The evening of Saturday, November 14, 2009 was very special for members of the Route 66 Association of Missouri. Following our meeting in St. Clair, a festive gathering was held on the grounds of the Sunset Motel in nearby Villa Ridge to celebrate the relighting of the outstanding sign, which had been dark for approximately 30 years.
Just under half of the money to restore the sign and reroof the motel, refurbish dormers, cornice, fascia and soffits, and replace the neon on the gables was granted by the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, with the owners picking up the rest of the tab. Kaisa Barthuli, deputy manager, was on hand to present a plaque to the proud owners. Work on the motel building continues and is expected to be completed in a month or two. In recent history, the motel had been rented as apartments, and when it reopens the owners plan to reserve half of the rooms for Route 66 travelers.
Exactly one year ago, members of the Route 66 Association of Missouri had attended the relighting of the Donut Drive-in sign in St. Louis, another day where we were blessed with exceptionally mild weather for celebrating a momentous occasion in the history of Route 66. In both projects, the property owners were assisted with their grant applications by members of the Route 66 Association of Missouri Neon Preservation Committee. We invite you to help us keep this streak going!