Boots Court Motel – Carthage, Missouri - Atlas Obscura

Boots Court Motel

This historic motel standing at the "crossroads of America" offers a radio in every room and was saved by local protesters.  


Built in the Streamline Moderne style in 1939, the Boots Court Motel sits at the crossroads of the historic Route 66 and U.S. 71 in Carthage, Missouri.

Arthur Boots, who was once a machinery salesman, chose this spot after a great deal of research. His motel offered “a radio in every room” and a covered carport for drivers stopping there at night. Its location at the “crossroads of America” and its modern amenities made the motel a huge success. Stars like Clark Gable stayed there and enjoyed the privacy the carports afforded, away from the eager gaze of fans.

A neon sign announcing its presence became a landmark on Route 66 and remained in place for a long time, even as the motel underwent name changes and transitions in ownership. After its successful run, which lasted for several decades and saw its expansion, it went through a period of decline. An attempt was made to demolish it in 2003. This was prevented by protests from locals. In 2011 the motel was purchased by its current owners, two sisters who are restoring it to its 1940s avatar.

It’s a work in progress but several of the rooms replicate the original decor as closely as possible, including the furniture, fixtures, and amenities available. The neon sign was relighted, as was the architectural neon around the curved vintage building. The roof was replaced with a flat roof like the one the original structure sported. The true-blue 20th-century motel doesn’t offer a television but there’s still a radio in every room. 

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