Route 66 Caravan

America's Biggest Road Trip!

Route 66 Caravan Road Log:
June 11, 2003


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Soggy Missouri Route 66

Cuba's Route 66 Renaissance

When the Route 66 Caravan left Rolla we ended up in a Missouri deluge. We had more severe storms all around us than I could count. In fact we had friends in St. Louis that lost power and still were waiting for it to come back. Yes this portion of Route 66 was soggy indeed. I kinda wish we could send a little of this moisture out west for drought relief. One stop we had to make was in the Route 66 town of Cuba. Evidently it 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's Route 66 Cafe

Cuba today celebrates its Route 66 heritage. The Route 66 Cafe is a gathering place for locals and travelers alike. When the caravan came to town we had to find our videographer, Dennis. Of course the first place we looked was the cafe - we weren't wrong - we had to interrupt his omelet to get some pictures.

        
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.

Cuba's Historical Murals
There are several murals in Cuba now that celebrate their great history.

 

Pacific's Historic Red Cedar Inn

The Red Cedar Inn was built because of Route 66. James Smith I and his brother Bill built the restaurant in 1934 with logs cut from the family farm and hauled to the site on a Ford Model "AA" one ton truck. In 1935 the bar room was added.
Red Cedar Inn The Red Cedar Inn is truly a family business. In 1935 James Smith II, manager of operations, hired 19 year old Katherine Brinkman as a waitress. Well as things turned out James II and Katherine fell in love and were married in 1940. In 1944 James bought the business from his father. Together with their children Ginger and James III they ran the business until James II retired in 1972.
        
In 1987 the Red Cedar Inn was reopened to serve the travelers on old Route 66. Ginger and James III along with mom's help and temporary business consultant Wes Karna brought this famous landmark back to life. Wes Karna agreed to help with the venture for 6 months but something happened - he fell in love with the old restaurant.

Red Cedar Inn Gets Ready fot a Big Event

         
Stretch 57 Chevy! Today Wes Karna is still with the James Smith family as managing partner and cook! What a jolly person he is too. I was infected by his positive attitude and genuine concern for the satisfaction of his customers. Ginger, James III and Wes had a vision and they went for it. It can't get better than that! The Mother Road is in good shape at Pacific, Missouri.
        

Route 66 Caravan Arrives
The Route 66 Caravan Arrives at the Red Cedar Inn

 

Grand Celebration at the Red Cedar Inn

June 11, 2003 will always be a red-letter day at the Red Cedar Inn. History was made today! The Red Cedar Inn was formally presented the certificate to the National Register of Historic Places. On top of that, Hampton's Save-A-Landmark's Route 66 Caravan dropped by to present the Red Cedar Inn its "Roadside Attraction" sign. The Red Cedar Inn is definitely a site worth seeing! But make sure you stay awhile and enjoy a meal too.
Pacific's Mayor

Pacific Mayor Jeff Titter proclaims June 11th the Red Cedar Inn Dedication Day.

         

Katherine Smith (center) has seen a lot of Route 66 history in her 88 years along the Mother Road. James III (left) and Ginger (right) look on as their mom tells it like it was.

The James Smith Family

      
Red Cedar Interior

Celebration Cake

 

The Red Cedar Inn put on one heck of a celebration. They didn't cut corners either. Check out the great Route 66 cake.

     

Red Cedar Celebration

Follow Us to Save Route 66

   

Red Cedar Inn Employees are getting ready to let lose the balloons at the dedication ceremony.

Follow us to save Route 66! Missouri Route 66 Association members Ron Warnick, Jane Dipple, Michelle Neubauer and Fran Eickhoff should be justly proud of all their hard work.

Red Cedar Inn Roadside Attraction Sign

 


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