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Missouri Route 66

Renaissance Town
Cuba, Missouri

Missouri Route 66

 

Route 66 Cafe

The Route 66 town of Cuba was named by the citizens to show sympathy for the island of Cuba, which was under the oppression of Spain. Cuba was founded in 1857 as a farming community and railroad shipping point. From 1895 through 1920 the area was famous for apples and barrels. Though the apple industry declined in the 1930s Cuba still produces barrels. This is a town that owes its more modern existence to Route 66. In the 1930s it abandoned the original townsite by the railroad tracks and moved to be closer to the then new Route 66.

Cuba today celebrates its Route 66 heritage. The Route 66 Cafe is a gathering place for locals and travelers alike.

     
Some towns embrace their Route 66 heritage more than others. I've found out that it usually takes one or two people with vision to get the preservation movement going strong. Fran Eickhoff of Cuba, Board Member of the Route 66 Association, is one of those people. It took some time but she finally got the town of Cuba behind her in celebrating their great heritage. The Cuba Mural project was one of the great ideas that came from this. There are several murals in Cuba now that celebrate their great history.

Apple Harvest Mural

     

Barnett Mural

   

Wagon Wheel Motel

Wagon Wheel Motel
     
The Wagon Wheel Motel is a beautiful example of the great motor courts that once lined Route 66. It was built in 1934 under the name of Wagon Wheel Cabins. It was built of colorful Ozark Stone and grew from 9 units to 14 in 1946. In 1939 the Wagon Wheel was listed in the AAA travel guide as one of the best motels in the state of Missouri. Until recently the Wagon Wheel has continued its operation along old Route 66, the owner just passed away and I’m not sure what’s happening with this vintage motor court.
    
Philips Cottage Style Gas Station

This old house looks like it could have been an old Phillips Cottage Style gas station during the hey-day of Route 66 through Cuba.

 

Rolla, Missouri, pronounced RAW-LA by the locals got its start in 1855 by railroad workers. It is here that the big prairie country ends and the famed Ozarks begin. The land begins to get hilly and the vegetation denser. In the old days of Route 66 the Ozarks provided a vacation playground for those wishing to escape the big cities. Tourist cabins, fishing camps and camping facilities sprang up. A fine example of this rustic industry can be found at Johns Modern Cabins, a few miles west of Rolla on Route 66
       
John's Modern Cabins The cabins are abandoned now but here you can see a fine example of the Route 66 entrepreneurial spirit. Originally built in 1951 by John Dausch in the Golden Years of Route 66, John’s Modern Cabins could be considered a late comer to the Mother Road. In a few short years the creation of the Interstate System would sound the death knell for Route 66 and places like John’s Modern Cabins. In fact the cabins did close with the advent of the Interstate. If you want to see them take exit 176 (Sugartree) off Interstate 44. There appear to be hidden occupants of John's Modern Cabins so be careful. They will seek you out. What I'm talking about are ticks. During the spring and summer months the woods are thick with them. I would recommend taking along some insect repellant and checking yourself carefully after your explorations here. Between the first freeze and the last all should be well though.
       
John's Modern Cabins John's Modern Cabins
   
Today the preservation of these wonderful relics from another era are at stake. The Friends of the Mother Road have taken the preservation of John’s seriously. It’s such an interesting place on Missouri’s Route 66 it would be nice if something could be done to stabilize and preserve at least some if not all of the cabins. Notice the old sign, what a classic! For more information on John’s Modern Cabins and efforts to preserve them you can visit the Friends of the Mother Road web site listed on my Route 66 Links page.

Photographs taken June 2003

Click on an area or city of Route 66 on the map below to take a cyber tour of that section of the  Mother Road

Travel Cyber Route 66 in Missouri

Go West on Route 66

NAVIGATION NOTE: Buckle up and hold on to your mouse! These pages are arranged like the map above, from the western state border to the eastern state border. I have set up this site as if you were traveling from EAST to WEST, much like the Joad family in The Grapes of Wrath. You can click on the Route 66 shields to "travel" the Mother Road in either direction though. Or you can select any shield below to take you to that specific state.

Go East on Route 66

Devil's Elbow

Pacific Area

 

Select the Route 66 State to Visit

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