Crossroads of Routes 66 and 71
This fine motor court was built in 1939 by Arthur Boots.
He would be thrilled to know that it was saved from demolition a few years ago, by 2 sisters, with a passion for retro motels!
A Stop on Route 66
There used to be so many of these wonderful motels and courts along the Mother Road.
This one first opened with 8 rooms, then added 5 more with a modern annex in 1948.
Don and I arrived at The Boots on a chilly October afternoon.
It was the 21st night of our 22-day road trip. We were tired and our brains were nearly fried, trying to process all we'd learned in the past weeks.
But once we stepped inside the office, (which had been a gas station once) our moods were quickly lifted. We met our host Debye, who couldn't have been more pleasant and chatty.
She shared about the motel history and the Carthage area and she was also eager to ask questions about our travels. I was pretty amused as I peeked around the office, at the red door with glass knob and the vintage TV, acting as a table for travel brochures. A case of pop was propped up on the floor. The funny little office made me eager to see our room.
The Kitty and Annex
Debye gave us a tour of the motel, starting with the Annex.
Gable at a motor court? It was while he was serving in WWII.
Even though Don and I were excited about staying in one of the original 8 rooms, we still wanted to see an annex room.
These were more spacious, with beautiful wood floors.
Room with a Carport
We were pretty giddy with the idea of our 1939 room with attached carport.
The door to our room was inside the carport, so it took about 3 steps from car to room! And that was a real treat for weary travelers on night #21!
Our room was special, not just because it was the only original room that had been renovated. (The sisters started work with the annex first) But this very room is where Clark Gable slept years ago.
I've slept in historic hotels that brag about the famous actors and presidents who have been guests. But never before have I stayed at a motel with this claim. Since Mr. Boot's grandson was at the grand re-opening of this motel a few years ago, I'm pretty sure the stories have been passed down correctly.
Not only did we have a bright yellow Chenille bedspread to make things feel authentic. But we had a cozy alcove with a built in desk, holding a retro radio, which was already playing a station with old time music!
And the bathroom just amused me with the black and white tile and a little window for letting out a little shower steam. Black and white monogrammed towels were a treat, as well.
Thanks to Debye!
Our host generously offered to take our picture with the neon sign.
Below the neon words, we were reminded that our room would have a radio AND air conditioning. The second thing, we didn't need.
When I called for reservations earlier, Debye had been concerned that they wouldn't have heat installed in the newly renovated room. But she also understood my silly swooning over Clark Gable and my insistence that we have his room! She knew temps were dropping,
so she provided us with a space heater, as well as a bucket of ice for drinks. Our room was toasty, while we sipped a celebratory cocktail and listened to music from the '40's and '50's. Then we had quite a Saturday night, down the road at "Sirloin Stampede" for dinner. The place was hopping with locals for the big buffet. We got pretty stuffed, which made us eager to turn in early that night.
The wonderful Art Deco, streamlined structure was a first for us. I loved the rounded corners and flat roof and all the white stucco with black trim! And I think this was our first motel with a carport!
But what I'll remember most, was the fun of staying in the room where Clark Gable slept. And... I'll remember the cat, with all his kitty charisma. I'm just going to go ahead and believe there's more than a name connection there!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!