morning and we have happy clowns."

The Clown Motel is located between Reno and Las Vegas in the town of Tonopah. (Sydney Martinez/Travel Nevada)

Over the years, Perchetti has collected more than 600 clown items from all over the world.

"People send us clowns and they bring us clowns," he said.

"I've gone to yard sales and to senior citizens, thrift shops. It has been an experience through all these years of buying all the clowns and increasing the inventory. But they're all unique and different."

Bob Perchetti, owner of The Clown Motel, says he has collected clown items from all over the world. (Sydney Martinez/Travel Nevada)

Generally, the people who come to stay at the motel are clown lovers. But that's not always the case.

"I've had people come in to get a room and register and, all of the sudden, they kind of scream and get anxiety and say, 'Oh my God, I can't stay in here,'" Perchetti said.

"I have to carry the registration cards outside for them to sign them out there. Then I have to go into the motel rooms and cover up the pictures with towels or take the pictures off the wall so they can spend the night there."  

It's not just the clown paraphernalia that might spook the guests. There's also an historic cemetery next to the motel, where miners were buried in the early 1900s, Perchetti said.

Some of the many clown items at Bob Perchetti's motel in Nevada. (Sydney Martinez/Travel Nevada)

Since the news got out that the motel is for sale, he says he has heard from more than half-a-dozen people who are interested in the property. 

"If someone takes over the clown motel, it's going to stay the clown motel. I'm never going to let them change that. I would like to see them actually improve it and make it more of an attraction."

The cemetery next to The Clown Motel. (Sydney Martinez/Travel Nevada)

It likely won't be easy for Perchetti to say goodbye to the place.

I will miss them. There's no doubt about that. I will positively miss the clowns.- Bob  Perchetti

"I'll probably stop in there everyday, just like I have for the last 22 years, and just say hello to my clowns," he said.  

"I will miss them. There's no doubt about that. I will positively miss the clowns."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?