On Saturday, March 19, 2022 my Dad and I drove from St. Louis County to Sullivan, Missouri to attend a neon sign re-lighting ceremony at the historic Shamrock Court. The Shamrock Court is being restored and plans are to re-open it as a motel in the not too distant future. Members of the Route 66 of Missouri and many other volunteers are helping to restore the property, with labor, fundraising, and other opportunities.
The Route 66 Assocation of Missouri Neon Heritage Preservation Committee (“NHPC”) has assisted a lot of historic property owners in various ways to get their neon signs restored. Here is a web page with a list of some of their neon sign success stories. It’s customary for Route 66 Association of Missouri members and allies to get together for a celebratory re-lighting ceremony whenever a historic Route 66 property in the region lights up the newly restored signs for the public to enjoy. March 19 was the Shamrock Court’s turn to shine.
Route 66 events often incorporate car shows, and this night was no exception. Cool cars and trucks filled the parking area in front of the Motel and spilled over into the adjacent street, appropriately named Shamrock St. In keeping with the motel’s theme and proximity to St. Patrick’s Day, it was also a St. Patrick’s Day party complete with Leprechaun, Lucky Charms, wearin’ o’ the green, and lots of Irish luck bestowing fine weather upon us.
On a day so beautiful, my Dad and I left early so that we could go for a hike on the way there. There are lots of choices of places to hike between our homes and Sullivan – we are very blessed to live in Missouri which has abundant parks and trails. We considered several locations then decided on Robertsville State Park. It’s one of the closest State Parks to where we live, but since when we drive by it we are usually on our way to somewhere farther away, believe or not neither of us had ever been there! The one previous time in all my years of 66-ing (23!) that I tried to take a short detour off of historic Route 66 to check it out, I had to turn back because of a flood. So we decided now was the time to try something new and go finally go there. We drove around to see what the park contained and chose two short trails to hike on.
The park was perhaps not in it’s full glory two days before the start of spring, when there is almost no green vegetation to see yet and the ground is saturated from late winter and early spring rains. Nevertheless, we found plenty to appreciate. I have not lost my childhood fascination with ephemeral spring pools. I’m intrigued mostly because I like to look for frog eggs and tadpoles, but they also have quiet beauty in their own right. They are usually clear and still and any vegetation or critters in the water look especially beautiful in such water bodies. As a special treat for me, one of the pools we saw did contain many masses of frog or toad eggs, and some free-swimming tadpoles! I looked at one mass up close to see the different stages of development of the tadpoles. They ranged from little dots to almost ready to emerge, with feathery gills developing and eyes looking right at me! I returned the egg mass to the water and prayed that they would all get a chance to hatch while the pool is still wet.
There is something to enjoy in every season in the magical Missouri Ozarks!
For more information about the re-lighting event and the Shamrock Court project:
Shamrock Court web page
Historic Preservation Weekend in Sullivan, MO A previous blog post of mine about volunteering at the Shamrock Court