The Boots Motel in Carthage is one of the most historical buildings on the Route 66 strip still in business.
Debye Harvey and her sister, Priscilla Bledsaw, purchased the Boots in 2011 and have been working on preserving and restoring it back to its original style ever since.
“The building has a very interesting history. It was built at three different times by different people, but looks like it was built all at once,” said Harvey.
In the late 1930s, Arthur Boots moved from Kansas and wanted to build a motel, but was afraid he wouldn’t make any money off of it. So he started with a gas station.
“In 1939 he built the front part of what is now the office of the motel and made it a gas station. He then found he was making good money and built four rooms behind the gas station,” said Harvey.
The 1940s is when he built the first four, and a little after that he took out the gas pumps and built four more rooms and started running it as a full-time motel.
“The Boots was way ahead of its time. This was at a time when there were auto courts and farmers charged travelers to stay in the cabins they built on their farm with no furnishings,” said Harvey.
“They had to bring their mattress, pots and pans, and sheets. Boots Motel had a very sleek and individualized design and made it to where people didn’t have to bring everything with them.”
In 1945 Boots sold the business to Ples Neely, who added the last five rooms in the back.