‘On the Second day of Christmas, Route 66 gave to me…’

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Dec 122011

The new owners’ of the Blue Swallow Motel…

This has to be one of the ‘most fun’ stories of the year! I was fortunate to meet Kevin and Nancy TWO DAYS before they were to officially take over ownership of the Historic Blue Swallow motel.

Imagine packing up everything you own and filling (what you can – or what is really important to you, and add two large dogs!) – into a SUV with a trailer hitched on the back, pull out of your driveway in Michigan, head south to Tucumcari with numerous stops on the route to visit folks and take notes, and you have Kevin and Nancy!

We were on our last day of doing preservation work at the Phillips 66 gas station in Tucumcari when we were heading back to Motel Safari for the night. I noticed the neon was lit for the Blue Swallow – and like ANYONE with a camera – we ran across the street to take some pictures. The (good old) former owner Bill came running out, and we thought he was in the process of shooing us of his property! Low and behold, he asked my wife if we wanted to meet the ‘new owners’, and of course we said yes!

Even though they were on the ‘down low’ from officially owning the motel – they were more than happy to swap stories, tell of their several trips on the route, what made them decide to buy the motel, and most importantly, what they were going to DO to it! This was a big ‘hush hush’ at the time, but Kevin has more than generously uploaded so many pictures of not only the visitors who stop in, but the progress he is making, as he told me, ‘to bring it back how it used to be in the 40’s and 50’s’.

The thing I love about Tucumcari is: They take care of their own. Instead of being seen as the competition (and being THE iconic motel in Tucumcari) – several other motels have formed a ‘triangle’ of sorts – helping each other out, talking about ideas, planning events, and working together to give ALL travelers a reason to come back again and again. I can say with all the work which is happening in Tucumcari – it is now a ‘DESTINATION STOP’, versus a ‘visit or a quick pic’ type of place.

I keep posting on the Blue Swallow Facebook page that Kevin makes it look like owning a historic motel – well, FUN!

I am stuck between a rock and a hard place ’cause everytime we go to Tucumcari, we stay at the Motel Safari. Rich and Gail have been better to us than family! And we are greatful for that. NOW, I do know you CANNOT lose staying at either place. And thankfully they are right across the street from each other – so if one is booked up for the night, the other is literally a ‘stones throw’ away!

If you have not visited the Blue Swallow website (how dare you!) click HERE, or visit them on their Facebook page by clicking HERE.

‘On the First day of Christmas, Route 66 gave to me…’

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Dec 122011

The ‘saving’ of the Boots Motel…

This HAS to be one of the most important stories of the year. This is an iconic motel – which was on the auction block – and was saved by two sisters on a mission. The following is the original story:

In 2006, two sisters, Deborah Harvey from Decatur, Ga. and Pricilla Bledsaw from Decatur, Ill. Took a vehicle tour of Route 66 in 2006 and decided it would be neat one day to own an old motel on the Mother Road.

Well that someday is today and that motel is the historic Boots Motel in Carthage.

Harvey and Bledsaw made the announcement in an email released by Carthage Realtor Jim Hunter, who had been marketing the property for the Hometown Bank since that bank foreclosed on it in June.

“After cruising Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2006, they began talking about buying a motel on Route 66 to operate when they retire,” the release said. Although not ready to retire yet, Pricilla and Deborah felt that the Boots Motel was too good an opportunity to miss. They plan to restore the Boots Court buildings to their late 1940s appearance.

Bledsaw has retail experience and formerly owned a jewelry store in Decatur, Ill., where she lives.

Harvey lives in Decatur, Ga., and is the sole proprietor of a consulting firm offering expertise in historic preservation and historic research.

Hunter said Harvey has prepared a feasibility study for herself and her sister to determine whether the Boots can be profitable and viable as a historic motel.

“I feel fortunate to have found two ladies who recognize the opportunity that exists in the purchase and restoration of the Boot’s Motel,” Hunter said.

The pending sale should transact this month. The property was marketed locally and nationally via the many Websites that promote Route 66.

“The buyer’s plans to turn Boot’s Motel into a viable tourist attraction/motel will help the city of Carthage in attracting the many tourists that travel Route 66 and seek out these historic structures. It will become a great addition to the area in terms of economic development. I applaud them in being willing to put the capital up to improve our community.”

Lonnie Heckmaster, president of Hometown Bank, said the new owners have good ideas that will be good for Carthage.

“I’m just glad to see it go to individuals that will keep it as the Boots Motel,” Heckmaster said. “We wanted it to continue to draw folks to Carthage and I’m sure glad to see someone come in to further that cause.”

You can visit them at their website by clicking HERE or visting them on Facebook by clicking HERE. They are looking for donations and again, I applaud these two for taking on such a monumental task!

‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ – Route 66 Style – 2.0!

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Dec 072011

Well, it’s that time of year again!

I am counting down the ’12 Days of Christmas’ – Route 66 Style for the second year now – and I need your help!

I have about 5 or 6 ideas of content I have slated for my ideas, but if you know some one, some thing, or some event which you would like to get listed (heck, even yourself!) – I might take it into consideration!

I ask if you were listed last year – leave a little space for some ‘newbies’ who would like a little ‘blurb’ – and the rest, as we say, is history!

There has been so much good (and bad) going on with the route this past year I know we will have more than enough.

I am asking all ideas be sent to me by Sunday, December 11th! at my email – info@route66world.com

I really do look forward to these lists – and at the same time – I can’t believe a year has flown by already!

Ed Klein
Route 66 World