A few days ago, “Roamin’ Rich” Dinkela texted me to announce an official relighting ceremony for a neon sign of the Shamrock Court motel in Sullivan, Missouri, that will occur on March 19, which is St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
Dinkela added this text: “Btw, I’m going to make an attempt to run the motel.”
Dinkela, who also is the president of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, made some announcements the same week about the Route 66 motel on the Save the Shamrock Court! page on Facebook.
However, this development about him reopening the long-closed property deserved additional elaboration.
During a phone interview Saturday, Dinkela didn’t want to elaborate but said recent events concerning a Route 66 artifact persuaded him to keep the Shamrock Court and make plans to reopen it in 2023.
“I can’t invest my labor and time to let it go down in flames,” he said. “The only thing to sure to preserve it is to run it.”
With that, Dinkela said he plans to redo the motel’s floors, install new plumbing and redo the electrical wiring. He has consulted with the owners of three vintage Route 66 motels on a revised floor plan to convert it into six regular rooms and two suites (including one room that’s handicapped accessible).
He said the “antiquated” master bedroom would be converted into a coin-operated laundry area, merchandise area and a smaller private office.
Dinkela plans to extend the roofline of the back of the property so it can be a pavilion for gatherings, including a possible fire pit or barbecue grill, hot tub, or lounge.
The back lot of the property, which contains extensive tree cover, also would be converted into two full-service spaces for recreational vehicles.
Dinkela acknowledged the RV spaces and merchandise are part of the overall plan to diversify the motel’s income as much as possible,
He said he wouldn’t move himself, his wife and his five children to the property from his suburban St. Louis home. Instead, he likely would hire a manager to oversee the motel.
He earlier this year received a $30,000 cost-share grant from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program to stabilize the building.
Dinkela also said he has submitted paperwork to nominate the Shamrock Court to the National Register of Historic Places. He expressed confidence it would earn the designation sometime in the first half of 2022.
The distinctive, giraffe-stone motel dates to the late 1940s and previously was owned by the Weiland family for nearly 70 years.
In the late 1970s, the motel was converted into efficiency apartments with living quarters for longtime owners John and Rose Weiland until they died.
(Vintage postcard image of the Shamrock Court in Sullivan, Missouri, courtesy of 66Postcards.com)