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Coral Court Motel      Route 66

Remembering things that aren't there anymore

Coral court Motel Rises again . .  sorta

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"

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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 buildings.
1942: Coral Court opens for business.
1946-48: Post World War II construction of 23 more bungalows.
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 Interstate 44.
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 Historic Places.
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 million.
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

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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 working days.
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 property.
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 built outdoors.

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