CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Two sisters have announced plans to renovate the historic Boots Motel and put it back into operation.
Priscilla Bledsaw and Deborah Harvey are the buyers of the Route 66 icon, according to Jim Hunter, who marketed the property. He said the sale is to be completed later this month by the purchasers, who plan “to turn the Boots Motel into a viable tourist attraction that will help the city of Carthage in attracting the many tourists that travel Route 66 and seek out these historic structures.”
He said the property was marketed locally and nationally via the many websites that promote Route 66. The property was offered for sale earlier by Vince Scott, who bought it about five years ago. Then it was taken back by Hometown Bank in a foreclosure action in late June.
A committee of local residents involved in historic preservation efforts earlier had organized to look into buying the property to ensure that the motel was preserved.
The two sisters, after cruising Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2006, began talking about buying a motel on the highway to operate when they retired, Hunter said.
“Although not ready to retire yet, they felt that the Boots Motel was too good an opportunity to miss,” he said.
Bledsaw has a retail background and formerly owned a jewelry store in Decatur, Ill., where she lives. Harvey lives in Decatur, Ga., and is the proprietor of a consulting firm involved in historic research and historic preservation projects.
The two plan to restore the Boots Court to its late 1940s appearance. The motel portion of the building is to be put back into operation as a “boutique motel” to provide visitors the motor hotel experience that was available in the 1940s and 1950s. The rear building, constructed in 1946, will be rehabilitated as offices, offering five spaces that will be available for leasing later this year.
Hunter said the loan on the purchase is expected to close later this month, and the new owners plan to hold an open house on Sept. 9-11.
THE PRESERVATION of the Boots Motel as a Route 66 landmark was central in the recommendations of a group of Drury University students who completed a “downtown visioning” project for the city earlier this year. The group in May presented a report saying Carthage should capitalize on its history and its place on Route 66 to bring more people and activity to the downtown business district.