Coral court Motel Rises again .
Rising from the Ashes, a look at the past....
After sitting in storage for five
years, a new feature at the Museum of Transportation was built
in May 2000. It is a semi-permanent exhibit about the Coral
Court Motel. It features the Streamline Moderne facade of one of
the motel’s 1946 units built of glazed brick and glass blocks.
Once again these original materials are back together for our
appreciation. The exhibit also covers the impact of “car
culture” on the nation with a 1941 Fleetwood Cadillac peaking
out of the Coral Court garage.
Click photo for larger view
The "Rest of the Story"
Click photo for larger Picture
Click to enlarge ca. 1942 Postcard
"C O R A L C O U R T :
The No-Tell Motel with a Touch of Class
( 1 9 4 1 - 1 9 9 5 )"
1941: June - Construction begins on the 10 original
1942: Coral Court opens for business.
1946-48: Post World War II construction of 23 more
1953: Greenlease kidnapper arrested at Coral Court.
1956: Coral Court & other roadside motels were part of a
grand jury inquiry looking into possible illegal activities.
Nothing came of the investigation however.
1975: Watson Road/Route 66 is completely bypassed by
1984: April 12 - Original owner John H. Carr dies.
1987: May - Widow Jessie Carr and new husband Robert
Williams are approached with an offer to buy the motel.
1988: Coral Court Preservation Society formed. Over 1,000
t-shirts are sold in 3 weeks with a portion of the proceeds
going to the Preservation Fund.
1989: Coral Court is accepted to the National Register of
1993: Because of structural deficiencies, the motel was
declared unsafe and was forced to close. Rather than spend $1
million in repair, the motel is listed for sale for $1.5
1994: May 18 - Coral Court owner Robert Williams passes
away. His widow Jessie Carr Williams is seventy-seven years old
and in failing health.
1995: February - A commercial developer, Conrad
Properties, purchases Coral Court with no interest in keeping
the existing buildings.
| That impressive, pink
Coral Court sign, that we all remember, was not created
until around 1952. It was reminiscent of the original
Holiday Inn “Great sign”. Coral Court’s new sign
proclaimed “Moderate Rates”, while the lower banner with
moveable letters declared, “Room Phones, Free
Television, Air Conditioning, Swimming Pool”.
The Neon Sign
Click photo for larger Picture
Ca 1942 postcard
1995: May - Museum of
Transportation staff and volunteers work about 3 weeks to
dismantle one complete Coral Court bungalow.
1995: June 11 - Spirtas Wrecking Company completes
demolition of the motel property. It took about 6 weeks or 45
1995: Late June - Construction of a 45-lot subdivision,
Oak Knoll Manor, begins.
1996: October 15 - Coral Court owner, Jessie Carr
Williams, passes away—just 17 months after the sale of her
1998: June - The majority of single-family homes is
completed. The only remnant left of the motel are the two
distinctive stone entrance gates.
2000: May - A Coral Court Motel display opens with a
partially rebuilt bungalow (curved glass block wall and a
portion of the garage) at the Museum of Transportation in St.
Louis. This temporary exhibit is scheduled to last 5-8 years, or
until enough funds are collected for the permanent display to be