Capri Motel

Capri Motel

Mounting Type: Pole mount
Donated By: Kansas City Museum

Local businessmen Jack DiBenedetto, Sal Arrello and Phil Forte opened the 15-unit Capri Motel at the corner of Independence Avenue and Paseo Boulevard in northeast Kansas City, Missouri in 1962.

Its attention-grabbing neon sign of the same year was designed and built by the United Sign Company of Kansas City, according to a 2015 Northeast News article covering the sign’s rescue and acquisition by the Kansas City Museum. Said the museum’s Executive Director and LUMI advisor Anna Marie Tutera, the sign was a “wonderful piece of roadside Americana that absolutely needs to be preserved.”

Free-standing motel signs from the 1950s and 60s are typically large, and this double-sided colossus is no exception—it stands 72.5 ft. tall and 23 ft. wide. Its Googie design (yes, Googie,) typifies the popular roadside architecture of the time. According to Wikipedia, Googie architecture was inspired by car culture, jets and the atomic age. Its namesake is the now-defunct Googies Coffee Shop of Hollywood, California, designed by John Lautner. Today, the genre is considered part of Mid-century Modern. Similar architectural styles are Populuxe and Doo Wop.

The LUMI Neon Museum acquired the Motel Capri sign from the Kansas City Museum in 2022 thanks to the vision of Executive Director Tutera. Denise Morrison, Director of Collections, was instrumental in transferring ownership to LUMI. We are grateful to both Anna Marie and Denise for their foresight and generosity so that future generations may be enlightened by this classic neon and its story.