Gardenway Motel closes

The historic Gardenway Motel in Villa Ridge, Missouri, abruptly closed Monday for as-yet-undetermined reasons, reported Jim Thole with the Route 66 Association of Missouri.

Thole tried to contact the Eckelkamp family, which has owned the motel for nearly 70 years, to find out why, to no avail. A phone call to the motel Thursday went unanswered.

According to the late Skip Curtis in his “The Missouri 66 Tour Book,” the motel was built in 1945. The book also had this information:

Named for the Henry Shaw Gardenway (Old 66), this motel was built at its western terminus. The first units were constructed by Louis Eckelkamp a short distance from his family’s home. The motel grew to 41 rooms, all with tile baths. Wonderful sign!

And according to Quinta Scott’s book, “Along Route 66”:

Once 66 was abandoned to the interstate that cut through the hill below, Eckelkamp added the long GARDENWAY sign on the roof to notify travelers on I-44 of accommodations up on the ridge.

Reviews of the motel were grave years ago, but two reviewers on the motel’s Google page in the past year gave it high marks.

If anybody hears anything about why the Gardenway Motel is closed, give me a yell at route66news(at)yahoo(dot)com. It’s often described as being in Gray Summit, but lists 2958 Missouri 100 in Villa Ridge.

(Image of the Gardenway Motel in 2009 by Alan Berning via Flickr; postcard image courtesy of

4 thoughts on “Gardenway Motel closes

  1. I always stayed at the “old” Gardenway on my way to and from the big antique car meets back east. It was always clean, and quiet. A true Route 66 landmark. Hope it reopens..!!

  2. This is unhappy news and I’m sorry to hear it. The Gardenway hadn’t been remodeled since the Eisenhower administration and I loved it for that reason! Since the owners closed it without warning and remain uncommunicative, I suspect it’s because they want to leave quietly and with as little hassle as possible. I suspect moreover, that if the Gardenway reopens at all — and I find it difficult to be optimistic on this point — then it will reopen under a new and highly motivated owner who wants to operate an historic Route 66 property. As for location, the Gardenway stands in GRAY SUMMIT but the cityline in their postal address says “Villa Ridge” because their mail is dispatched from that post office. This is somewhat curious because Gray Summit has its own post office on MO-100 in town. But there you are.

  3. We are “newer” to the St Louis region and always gawk at the hotel when passing. Would love to see it up and running again.

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