The mayor of Springfield, Illinois, is the new owner of the seal sculpture that once stood at the now-demolished Bel-Air Motel on Route 66 in Springfield, according to the State Journal-Register.
Jim Langfelder said he paid $2,500 of his own money for the 8,000-pound statue, which once stood as a fountain near what used to be the motel’s swimming pool.
“I’m not sure what we’ll do with it,” Langfelder said. “We’re looking for suggestions.”
The Springfield native said he remembered the seal in its better days at the Bel-Aire and wanted to preserve a piece of city and Route 66 history. While a new home has not been picked, Langfelder said he could see the seal in a local park or as a traveling tourism attraction. The seal is in storage at Ace Sign Co. of Springfield for now.
Ace Sign, you may remember, acquired the motel’s Sputnik-shaped sign before the structure was vacated and demolished a few months ago.
The Bel-Aire Motel, built about 1950 along Route 66, declined after being sold to a Florida-based man in 1986 and eventually was condemned after hundreds of code violations.
The newspaper is taking suggestions for the seal’s new home.
(Image of the Bel-Aire Motel’s seal in 2009 by John Hagstrom via Flickr)