H E C
O R A L C
O U R T R I S E S A
G A I N
sitting in storage for five years, a new feature at the Museum of
Transportation was built in May 2000. It is a semi-permanent exhibit
about the Coral Court Motel.
It features the Streamline Moderne facade of one of the motels
1946 units built of glazed brick and glass blocks. Once again these
materials are back together for our appreciation. The exhibit also covers
the impact of car culture on the nation with a 1941 Fleetwood
Cadillac peaking out of the Coral Court garage. Meanwhile Bobby Darins
Dream Car, a space age Jetson-like fantasy from 1962,
sits close by in the same room. Included in the display are pieces
of CCM memorabilia
and photo examples of other landmarks on U.S. Route 66. When enough funds
are collected, the museum plans to rebuild the entire Coral Court
outdoors for all to enjoy. Can you imagine the sidewalk leading to this
Deco masterpiece? It could be called the Walk of Shame.
Yes, for only $$ you can have your name (or anyone elses name)
engraved in a brick for the sidewalk for all of posterity. :-)
What was built on the site of the former Coral Court? Instead of history,
nostalgia and a fabulous landmark, there is now a subdivision of 45 single-family
homes called Oak Knoll Manor. Only the original, distinctive stone gates
and a few pillars remain. You must look closely to see them behind the
growing trees and shrubbery. The motels stone gates and the Oak
Knoll Manor subdivision are located between Sunset Bowling Center and
Rothman Furniture store, in the Village of Marlborough, Missouri. One
of my future projects is to have a historic marker placed in front of
these stone entrance gates, so tourists and locals will have a permanent
reminder of Coral Court.
Sometimes I think about the motels last years and the energy spent
fighting to save her. Ardent Coral Court fans fought passionately to preserve
this ageless beauty. There were no true winners. Money, or the lack of
it, won in the end. If there had been just one St. Louis corporation,
or, in the spirit of Coral Court, just one anonymous hero
with enough money and concern for this magnificent motel; maybe fifty-four
years of memories, an architects vision and an owners dream
would not have been destroyed and lost forever.
IF you would like to write to the Village of Marlborough in support of our proposed Coral Court marker, please go to City of Marlborough St. Louis County government page.
NOTES: In 2004, Bill
Boll and Shellee Graham completed their award winning video documentary "Built
for Speed: The Coral Court Motel." The
program has received rave reviews from the media and won the 2005 Aurora Award for International Broadcasting. The Museum of Transportation's Automotive Building (where the Coral Court display is housed) underwent an extensive renovation and was reopened in December 2005.