Historic Route 66 motel to be renovated

CARTHAGE, Mo. (AP) — The new owners of a motel that for years attracted travelers along Route 66 in southwest Missouri plan to renovate and reopen it as a tourist attraction and boutique motel.

The Boots Motel in Carthage, which opened in 1939, became an iconic landmark when Route 66 was the main route from Chicago to Los Angeles. It has been through several owners and most recently was low-rent housing until a bank foreclosed on it in June.

Jim Hunter, who marketed the motel, said a deal to sell the property to sisters Priscilla Bledsaw and Deborah Harvey should be final later this month.

After cruising Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2006, the two sisters were looking for 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 owner of a consulting firm involved in historic research and preservation projects.

The two plan to restore the Boots Motel to its late 1940s appearance. Part of it will be a boutique motel and a rear building, built in 1946, will be leased out as office space.

Hunter did not disclose the sale price but said the loan on the purchase is expected to close later this month. An open house is scheduled for Sept. 9-11.

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