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NEW Neon Park - Signs Wanted

Erik Sine

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Restoring the Past: Group raising funds to refurbish, display neon signs from Rt. 66


ST. ROBERT, Mo. -- "As a nation, sometimes we're not protecting our history."

That's why Beth Wiles, the President of the Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation group, started a project to restore old neon signs, and put them on display in a so-called "neon park."

"We've been working on obtaining signs. We have five of them stored locally. We have one of them in St. Louis, and three others throughout the state that are in the care of the association," Wiles said.

Signs from places like the Motel St. Louis, the Stanley Courtel, the Motel Linair, and a sign from the Modern Cabins.

"It was originally located in the Bassett Insurance Agency area of St. Robert, that is just down from the park area," Wiles said.

The group has several signs, but they're still looking for more to display in the park.

"The signs that are eligible for the park must have been located on Route 66 between 1926 and 1984, and we also are looking for the motels, the diners, shopping, things related to the automobile," Wiles said. "Those are all qualifiers for the park."

They also still need help raising money to refurbish them.

"Restoring these signs is not inexpensive," Wiles added. "You've got the transmitters, all of the wiring, the blown glass tubing. As we look at the Modern Cabins sign, we're looking at probably about $7,000 just to restore that sign, and it's fairly small compared to the Linair for instance. That's 19 feet tall."

But Wiles says she feels it's all worth it.

"I think it's going to be exciting. I think it's going to be a great anchor attraction for the state as well as our area."

The group has a while to go until they reach all the funds they need to refurbish the signs and get the park completed, but Wiles said she hopes the first three signs will be ready to be put up in Spring 2019.

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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