Lillian Redman and Nancy Mueller

A motel business on Route 66 has its ups and downs, but the Blue Swallow Motel has been an icon on the Mother Road since 1940.  It’s most famous proprietress Lillian Beatrice Leigon Redman assumed management in the 1950s and was renowned for her kindness, accepting trade or providing rooms for free to customers in need, and also for her feisty personality which endeared her to travelers.  As Lillian said, “I end up traveling the highway in my heart with whoever stops here for the night.” She sold the hotel in the late 1990s, and passed away soon after. Current owner of the Blue Swallow Motel Nancy Mueller shares Lillian’s outgoing personality and her kindness.  After her husband Kevin lost his job during the recent recession, she encouraged him to find a new passion,   “We can go anywhere.  The kids are out of the house…  what do you want to do?  Here’s your opportunity!”  He said, “I’d like to have my own business.” and she said “Go find it.” She does not regret those words, but… when Kevin first presented her with the idea of buying the Blue Swallow Motel her reaction was, “What!  I’ve finally got us down to two loads of laundry.”  Luckily, when she visited and the neon lights went on in the evening, Nancy began to understand the motel’s charms.  She and Kevin face many challenges as the Blue Swallow’s owners, some of which come from it being a high profile Route 66 property.  There is a relentless stream of visitors (not all of whom are motel guests) wanting assistance and answers to questions,  and it is truly like “living in a fish bowl”.  But despite working 18 hour days for the first three years, Nancy likes the unpredictability that each day brings and finds that the guests also renew her enthusiasm for the motel.  Recently, Nancy and Kevin have been joined in running the motel by their son and their daughter-in-law.

 

 

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