I’m Dreaming of a NEON Christmas!

Neon Christmas (1)By Laura Huffman
Updated 11/27/19

I’m a traditionalist at heart when it comes to Christmas. However, it is hard not to get hopped up on neon when you work with Beth Wiles. Wiles, in addition to serving as the Executive Director of Pulaski County Tourism Bureau, also volunteers as the President of Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation.

Why does Wiles dream of neon year-round? Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation’s signature project is the installation of a Neon Park at George M. Reed Roadside Park in Saint Robert, Missouri. The Neon Park will feature neon signs rescued from Route 66’s roadside and professionally restored to their colorful glory.

Route 66 Neon Park rendering by Ireland Architects. Rendering and signs are for illustration purposes only.

Route 66 Neon Park rendering by Ireland Architects. Rendering and signs are for illustration purposes only.

Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation, a 501 (C) (3) not-for-profit, has already acquired five noteworthy signs for the completed project: Modern Cabins (Oaks Court, Saint Robert), St. Louis Motel, Stanley Cour-Tel Motel, and LinAir Motel. The group is in discussions concerning acquisition of several more neon beauties.

Route 66 Neon Park rendering by Ireland Architects. Rendering and signs are for illustration purposes only.

Route 66 Neon Park rendering by Ireland Architects. Rendering and signs are for illustration purposes only.

The completed Neon Park will be a brilliant, iconic beacon for Route 66 travelers, neon sign enthusiasts, photographers, and folks from all walks of life. After dark the Neon Park will be magical!

How can you play a part in making Saint Robert’s Neon Park a reality? One way to help is by purchasing neon items from the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau & Visitors Center gift shop. A variety of fun and splashy novelty items, from fedoras to sunglasses, will make for unique stocking stuffers and are New Year’s Eve essentials! To plan your purchase visit the online store at: https://squareup.com/market/pulaski-county-tourism-bureau-and-visitors-center. ALL proceeds from these items will go towards the completion of the Neon Park project.

Route 66 Neon Park (1)

A portion of ALL purchases of  items in the Visitors Center gift shop, with the exception of consignment items, will be added to the Route 66 Neon Park fund! Need an item for a Route 66 fan? Have a Pulaski County history buff on your list?

For other ways to make your tax-deductible donation or contribution please visit https://www.visitpulaskicounty.org/rt66preservation/contact.html. For corporate sponsorship considerations contact Beth Wiles at 573-336-6355 or via email at bethw@pulaskicountyusa.com

In the meantime, have a very Merry Neon Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Route 66 Neon Park Proposed In Saint Robert, Missouri

Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation announced Monday its plan to develop a Route 66 Neon Park within George M. Reed Roadside Park in Saint Robert, Missouri.

This development will be the first of its kind along the 2,448 miles of the Mother Road that stretches from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA. It will feature restored, orphaned Route 66 neon signs in an outdoor park-like setting with corresponding story boards to inform visitors about the history of each sign.

Artist rendering of proposed Route 66 Neon Park in St. Robert, MO.

Artist rendering of proposed Route 66 Neon Park in St. Robert, MO.

Eligible signs would be those that were originally along the Route between 1926 and 1985, have been abandoned and do not have a home, and would not otherwise return to the Mother Road without a park such as this.

Currently the roadside park is home to a US Army M-60 tank which will remain within the park, and be embellished to tell the story of the importance of Route 66 as a thoroughfare for transporting war material to the west coast during WWII. For additional information on the namesake of the roadside park refer to “George M. Reed Roadside Park“.

“Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation is excited to offer a prime location to preserve and memorialize this particular element of the Route’s culture,” said Beth Wiles, President of the organization. “Pulaski County has an opportunity to become an anchor destination along the Route with this development. Mother Road enthusiasts from around the world will want to make Pulaski County a preferred stop to see the ‘neon at night’ in this unique park.”

The opportunity for this development began in November 2013 during the “The Road Ahead” Strategic Roundtable hosted by the World Monument Fund in Anaheim, CA, where Beth Wiles, Executive Director of the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau, was in attendance. One of the speakers there was a representative from the Neon Heritage Preservation Committee of the Route 66 Association of Missouri who described the Association’s vision to establish a neon park in Missouri for orphaned Route 66 neon signs. Ensuing discussions between those two parties then led to St. Robert becoming the proposed home for these former icons of the Mother Road.

The Route 66 Association of Missouri and the City of St. Robert will also be the organization’s partners in this endeavor.

A Kickstarter campaign focuses on raising funds for architectural designs and the layout of the park. The campaign offers various levels of backing designed to appeal to individuals, associations and corporations. Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation reminds those who want to “have a hand” in this development to back the project TODAY. The campaign runs for a limited time.

For more information about the Route 66 Neon Park project visit http://www.Route66Preservation.org and http://www.facebook.com/PulaskiCountyRoute66Preservation.