The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

March 11, 2013

Restoration continues on iconic Boots Motel in Carthage

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Owners of the iconic Boots Motel have two more projects planned to bring back the building’s historical appearance.

The neon sign at the front of the building is being restored, and work is to start later this month on returning the original flat roof to the motel.

The motel was a fixture on Route 66 during the highway’s heyday. The celebrities who stayed there included actor Clark Gable, orchestra leader Guy Lombardo, and singer and actor Gene Autry.

Sign crews began working last week, said Debye Harvey, one of two sisters who bought the landmark two years ago and announced plans to restore it.

The project will bring back the name Boots Court to the sign, in its original red and white colors, and will restore “its neon glory,” Harvey said.

“They’ll be able to use the original ‘Boots’ neon, but the ‘Court’ will be new,” Harvey said.

Changes to the sign and to the building’s roofline, she said, are all that stand in the way of the Boots being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Work on the roof will start soon, with half of the costs funded by a grant from the National Park Service.

The grant application got enthusiastic backing from the Carthage Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Wendi Douglas, executive director. Douglas, in a letter of support, called the motel “a treasured piece of history in Carthage” that for a time had been used for transient housing.

Under new ownership, she said, the property is “well on its way to becoming a thriving economic driver for our tourist population.”

Harvey and her sister, Priscilla Bledsaw, bought the building in 2011. By the spring of 2012, the five units at the rear of the property were restored to their original appearance, including polished hardwood floors and “a radio in every room.”

“Restoration of the property will bring a new type of traveler to Carthage and open our small town to foreign traffic as a new lodging option on Route 66,” Douglas wrote.

Said Harvey: “We had a wonderful summer. It was amazing because it was mainly by word of mouth among people interested in Route 66. We didn’t have a good winter, but it’s already starting to pick up.”

Tentative plans call for a sign relighting party on March 23 to coincide with a two-day effort by volunteers to remove the existing roofing. Brothers Construction, of Carthage, is the contractor on that work.

A National Park Service grant is paying $12,000, or half the costs, and area residents may support the effort with work or money, Harvey said.

“Our part of the work will include roof removal, and we can avoid some costs with help from volunteers,” she said. “We already have 14 people. We’re hoping for more with some roof experience.”

A fund — the Boots Roof Fund — has been established at Southwest Missouri Bank.

Up next

Debye Harvey, one of two sisters who bought the Boots Motel in Carthage two years ago, said future improvements will include new awnings, window repairs, returning the remaining neon lighting and landscaping.

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Britain Easter Pilgri_Cast.jpg SLIDESHOW: Good Friday observances around the world Around the world, Christians are coming together in observance of Good Friday, which they believe was the day Jesus was crucified. Here are some photos from Good Friday commemorations around the world.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missouri House votes to expand sales tax exemptions

    Pizza parlors, doughnut shops and even convenience stores all could be in line for a tax break on the food that they make and sell as a result of a measure moving through the Missouri Legislature.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos