Apr 132016
 

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A green glow that lit up the corner of Central and Garrison for decades in the middle of the 20th century has been restored in the 21st century with the lighting of the neon Saturday at the Boots Court.
In another step in the restoration of a Route 66 icon, Pricilla Bledsaw and Debye Harvey, the owners of the Boots Court, flipped a switch on Friday, turning on yards of green neon tubing along the edges of the classic building.
Bledsaw said the sisters have been working since they bought the hotel in August 2011 to restore the motel to its 1940s configuration, and while Route 66 aficionados have heard about restoration, adding the neon give people more reason than ever to come and see it for themselves.
“We were so excited we were finally going to get the neon on the building because that’s something people will see,” Bledsaw said. “Right now people come because they’ve heard about the Boots, but with the neon on, it just makes it look so much more open. It makes it look like what it is, it’s a Route 66 icon.”

About 75 people attended a two-hour open house at the Boots on Saturday.
Tables were set up with information about the Route 66 Association of Missouri, the upcoming Jefferson Highway Association of Missouri convention and books about the “Mother Road.”
The Carthage Middle School Tiger Choir, dressed in poodle skirts and dark jeans and t-shirts form the 1950s sang a variety of songs to entertain the crowd and several classic cars were on display.

The motel was filled for the night, marking the first time the restored Vacancy/No Vacancy neon sign was used.
As the sun went down and rain drops started to fall shortly after 8 p.m., dignitaries spoke and it came time for the countdown.
Holding up green LED pens, the crowd counted down from 10, then Debbie Dee, the manager of the Boots, turned on the switch inside the building, bringing to life the yards of neon tubing.
David Hutson, with Neon Time in St. Charles, manufactured the neon tubing to exacting standards replicating the green neon that was on the building based on photos and pieces of the original lights that Bledsaw and Harvey had removed and stored.
Route 66 changed when the sun went down,” Hutson said. Route 66 really came alive to try and attract people into the space. So you have this whole thing flooded with light when it gets dark. I think these kinds of places were so inviting for travelers.”

Bledsaw and Harvey said they applied for a grant from the National Park Service that paid for half the cost of the restoration.
Jim Thole, chairman of the Neon Heritage Preservation Committee for the Route 66 Association of Missouri, said restoring the neon is a big step toward restoring the Boots and giving Carthage place that will draw tourists from around the world.

“It’s just a real prize possession of Carthage in terms of tourism. Route 66 tourism,” Thole said. “People are going to go out of their way to see this. And if you’re here at this time of night to see this, what are you going to do? You’re going to stay here, you’re going to eat here, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
“Signs and architecture like this have taken on a new life in the sense that they are now symbols of local pride. They’re local landmarks, symbols of pride for the community, the community can be proud to have this back.”

By John Hacker – Carthage Press

Mar 052013
 










My note: I talked with them today and they are short funds to get the roofing contractor 100% paid. I told them I would help try to raise ANY amount of donations to get the contractor to stay on the property a little bit longer and get the roof and roof like BACK to the way it was when the Boots was first built. ANY dollar amount helps – but please send something to them, or if you are in the area on the scheduled work weekend, SHOW UP AND HELP!!!

Also, as a bonus, I was told the ORIGINAL sign company who created the BOOTS COURT sign will be there in the next weekend or two to repaint the sign to the correct original colors and lettering AND put all new neon, wiring and transformers in (ALL BEING DONATED by the sign company!!) to make the sign look like it did back in the 1940’s. This motel was saved and we have a chance to help it prosper and to be a viable part of Route 66 for generations to come – so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP!!


The National Park Service, Route 66 Corridor Grant Program has awarded the Boots Motel owners a matching grant to remove the 1978 roof addition and restore the structure to it’s original appearance. The “Raze the Roof” fundraising effort is now underway and we are seeking contributions to help fund our half of the Grant. Please send your contribution to:

Boots Motel Roof Fund, c/o Southwest Missouri Bank,
P.O. Box 814
Carthage, MO. 64836-0814

Contributions may be through the PayPal system using the Route 66 Chamber’s account: visit66@yahoo.com as the Boots owners are not set-up for PayPal.

Please select “PERSONAL” and “OTHER” for your settings so we are not charged a transaction fee, and remark that this is for the “Boots Roof Fund”.

The owners can offer a free night at the Boots (depending on availability) for any donations of $250 to $500 and a free night plus your name on a plaque to be permanently installed in the front office for donations above $500.

Two sisters stepped-up about two years ago to save this venerable 1939 motel that was the first in Carthage, and was at great risk of demolition. Recently restored are five rooms in the 1946 addition and the motel re-opened to travelers last May and is already highly-rated by TripAdvisor.com.

The shingled pitch-roof was added in 1978 and needs to be removed to qualify the motel for placement on the National Register of Historic Places, and obtain additional preservation grants. Last year, the National Park Service / Route 66 Corridor Grant Program awarded the owners a matching grant of $12,000 to help remove the newer roof and restore the original flat roof. A local roofing company submitted a bid as required on the grant application, however the motel’s owners do not have the funds to have the pitch roof removed.

The volunteer event titled the “Raze the Roof” project is scheduled for March 23rd – 24th, with a rain date of March 30th – 31st. Volunteers will be removing the roof sheathing on the two motel buildings so the contractor can immediately repair the flat roofs. If this project is not completed soon thereafter, the grant may be rescinded, which is not a good thing.

The Route 66 Chamber recognizes the critical need to preserve this famous icon for all who travel the Mother Road and for the benefit to the economy of the City of Carthage, so they are seeking a total of eight experienced volunteer roofers to remove the shingles only, so they will need shingle-removal shovels. Other volunteers will do the clean-up and take the removed shingles to the dumpster. This will need to happen on Saturday so the other volunteers can remove the sheathing and trusses by Sunday afternoon.

In exchange for their contribution towards this restoration-preservation project, shingle-removal workers will receive a free two-night stay at a time of their choosing.

The Route 66 Chamber will also make the volunteers (and/or their employers) members of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce and they will receive a Chamber certificate and a Certificate of Appreciation from The Boots Motel (volunteers will be listed on the websites “Volunteer Page“) and on several Facebook pages. Breakfast, lunch and refreshments will be provided at no charge.

This will be a well publicized event, and we expect news media coverage and publicity for the volunteers. Roof workers may wear their employer’s T-shirts, bring a sign or banner and a company truck if so desired.

If your can help with this event it would be greatly appreciated. Additional information about the Boots Motel is available at www.bootsmotel.com and on the “Save the Boots Motel” Facebook page. The Chamber’s website is www.visit66.com .

You can help us preserve an important part of Route 66 history. Anyone who wants to volunteer for this project should call the Boots at 417-310-2989 or email them at bootsmotel@hotmail.com

I am struggling to find a way to get out there to help – but timing is not on my side so I will (at the very least) send them a donation to help as I am thankful for what these folks have done to save this important, historic Route 66 landmark!!