Backed by a history of over seventy years as a favorite Route 66 hotel the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven in Springfield, Missouri has now been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The hotel gained its unique name in stages. The “Rail Haven” derives from the rough-hewn rail fence that surrounded the property from its inception. Sections of that fence still exist today. The “Route 66” part was added later as the Mother Road became a popular route across the country and from the time that Route 66 was still a major artery through Springfield. It was in 1951 that the then owner, Lawrence Lippman became an early member of the Best Western Board of directors although the hotel had joined the association of Best Western hotels as early as 1948.
Physically the hotel has evolved from the original cluster of sandstone cottages to the form it takes today. There have been many innovations that have come and gone over the years, things such as steam heating and linoleum floor covering. Those and other now antiquated features have been superseded by the up-to-date comforts that guests of today expect.
In 1993, Gordon Elliott, a local CPA entered the hospitality business in Springfield, Missouri with his purchase of the Best Western Coach House Inn on North Glenstone Avenue. Just a year later Elliott put in an offer to buy the Best Western Rail Haven. The property by that time had come into disrepair but not to be daunted Elliott set to work rebuilding and refurnishing the hotel to the standards required by Best Western today.
Still a popular favorite with guests from all over the U.S.A., the hotel hosts many tour groups from around the world who come with the specific purpose of taking a nostalgic trip down old Route 66. Some groups really get into the spirit of their journey and have restored classic American cars of the 50’s and 60’s then shipped them to the States in order to explore the Mother road in fitting style.