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

 Daily  Comments Off on ‘On the First day of Christmas, Route 66 gave to me…’
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!

Boots builder’s son returns to old motel

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Boots builder’s son returns to old motel
Sep 272011

I will say this: ‘Good things DO happen to good people who try to do a good thing for other good people!’

CARTHAGE, Mo. — When Deborah Harvey, the new owner of the Boots Motel, got a phone call on Sept. 13 she was on her way to Columbia, Mo., for a meeting, but she turned around immediately when she saw who was calling. It was, Bob Boots, the son of Boots Motel founder and builder Arthur Boots and the one person still around who might remember the most about what Harvey’s new project looked like when it was opened in 1939. This is the first of two stories about his visit.

Bob Boots, 85, Tulsa, returned last Tuesday to the motel his father built when Bob was a student at Hawthorn Elementary School and stepped inside for the first time in years.

“It was kind of like a door opened to some old memories,” Bob Boots said as he stood in the old front office. “This whole corner brings back memories. The courthouse is the most obvious landmark, the Boots Drive In, I spent years there, but this is special. I was a teenager here, oh, I must have been 14 whenever we first moved over here and dad started building it.”

And it was those memories that Harvey and her sister, Pricilla Bledsaw, hope to tap as they make plans to renovate the iconic motel.

“What we plan to do is restore this to a 1940s appearance and that’s what I need you for, I need someone who was actually here in the 1940s and old enough to remember,” Harvey told Bob Boots during the visit. “I really wanted to talk to you in depth about the construction of the building.”

Boots said he hadn’t spent any time in the motel since his father sold it in 1942. He left for service in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1945 and returned in 1946 when Arthur Boots was building the Boots Drive In, a restaurant across Garrison Street that now serves as the Great Plains Credit Union.

“I’ve been up here a couple of times and I’ve driven by a few times but I haven’t stopped in,” Bob Boots said. “This is part of my life and it always will be, but it’s something in the past. It’s kind of like the door in time. There are old, vivid memories here. I sat here and smooched up my girlfriend and watch the traffic go by. That’s part of the teenage routine.”

Bob Boots said he remembers that his father came to Carthage searching for the ideal place to build a motel. In Carthage he found what people had long called the “Crossroads of America,” where U.S. Highway 66 and U.S. Highway 71 crossed.

At that time, Route 66 was a major highway link from Chicago to LA and Route 71 was a major highway from the Canadian border to New Orleans.

“He knew what he wanted, and his brother had a Boots Court in Eldon, Mo., and it’s now called the Randall’s Court,” Bob Boots said. “It’s been there for 70 years or so. His brother had a motel and dad decided he wanted one too. We lived over in Independence, Kan., where he and a partner had a John Deere franchise. They sold out and he started looking over the map. He wanted a place where two highways met and came together. He came to the Crossroads of America. We lived in this house that we bought next door. Dad had all of his money tied up here and he wanted to stay close to it.”

Copyright 2011 Carthage Press.

Carthage group organizing to preserve Route 66 motel

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Carthage group organizing to preserve Route 66 motel
Apr 302011

The Boots Motel is for sale, and a Carthage group is looking for a way to preserve the iconic building on Route 66.

A group met recently at the Carthage Chamber of Commerce to discuss whether there is interest in trying to ensure the building remains a Carthage landmark.

“It was pretty much unanimous that they want to see more preservation along Route 66 in Carthage. Since the Boots is for sale, it would be the first target,” said Wendi Douglas, executive director of the Carthage Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The initial meeting on Friday was organized by Lora Phelps, a vice president at UMB Bank.

“A lot of people feel the Boots should be preserved and that it could be utilized as a way to bring more people to Carthage,” she said. “We wanted to get a group together, and now we’re discussing ideas and exploring our options.”

By Susan Redden – Globe Staff Writer The Joplin Globe