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Route 66 News

Springfield chamber honors owner of Route 66 Rail Haven hotel

The Springfield, Mo., Area Chamber of Commerce honored Gordon Elliott as its 2013 Springfieldian during its annual meeting Friday, according to a news release.

For those who don’t know who Elliott is, his Route 66 connection will become quickly apparent.

To the news release:

As CEO of Elliott Lodging and Oak Ridge Properties, Elliott owns and operates 17 hotels and 15 apartment communities. Elliott is known for his efforts to revive distressed locations within the local hotel community, particularly his work restoring the historic landmark Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven.

He is also known for his service to others.  On numerous occasions, Elliott has opened the doors of his hotels to the homeless as well as victims of natural disasters.

“There was a time when he even bought a house off the courthouse steps for an employee who was going to lose it,” said Elliott’s son, Todd Elliott.

For the past 50 years, the chamber annually has honored one individual as its Springfieldian for leadership and commitment the community. So the honor has been a big deal for a long time.

The Springfield News-Leader newspaper had coverage of the award ceremony.

The late Skip Curtis’ “The Missouri U.S. 66 Tour Book” contained this summary and a very early postcard of the motel, which was built in 1938 as the Rail Haven Motor Court:

A motor court “for motorists who demand the best. Popular haven for women and children.” At one time “16 stone cottages with showers, automatic safety controlled gas heat, laundry facilities, children’s playground” and “very good beds.” By 1946, it had grown to 28 rooms and was considered “excellent” by AAA.

 

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