CARTHAGE, Mo. — It’s not often that the place you stay in on vacation is itself a tourist attraction.

That’s the case with one historic structure currently under reconstruction.

“It’s a gem of Carthage. It’s a gem of Route 66,” said Kim Bausinger, Boots Motel and Visitor Center Manager.

Arthur Boots built the Boots Motel in Carthage back in 1939. While there has been repair work on the property a few times over years, this is the first time for a complete renovation which started in the spring of this year, going all the way down to the stucco.

“It seems like we’ve turned the corner from demo work to putting it all back together now so that’s very encouraging. We’re hoping in the next few weeks the rooms in the back will be open while the rooms in the back are still getting finished,” said Bausinger.

Bausinger will be the manager of the motel and an accompanying visitor’s center yet to be built.

She says efforts are also underway to get the business on the List of Historic Places as well.

“The Centennial of Route 66 is coming so it’s perfect timing. International travel has opened so it’s just the perfect time for people that are just wanting to come here, so we want to give them a place to come to,” said Bausinger.

But she says it’s not just local residents that are excited about the makeover.

“We’ve had conversations with people from all over the world actually about their times they’ve stayed here, and every time they come through this is where they stay,” said Bausinger.

The structure was bought over the winter by the Boots Court Foundation.

“There has been roof work. There’s been a little bit of foundation work. There has been lots of stucco work. Got new ceilings in the carport and new floors in the carports, and just trying to take her back to her original beauty,” said Bausinger.

The goal is to try and have all of the work done and all of the rooms open by the Maple Leaf Festival.

And in case you’re wondering, yes. The neon lights will return to the Boots Motel.