Blue Swallow Motel: Route 66 Classic

Blue Swallow Motel: Route 66 Classic

“Welcome to 1939,” announced proprietor Nancy Mueller as she swung open the door to Room 6. We really could have been stepping back in time at the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, judging by the vintage furniture, a chenille bedspread and a real, working 1939 black rotary dial phone on the desk. A smoke detector and a television were the only visible hints that we were in the 21st century. This would be our home for the night, the fourth and last of the vintage Route 66 motels we stayed at during our road trip to Phoenix.

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A Nostalgic Stay at the Route 66 Rail Haven Motel in Springfield, Missouri

A Nostalgic Stay at the Route 66 Rail Haven Motel in Springfield, Missouri

It was 1938, the heyday of The Mother Road, when brothers Elwyn and Lawrence Lippman built eight sandstone cottages on their grandfather’s apple orchard along Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri, and accented the property with a rail fence. By 1946 the motel had grown to 28 rooms and in the early 1950s became part of the newly formed Best Western chain of motels. The property went through many upgrades from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s, including changing from cottages to a strip motel. However, by the early 1990s, the Rail Haven had started to slip.

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Under new ownership, “Route 66” was added to the name and the motel was fully remodeled to include modern amenities but to maintain its vintage flavor, exactly what we found on our recently stay. In fact, we stayed there once before, a few years ago, and it was apparent the rooms have been updated again since then.

The 93-room motel, made up of several strips, is still an outdoor access, park-at-your-door type of motel, each room with its own porch light and many with a chair for sitting outside.

Rail_Haven-3248The backs of the buildings are decorated with vintage signs, mostly from gas stations.

Rail_Haven-3238They’ve also kept the vintage Best Western sign, the sign used from 1965 to 1995. It now decorates one of the building sides.

Rail_Haven-3249Inside, the rooms are like many lower priced but nicely kept mid-range motels. You won’t find a big fluffy duvet or a dozen pillows on the bed, but the rooms are comfortable and clean with plenty of room for an easy chair, desk and other standard motel furniture and amenities. Our room also included a microwave and refrigerator.

The small bathroom had obviously been updated with new fixtures, which I was glad to see. Outdated, worn bathrooms are one of my pet peeves. My only complaint is that the small sink doesn’t leave much room for toiletries and grooming appliances. I ended up plugging my flat iron in at the desk and doing my hair there.

The complimentary breakfast is served in the building that is also the motel lobby. Gas pumps and a vintage 1950s-era Ford sedan outside the building add to the Route 66 nostalgia. Breakfast includes your standard spread of pastries, cereals, make-your-own waffles, a couple of hot items and beverages, definitely enough to keep you energized until your Route 66 lunch stop.


The Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven is located at 203 S Glenstone in Springfield, Missouri. Check the web site for room rates and availability.

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