The Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven hotel in Springfield, Missouri, on Friday installed a replica of a classic neon sign that came down in 1994 when the hotel was rebranded, according to the Springfield News-Leader.
Part of the reason the original sign was taken down was because it was “in bad shape,” said Jennifer Adams, the motel’s social media and marketing director. Owner Gordon Elliott also was saddened by that event.
Elliott said he’s supporting the city’s effort to promote its Route 66 history and lamented that so many places along the Mother Road have nothing left to see. Visitors “need to see some things that were here during that period to make it come alive for them.”
The new neon sign is smaller than the original and features flashing yellow lights. Adams made sure the workers from Pinnacle Sign Group placed it low enough for visitors to be able to take pictures with it. During the summer, the motel has two or three groups of international Route 66 travelers each month, she said.
Here’s what the sign will look like at night. This image was shot in a darkened building before the sign’s installation.
Here’s a postcard image of the original sign:
The Rail Haven began as eight sandstone cottages in 1938. Here’s more about the hotel’s history:
The hotel gained its unique name in stages. The “Rail Haven” derives from the rough-hewn rail fence that surrounded the property from its inception. Sections of that fence still exist today. The “Route 66” part was added later as the Mother Road became a popular route across the country and from the time that Route 66 was still a major artery through Springfield. It was in 1951 that the then owner, Lawrence Lippman became an early member of the Best Western Board of directors although the hotel had joined the association of Best Western hotels as early as 1948.
Physically the hotel has evolved from the original cluster of sandstone cottages to the form it takes today. There have been many innovations that have come and gone over the years, things such as steam heating and linoleum floor covering. Those and other now antiquated features have been superseded by the up-to-date comforts that guests of today expect.
(Image of the sign via the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven’s Facebook page; vintage postcard courtesy of 66Postcards.com)