During my childhood summers, I’d spend time with my aunt and uncle in St. Louis. My aunt liked to take long walks, and we often journeyed from her home in south St. Louis on foot, down Route 66 to a shopping center called Maplewood. Along the way, we passed the Coral Court Motel, which even as a child struck me as amazing. I have since learned that the buildings (the motel was made up of individual glazed brick cabins) were examples of art deco and streamline moderne architecture.

The Coral Court Motel operated from 1942-1993, and was razed in 1995 for a housing development — despite many attempts for designation as a historic landmark. All that remains is a website dedicated to preserving memories of the place. It boasts: “For mystery, intrigue, and sheer tawdriness, you can’t beat the Coral Court.”

Shellee Graham has written a fascinating book about the motel called Tales from the Coral Court: Photos and Stories from a Lost Route 66 Landmark. Find the book here. While I don’t own the book, I have borrowed it from the library a few times and have enjoyed it immensely — cultural history, architecture, geography, social studies, and soap opera all in one photo-filled book.