If you’ve been a regular reader, you probably remember our articles in 2011 about saving The Boots Motel in Carthage Missouri.
In 2011 the bank put the property on the market, and it was snapped up by the current owners, sisters, Debye Harvey and Priscilla Bledsaw. Fans of old Route 66, they had been talking about purchasing a motel and running it as part of their retirement plan.
On the exterior, in 2012-2013, they raised money to removed the inappropriate gable roofs, installed in the 1970s. These were removed and the flat roofs reinstated using a matching grant from the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. With the gable roofs gone, Boots Court was now eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Arthur Boots built the motel in 1938, thinking that his location would be the ideal spot for a successful business venture, because it was where U.S. 71, running north and south, and U.S. 66, running east and west, converged and ran together for a few miles. Boots called it “The Crossroads of America. “ He opened Boots Court for business in 1939.
First, he built a gas station, the 18’x11’ office at the front of the front building. He put in two gas pumps, just in case his motor court plans did not work out. He called his gas station the Red Horse. Then, he built the first four rooms just behind the gas station.
Arthur Boots, designed the building himself in a simplified, vernacular version of the Streamlined Moderne style, with bullnose, or rounded, corners, smooth stucco cladding with black glass accents, and a flat roof with a parapet on three sides.
He erected a red and white neon sign that said “Boots Court” to attract more attention. Other signs promised air conditioning, a radio in every room, and a public telephone. His advertising boasted the latest in other modern amenities as well, such as ceramic tile bathrooms and individual, thermostatically-controlled floor furnaces to provide heat! Arthur Boots didn’t put up with riff-raff in his motel, either. He charged the exorbitant rate of $2.50 a night to make sure his clientele was of the better sort.
The neon sign has been restored to its original colors and wording thanks to a generous donation from a fan of Route 66 and Boots Court. The front sign pole again sports a big, round sign advertising “A Radio in Every Room,” as it did in the 1940s.
There is a lot more history about the motel on the website, be sure to go check it out here.
The exterior still needs work. Along with other repairs, the loose and broken black glass decoration on the exterior will be repaired and replaced. They also plan to have the green and red neon on the buildings restored.
Currently, six of the thirteen rooms at the Boots have been restored. All rooms have hardwood floors, ceramic tile in bathrooms and showers, built-in vanities, and air conditioning as well as the historic, thermostatically-controlled floor furnaces! Carthage did not have television available until 1953, so Boots does not offer it, but there is a radio in every room as was advertised in the 1940s. Free Internet is available because it is invisible in the 1940s-style rooms.
More photos of the rooms:
Reservations are recommended but not required. For reservations, please call 417-310-2989 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boots Court Motel….“At the Crossroads of America”
107 S. Garrison Avenue
Carthage, Missouri, 64836
A single room with a double bed is $66. a night, taxes included.
A room with two double beds is $71. a night, taxes included
For authenticity, TV is not offered but we do have a “Radio in every room!”.
Free WI-FI . An extra roll-away bed or futon, ice, extra towels etc. are available on request.
And be sure to say hi to “Clark Gable”, the mascot cat who demurely sits outside the rooms as visitors come and go, named after the movie star who liked to stay at the Boots Court virtually undetected because he and other stars could park their cars out of public view, lessening the chance they would be spotted by fans.