The Historic Boots Motel, Carthage, MO

If you’ve been a regular reader, you probably remember our articles in 2011 about saving The Boots Motel in Carthage Missouri.

IMG_20141020_164120Save the Boots Motel

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.

Update on the Boots Motel – Saved

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.IMG_20141020_164109

A Preservation Project needs Help – restoring the Boots Motel Roof

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.IMG_20141020_163833

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.

Green and red neon will be replaced around the windows

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:

[slideshow_deploy id=’4092′]

Reservations are recommended but not required. For reservations, please call 417-310-2989 or email us at

Boots Court Motel….“At the Crossroads of America”
107 S. Garrison AvenueIMG_20141020_163537
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.

share this:


More articles:

Random Circles from Clayhaus ceramics

Remodeling? I found a few cool resources.

We haven’t been doing much remodeling lately, and I’ve been neglecting this catagory. However, I recently ran across these fabulous tiles from Clayhaus Ceramics. I wish I’d known abou them when we picked out bathroom tile for our remodel. I’m sure most of you know Pam, Retro Renovation – she’s a fanatstic resource for Mid-Century remodeling manufacturers. And our friends at Crestview doors just got a wonderful write up in Eichler Network.

Read More

Summer begins!

And so have the projects around the house! We’re starting to make lists! Some are as simple (and unspectacular) as putting carpet in the kids bedrooms, but the big news is the back yard. We’re going to finish it all up! Woo hoo! First, the patio, but we’ve decided to move our garden and put in a playhouse for the kids. Which leads me to playhouses….first, they’re all colonial. Second, they all are a bit

Read More

Early Postmodern Design and Quality

What is it about the ‘50s that we find so riveting, so very chic? There was a Utopian quality back then, of course. This was part of the overall prosperity of the post-Wars era. Things were peachy in the economy, industry, pop culture and technology. America was on top. It had massive confidence. And, design in all fields flourished.     Postmodern 50s It’s not just a little quirk of this site or hobbyists to

Read More

1950's Bathroom Inspiration

Something I think most folks forget about the 50’s are the garish and horrible colors! Some might like them, but eek! The “toned down” versions of 50’s bathrooms you see now are not what most were pushing in those days and these pictures prove it – I like the duckie design on the wallpaper on this one! This room is almost like something out of Hollywood…good heavens, the colors tho! For folks who really really

Read More