Work on the iconic Boots Motel along Route 66 continues as the owners work toward having the motel designated as a national historic site.
Roof work was done this week on the motel, which was a stop for many tourists traveling along Route 66 between Chicago and Los Angeles. Workers also plan to replicate the original sign and neon lighting.
Co-owner Debye Harvey said Thursday that restoring the original flat roofline the motel had when it opened in 1939 will allow her to apply for the National Register of Historic Places.
She and her sister, Priscilla Bledsaw, bought the Boots Motel nearly two years ago, after it had been used for years as rental property. They have restored five rooms and last summer started opening them to Route 66 travelers who wanted to recreate the 1940s experience.
A $12,000 grant from the National Park Service’s Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is paying about half of the project costs. The remainder will come from the owners, donations and a preservation award from the Route 66 Association of Missouri.
Harvey said the National Park Service had extended the deadline for the project, which the owners hope will be complete in three weeks.
The motel didn’t have many guests over the winter, Harvey said, but business is improving.
“We already have more reservations right now than we did for all the last three months.”
She said the motel is fully booked for the first two nights of the Route 66 festival, which is scheduled for Aug. 1-3 in Joplin.