Route 66 News

The man behind many Route 66 neon sign restorations

KSDK-TV in St. Louis recently produced a story about neon signs along Route 66 in Missouri — especially signs restored by the Route 66 Association of Missouri’s Neon Heritage Preservation Committee.

The fellow behind many of these restorations is David Hutson of Neon Time in St. Charles, Missouri.

Hutson said:

“When people tour Route 66, this is personality. This is what they see,” said Hutson. “Once upon a time, getting a neon sign was like the mark of real success in the business. You started a business and then you could put a neon sign in the window or even on the outside of the building and the signs really were architecture.”

The KSDK footage includes showing the restored Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket at Neon Times before it was loaded on a flatbed trailer to be reinstalled at the restaurant near Chicago.

Since 2008, the neon committee has landed 10 cost-share grants from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Other neon-sign restorations or repairs overseen by the committee:

  • Munger Moss Motel, Lebanon, Missouri
  • Donut Drive-In, St. Louis
  • Former Skylark Motel, St. Clair, Missouri
  • Luna Cafe, Mitchell, Illinois
  • Crestwood Bowl, Crestwood, Missouri
  • Boots Court, Carthage, Missouri
  • Sunset Motel, Villa Ridge, Missouri
  • “Vic” Suhling / Gas For Less, Litchfield, Illinois
  • Greystone Heights Modern Cabins, near Springfield, Missouri

The article notes the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program likely will end in 2019 — barring intervention by Congress. If that happens, the neon committee will begin looking for other grant sources to continue its work.

(Screen capture from video of the restored Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket neon sign at the Neon Time shop)


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