2021 Guide to Missouri's Route 66

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2021 Guide to Missouri’s




Missouri Life | 1

Get Your Kicks in Maplewood!

Enjoy the Route 66 Tribute and Memorial Plaques, unique shops and award-winning dining.




In the Beginning – Route 66 St. Louis County Franklin County Crawford County Phelps County Pulaski County Laclede County Webster County Greene County Lawrence County Jasper County


Missouri Division of Tourism

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St. Clair


St. James

Sunset Hills Sullivan



St. Louis


Webb City




Missouri Life | 3


Publisher Greg Wood Editorial Director Danita Allen Wood Editor-in-Chief Rebecca French Smith Associate Editor Corin Cesaric Creative Director Holly Kite Designer Dan Bishop

208 Columbia Street, P.O. Box 57 Rocheport, MO 65279 573-514-5453 | Info@MissouriLife.com

Custom Publishing: For your special publications, contact Missouri Life Media at 573-514-5453 or email Marketing@MissouriLife.com.

MARKETING Toll-free 877-570-9898 Director of Sales and Marketing Deborah Marshall, 573-514-5453 Advertising and Marketing Representatives Mary Leonard Bullington, Kansas City, 816-868-7498 Tina Nelson, St. Louis, 314-550-2320 Bob Schwartz, Lake of the Ozarks, 314-650-5767 Advertising and Marketing Coordinator Amy Stapleton, 573-514-5453 Keep the Route alive at Missouri66.org. Special thanks to: Route 66 Association of Missouri

See the newest sign restoration on Route 66

1946 - 2021 Fine Jewelry & Watches Custom Designs Jewelry & Watch Repair 314-645-1122

paramountjewelers.com 4 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

7348 Manchester Rd. Maplewood, MO

Your Choose



ur Advent


Route 66 State Park Travel through history on The Mother Road at Route 66 State Park. Route 66 captured Americans’ imagination and exposed millions of citizens to small towns across the country. Sample a slice of that at Route 66 State Park’s visitor center, which has displays showcasing the road. The park’s location, close to metro St. Louis, provides visitors with a quick getaway to nature.

Onondaga Cave State Park Descend into the depths of Onondaga Cave State Park and drop into a world of wonder: towering stalagmites, dripping stalactites, and active flowstones help make the cave a National Natural Landmark and illustrate why Missouri is often called “The Cave State.” But if you prefer the surface, the park’s Vilander Bluff Natural Area provides a panoramic view of the Meramec River.

Wloe o Srnfed Route 66’s Birthplace

Call for Special Route 66 Rates: 417-447-4466.

WyndhamHotels.com/laquinta/springfield-missouri/ la-quinta-springfield-airport-plaza/overview

Missouri Life | 5

Hooker Cut, between Waynesville and Rolla

IN THE BEGINNING — ROUTE 66 TO MANY, ROUTE 66 RECALLS carefree summer days spent with memories behind and adventure ahead. Yet for all the happiness the familiar highway sign inspires today, the story of US Route 66 begins with angry state officials battling for two simple numbers that would forever change the face of America. In 1926, the Missouri Highway Department printed 600,000 state roadmaps with Route 60 connecting St. Louis on the east with Joplin on the west. This drew complaints from Virginia and Kentucky representatives, who wanted Route 60 to run from Virginia Beach to Los Angeles and Route 62 to run from Chicago to Springfield, Missouri. Tulsa businessman Cyrus Avery and John Page, the highway engineer on the project, suggested the final double-digit designation. Route 66 was approved on April 30, 1926, in the Colonial Hotel, located just east of Springfield Park Central Square. Route 66 would ultimately cover 2,448 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica in a diagonal path across the central states and into the southwest. The path avoided a more traditional linear course in order to link rural communities in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma to Chicago. Route 66 quickly became a boon to the early trucking industry. Because Route 66 was so accessible to small towns, it was the 6 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

first avenue of retreat when the Dust Bowl consumed much of Oklahoma. It has been reported that as many as 210,000 people took Route 66, searching for opportunity in California. John Steinbeck’s classic 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath (and the 1940 film), brought national attention to what the author called “the Mother Road.” By 1931, Route 66 had been completely paved in Missouri, though the rest of the highway wouldn’t be complete until 1938. During the war years, most of the traffic along Route 66 was either military or military families going to visit loved ones. Traffic near Fort Leonard Wood became so heavy that a stretch was expanded into a divided highway. Happier days for Route 66 would come shortly after the end of World War II. The post-war economic boom, more leisure time, and the increasing popularity of the automobile drove more and more families to the road. From the 1940s to the early ’50s, the destination seemed less important than the journey. Hotels, motels, restaurants, gas stations, and roadside attractions grew along the road that by this time had been dubbed, “America’s Main Street.” In 1946, Nat King Cole released Bobby Troup’s song “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66.” Then in 1955, a new attraction in Anaheim, California, changed everything. Disneyland

Macks, Joplin


Boots Court, Carthage

made the destination important. For a few more years, Route 66 would benefit from middle-class families taking their children west to see the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, and other attractions along the road to the Magic Kingdom. The television program, Route 66, premiered on CBS on October 7, 1960, telling the story of two friends searching for America in a Chevrolet Corvette. To this day, Route 66 and the Corvette have become locked together in the American consciousness. The program continued until March 20, 1964. But by then, Route 66’s days were already numbered. In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower had created the Interstate Highway System, based on his war experience with the German autobahn network. With higher speeds, fewer stops, and more convenience, the interstates would soon bypass the innocent charm of Route 66. In 1985, the last stretch of highway bearing the Route 66 designation, in Arizona, was decommissioned. Fortunately, nostalgia for Route 66 was just beginning. Missouri had led the way for the creation of Route 66 in the early part of the twentieth century. As the century drew to a close, Missouri once again championed the cause of Route 66, refusing to let the road die. In 1990, the Route 66

Route 66 would ultimately cover 2,448 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica in a diagonal path across the central states and into the southwest. By 1931, Route 66 had been completely paved in Missouri, though the rest of the highway wouldn’t be complete until 1938.

Association of Missouri formed to preserve, promote, and develop old Route 66 in the state. Governor John Ashcroft signed a bill that same year that led to the posting of more than 350 Historic Route 66 markers along the old highway. In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the National Route 66 Preservation Bill, providing $10 million in matching fund grants to preserve and restore historic features along the route. Today, one of the longest preserved stretches of the original Route 66 still runs from Springfield, Missouri, to Tulsa, Oklahoma. In Missouri, state roads designated with a 66 in the name (Routes 366, 266, and 66) are all part of the original sections of Route 66. You’ll encounter several of them in the pages that follow. To the towns and businesses along the original Route 66, the boom years were nothing short of magical. To anyone who experienced Route 66 in those halcyon days—days of wigwam courts and Stuckey’s pecan rolls, of cars that didn’t have air conditioning but restaurants that did, of roadside attractions that offered the lure of exotic experiences along with the promise of clean restrooms—it’s a memory of an America that begs to be rediscovered and shared. History tells us how we got to where we are. How to get where you’re going is up to you. Happy trails. Missouri Life | 7

ST. LOUIS COUNTY THE COUNTY IS COMPRISED of more than a dozen towns, with Route 66 having many different alignments in or around the city of St. Louis. The old Route 66 follows the towns of Maplewood, Brentwood, Kirkwood, Des Peres, and Ballwin, while the 1932 realignment west of St. Louis trails from St. Louis to Eureka, Allentown to Pacific.

The former Coral Court Motel, St. Louis Shellee Graham

St. Louis, considered the Gateway to the West, has a plethora of sights and attractions and warrants a couple of days of exploration. Chain of Rocks

Museum of Transportation, Kirkwood

Bridge, the Gateway Arch, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, the wonderful Saint Louis Zoo, and numerous

8 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

The Chain of Rocks Bridge, St. Louis

Ted Drewes, St. Louis

Lynn deLearie, Jeff Hirsch

museums are just some of the must-see attractions. If the day is sunny, and it usually is, Route 66 State Park features classic hiking and biking trails and is a great way to experience the spirit of St. Louis. Be sure to check out the visitor center housed in the former Bridgehead Inn, a 1935 roadhouse that sat on the original Route 66. The visitor center has exhibits and unique factoids on display about the historic route that will both educate and entertain you. It is worth a stop.

Des Peres Brentwood



Kirkwood This outdoor festival, held downtown, features live music and vintage vehicles. The Cars and Guitars theme speaks to the transportation and music history of the region. Held annually on the second Saturday of June. For more info: KirkwoodMo.org/carsandguitars GOOD TO KNOW: The Gateway Arch is 630-feet (192-meters) long and just as wide. It was built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States. Completed in 1965, it was constructed to withstand earthquakes and high winds.


• Chain of Rocks Bridge • Calvary Cemetery • The Gateway Arch • Donut Drive-In • Ted Drewes

• Coral Court Motel • Museum of Transportation

• Route 66 State Park • Paramount Jewelers

ROUTE 66 KICKS Founded in 1854, Calvary Cemetery, located near Interstate 70 and the West Florissant Avenue exit, is the second oldest cemetery in the Archdiocese.

Missouri Life | 9

FRANKLIN COUNTY FRANKLIN COUNTY, which is located in eastern Missouri near St. Louis, is the fourth largest county in the state. Named after one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, the county is home to more than a dozen towns, villages, and communities through which the two-lane ribbon road snakes: Pacific, Gray Summit, Villa Ridge, St. Clair, Stanton, and Sullivan. Sunset Motel, Villa Ridge

Luring you to stop, enjoy, and get your kicks are the now faded Gardenway Motel sign in Gray Summit, the majestic Meramec Caverns, and the Jesse James Wax Museum in Stanton, the historic 1856 Harney House mansion, and the Meramec State Park in Sullivan. As you meander through leafy forests and pass peaceful rivers, Franklin County is a great way to get a feel for Missouri’s 66.

Jesse James Wax Museum, Stanton

Gardenway Motel, Gray Summit


12 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

Meramec Caverns, Stanton

Lester Turilli, Notley Hawkins

The caverns are Missouri’s largest commercial caves that lie just beneath the lush hills of the Meramec Valley. The discovery of the caverns first came about in the early 1700s, when French explorer Philipp Renault journeyed through the unexplored lands of the state alongside an Osage Indian guide. They were initially called “Saltpeter Caves” due to the abundance of potassium nitrate found in the caves.


Temperatures in Meramec Caverns rarely rise above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so bring a sweater. It takes about an hour and a half to complete the tour round-trip, so plan accordingly and wear comfortable shoes.



• Jensen’s Point • Shaw Nature Reserve • The Diamonds

• Remains of the

• The Gardenway

• Sunset Motel • Harney House • Meramec State Park

Restaurant (closed) Motel (closed)

• Jesse James Museum • Meramec Caverns

Beacon Motel

• Red Cedar Inn, built in 1934

As part of the Historic Route 66 Hydrant Mural Project, Sullivan’s public works department has painted twenty-seven fire hydrants to depict a separate area, city, or site along Route 66. The colorfully painted hydrants can be seen from one end of the Sullivan city limits to the other.

Missouri Life | 13

CRAWFORD COUNTY CRAWFORD COUNTY was founded in 1829 and named after US Senator William H. Crawford of Georgia. The county, which is located in the east-central portion of the state, is comprised of several quaint, but memorable towns and communities.

Route 66 winds through St. Cloud, Bourbon, Cuba, and Fanning. Crawford County is famous for the Viva Cuba’s Mural Project, and Cuba was dubbed the “Route 66 Mural City” by Missouri legislature in 2002. The forty-two-foot tall Route 66 Rocker in Fanning, the Crawford County Historical Society & Museum, the incredible 1930s Wagon Wheel Motel, the tasty Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q restaurant, and Weir on 66 in Cuba are just some of the mustsee sights.

McGinnis Mural, Cuba

Wagon Wheel Motel

14 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg

The Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba

Dave Thomas

The Wagon Wheel Cabins, Cafe, and Station was established in the early 1900s after Robert W. and Margaret Martin purchased the land in 1934. After World War II, John and Winifred Mathis purchased the cabins. The iconic Wagon Wheel neon sign was created by John at his kitchen table. Today the Wagon Wheel is owned and operated by Connie Echols and is the oldest continuously operated motel on Route 66.


Cuba Formerly known as The Route 66 Race to the Rocker, this is a four-mile race down Historic Route 66. Held annually on the fourth Saturday in March. For more info: RunningTheRailsOnRoute66.com

Notley Hawkins, Crawford County Tourism

GOOD TO KNOW: Don’t miss the fifteen-foot-long, steel replica of the Cuba-Salem branch train that sits at the Route 66/Highway 19 intersection in Cuba.

Weir on 66 in the 1930’s Phillips Gas Station, Cuba


• Wagon Wheel Motel • Cuba Murals • Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q • Osage Monument Project

• Giant Route 66 Rocker • Onondaga Cave State Park

• Crawford County

Historical Society & Museum • Cuba-Salem replica train • Weir on 66

ROUTE 66 KICKS The business district of Cuba was originally located closer to the railroad tracks that run through town. In the early 1930s, Cuba merchants moved to be closer to Route 66.

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Cuba, Missouri...Picture yourself here! CUBA, MISSOURI, is a midwestern locale just a short drive from St. Louis, Branson, or Lake of the Ozarks. With its ideal location in central Missouri at Exit 208 on I-44 and Highway 19, the city of Cuba is a picturesque town with plenty of attractions, eateries, accommodations, and opportunities for fun. Situated atop the Ozark Plateau, Cuba is the epitome of an American small town. Route 66 travelers are pleased to find a quiet uptown filled with quaint independently owned shops and restaurants. Local residents will offer a friendly wave while shop owners step out to say hello and answer questions about attractions along Route 66, which runs through the center of town. Since 2002, Cuba proudly boasts its official state legislature designation as the “Route 66 Mural City.” It all started with Viva Cuba, a beautification committee of volunteers dedicated to keeping the town clean and beautiful for future generations. The first mural was commissioned by Peoples Bank in celebration of their one16 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

hundred-year anniversary. From there, the project expanded to thirteen more outdoor mural projects. To commemorate Cuba the murals provide a historical account of local heritage, encounters with celebrities, and community good will. In mid-October, the Cuba Fest celebration offers free narrative trolley tours to the murals and other attractions in Cuba. Stick around for a chili cook-off, cemetery tours, free music, and much more. Travelers will find plenty of things to do in Cuba. In fact, upon arrival in Cuba, the thirty-five-foot-tall Osage Trail Legacy ™ Monument greets travelers at the Visitor Center. Inside the center visitors learn more about the impact of the Osage Nation, pick up maps and brochures, or just grab a free cup of coffee. Pick up information on local attractions like the Cuba Lakes Golf Course, Onondaga Cave, float trips, state parks, and other adventures. VisitCubaMo.com 71 State Hwy. P, Cuba, MO 65453 573-885-2531


Cuba residents take great pride in its history! The Crawford County Historical Society Museum has epic exhibits that include handmade quilts, vintage apparel, Osage artifacts, archaic farm tools, and much more. For those who love vintage toys, there is the Antique & Collectable Toys on Wheels mini-museum located inside the Midwest Travel Plaza.


Eat, drink, and be merry at locally owned and operated eateries. Choose from award-winning barbecue from Missouri Hick, or try comic book-inspired gourmet options at Audrey’s Eatery located inside the Little Shop of Comics. All aboard at Frisco’s Grill and Pub for great American comfort food in a train station atmosphere. Savor a great breakfast or lunch at Shelly’s Route 66 Cafe. Take your taste buds south of the border at Riviera Maya where the margaritas are cold and the salsa is hot! New to the scene this year, Weir on 66 is now open at the corner of Route 66 and Highway 19. But wait, there’s more! Visit Belmont Vineyards or Peaceful Bend Winery for local wine, brews, and delicious menu options that include locally sourced ingredients. In southern Crawford County, you will find Red Moose Vineyard specializing in local wine and events.

Weir on 66, the newest eatery in Cuba.

Osage Meeting in Missouri Mural


Sleep like a baby at many accommodation options. For those who love Mother Road nostalgia, stay at the iconic Wagon Wheel Motel, the oldest operating motel on Route 66. If the great outdoors is more your style, camp at the Meramec Valley Resort and enjoy wireless internet, paddle boats, pools, and tennis courts. Additional accommodations include Super 8, Days Inn, and Cuba Inn, and even AirBnB options like Meramec Riverside Lodge and Retreat.

Shelly’s Route 66 Café, a mother road classic!

Download our free VISITCUBAMO app (Google Play or Apple Store) and gain access to all things Cuba! Learn more at VisitCubaMo.com or call us at 573-885-2531. Missouri Life | 17

PHELPS COUNTY PHELPS COUNTY is located in the central portion of the state of Missouri, and is home to the energetic town of Rolla, the largest town in the county. Other smaller towns that play host to the Mother Road include Rosati, St. James, Doolittle, and Arlington.

Totem Pole Trading Post, Rolla Jax Welborn

The county boasts dozens of fun and interesting attractions for visitors, like the Vacuum Cleaner Museum in Rolla and the St. James Winery in St. James, the Totem Pole Trading Post, and Stonehenge Monument in Rolla, and the remnants of John’s Modern Cabins near Newburg.

Vacuum Cleaner Museum, Rolla

John’s Modern Cabins

Stonehenge Monument, Rolla

John’s Modern Cabins, Newburg 18 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

Notley Hawkins

Nestled in the heart of Missouri on a dead-end stretch of old Route 66 is John’s Modern Cabins— an abandoned ghost tourist court that had an impactful history not only on Route 66, but also on the state of Missouri as a whole. Today, the decaying remains of the wooden cabins and the faded neon sign are all that remain of John’s Modern Cabins, once a proud staple of the area.



Rolla to Waynesville This event is a strategy driving game with eight adventures. Points are given out with the completion of each adventure, and extra points will be awarded based on time. Solve trivia and complete given tasks to win. Held annually in October. For more info: Route66Challenge.com GOOD TO KNOW: Currently located on private property, John’s Modern Cabins has attained sacred status among Route 66 fans and travelers. A preservation group is working on preserving the lone surviving log cabin and the neon sign, safeguarding a piece of a Phelps County gem that once was.


Museum • St. James Winery and Public House Brewing Company • Meramec Vineyards Winery • Kokomo Joe’s Family Fun Center

• Soda & Scoops on Route 66

• Frisco Steam Engine, Schuman Park

• Rolla’s Stonehenge • Totem Pole Trading Post • John’s Modern Cabins,

ROUTE 66 KICKS St. James Winery in St. James opened in 1970 and has grown to be Missouri’s largest and mostawarded winery. Next door is the Public House Brewing Company, offering craft beer and locally sourced foods.

on private property

• Vernelle’s Motel,

now a private residence

Missouri Life | 19

Visit Rolla! Notley Hawkins

EVERY TOWN STARTS with a single house. For Rolla, Missouri, the county seat for Phelps County, that first house was built by John Webber in 1844. EuropeanAmerican settlers were making their way to the area to work as farmers and iron workers along the nearby rivers, and the town began to grow. Railroad contractor Edmund Ward Bishop is considered to be the founder of Rolla, and the community officially became a town in 1858. Since then, Rolla has flourished into an enjoyable Missouri destination with exciting stops throughout the town offering plenty of recreational fun. Rolla is home to a partial replica of the famous Stonehenge Monument and the headquarters for the Mark Twain National Forest. The town also houses the National Bank of 20 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

Rolla Building, today occupied by the Phelps County Bank, and the Phelps County Courthouse, both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For theater enthusiasts, catch a show or two at the Ozark Actors Theatre, one of only two professional theaters in rural Missouri that showcase the performing arts through orchestra, comedy, and play. For the outdoorsy traveler, Rolla has you covered with a selection of recreational fun: golfing, fishing, go-karting, and more. And if you are artistically inclined, Rolla is home to several galleries and art exhibits where local artists and artisans are sure to inspire you. So, circle Rolla on your travel map and head over to VisitRolla.com to begin to plan your adventure in Rolla and enjoy it to the fullest.


Veterans Memorial Park Stretch your legs and learn some military history. The eleven-acre park features a ¼- mile Freedom Walk and seventeen monuments. Frisco 1501 Engine Experience Rolla’s fascinating railroad history with a visit to see a 1500 series engine that was built in 1923 for Frisco Railroad. Only thirty were built.

Ozark Actors Theatre, Rolla


Fugitive Beach The Fugitive Beach offers over an acre of water, sand beach, sixty-inch water slide, pavilions, and more. A family-friendly summer destination, it is open May – September. Also available on site is the Fugitive Beach Bar & Grill.

Fugitve Beach, Rolla

Audubon Trails Nature Center – This unique seventy-acre reserve features five distinct ecosystems. Run, walk, hike, or bike — you will enjoy being in the Ozark outdoors. SplashZone Waterpark The state-of-the-art outdoor family aquatic center includes the world’s largest fifty-eight-foot diameter vortex, water slides, a lazy river, underwater benches, and lots more. It’s the perfect place for kids, and adults, to blow off some road-travel steam.

Frisco 1501, Rolla

Missouri Life | 21

PULASKI COUNTY PULASKI COUNTY, formed in 1833, was named after Revolutionary War general Polish Count Casimir Pulaski. Set right in the heart of the Ozarks, Pulaski County has no shortage of things to see and do, including getting your kicks on the county’s thirty-three original miles of Historic Route 66. The old two-lane highway winds its way through the towns and communities of Devils Elbow, St. Robert, Waynesville, Buckhorn, Laquey, and Gascozark.

Hooker Cut Hooker Cut is one of the strangest and most unique spots in Missouri. In order to ease traffic congestion and enhance safety on the two-lane alignment of the Old Road, the War Department decided that a four-lane highway would help to alleviate the congestion in heavily populated areas and facilitate movement of troops and military equipment West. 22 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

Devils Elbow Bridge

Uranus Fudge Factory & Entertainment Complex, St. Robert

The Old Stagecoach Stop, Waynesville

Pulaski County Tourism Bureau

The town of Waynesville, which began as a trading post, was adopted as the county seat in 1843. The county is known for its unique attractions like the 1923 steel truss Route 66 Bridge at Devils Elbow, the Uranus Fudge Factory & Entertainment Complex in St. Robert, and the Frog Rock and Roubidoux Bridge in Waynesville. Rich, well-preserved history is also present in the Trail of Tears Memorial, 1903 Route 66 Courthouse, and the Old Stagecoach Stop Museum. Also not to miss is the engineering marvel of its time, Hooker Cut.

Jax Welborn

Roubidoux Spring, Waynesville

GOOD TO KNOW: Though the general idea that inspired Hooker Cut in the early 1940s is a technique that is often seen around the United States and the world today, at its time it was a construction miracle. The ninety-foot-deep cut was noted as being the deepest road cut in America for many years.


• Hooker Cut • Devils Elbow Bridge • Shelden’s Market • Uranus Fudge Factory

& Entertainment Complex • Old Stagecoach Stop (open Saturdays April to September)

• Waynesville Square • Frog Rock • Roubidoux Bridge • 1903 Pulaski County

Courthouse Museum

• Trail of Tears

Memorial Trail

ROUTE 66 KICKS The Pulaski County Courthouse is the most prominent building in town. Built in 1903 in the Romanesque Revival style, it is home to a museum with Civil War, World Wars I and II, and Desert Storm displays, as well as the original courtroom complete with wooden jury box.

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Welcome to America’s Heartland

NO OTHER HIGHWAY in the history of the United States is as celebrated as Route 66. It is a throwback to a simpler time, when the idea of extended traveling was still a novelty. The Mother Road through Pulaski County holds special appeal for modern-day travelers with its blend of natural preservation, historic landmarks, and quirky roadside attractions; some alignments are from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s. Still visible is the historic Hooker Church and Graveyard, which dates to the late 1800s. As you travel through Hooker Cut, take in the popular postcard landscape that was called the deepest road cut in America. Here you’ll see some of the best 1943 curbed pavement in Missouri. The half curb was designed to keep autos on the road but, often as not, would tip them over. Experience the beautiful hamlet of Devils Elbow, which was bypassed in the 1940s when Highway 66 was realigned. Today’s visitors can cross the Big Piney River on the original 1923 Devils Elbow truss bridge and the 1942 Big Piney River Bridge (an excellent example of a concrete open spandrel arch bridge). Stop at the Scenic Overlook to view the picturesque 1941 United States Army Railroad Bridge, known as Schoolhouse Bridge, 24 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

in the Ozark valley below. Descending into the county seat of Waynesville, watch for Frog Rock overlooking Route 66. Stop by the 1903 Courthouse Museum, one of two courthouses located along Route 66 in Missouri, and then visit the historic Old Stagecoach Stop across the street; it has stood since the 1850s. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building has served as a stagecoach stop, private residence, post office, and Civil War hospital. The road that was once the east/west thoroughfare for travelers in a hurry now serves sightseers taking a more relaxed pace to discover stops at one-of-a-kind places such as the National Park Service Trail of Tears Memorial and Roubidoux Spring. The Pulaski County Visitor Center, located in St. Robert, is just a short distance off Route 66. Visit in person or online for your Route 66 travel resources plus local lodging and dining information. Pulaski County Visitor Center 137 St. Robert Blvd. St. Robert , MO 573-336-6355 PulaskiCountyUSA.com


Step back in time and tour two museums, the 1903 Courthouse Museum & Old Stagecoach Stop Museum . The courthouse features local history and a fullsize courtroom. The Stagecoach Stop offers nine rooms restored to showcase the life of this historic building, which originated as a log cabin in 1834.

1923 Devils Elbow Bridge


Trout Fishing at the Roubidoux River, Waynesville – Plan to cast a line in and catch some Rainbow or Brown trout. Catch and keep March to October. A fishing and trout permit is needed.

Pulaski County Tourism

Uranus Sideshow Museum – The museum is home to live show performers, historic sideshow pieces, and shock and awe displays that will have your jaw dropping.

Hooker Cut, Hooker

Paddle Missouri’s Rivers Get away from it all and enjoy a scenic float trip along the Big Piney and Gasconade Rivers. You may want to bring your waterproof camera for this trip to capture the abundant wildlife.


Grab selfies along Pulaski’s 33 miles of Route 66. Gorgeous views along the 1923 Devils Elbow bridge, murals at the former Devils Elbow Café and stops located in Waynesville at the 8-foot Route 66 Shield, and Interactive Canoe Mural. Numerous businesses offer unique selfie stops. Access Pulaski’s County’s “Enhance Your Tour Tools” at PulaskiCountyUSA. com/route-66 to discover more great photo stops along the way.

Waynesville Route 66 Shield

Missouri Life | 25

LACLEDE COUNTY LACLEDE COUNTY was established in 1849 and named after Pierre Laclede, the founder of St. Louis. The communities of Hazelgreen, Lebanon, Phillipsburg, and Conway are settled along the county’s stretch of 66. Nestled in Laclede County is the bustling town of Lebanon. The town was founded in 1849 and named after Lebanon, Tennessee—the hometown of one of its prominent settlers, Reverend Benjamin Hooker. Lebanon is particularly popular for its attractive and unmissable presence on the iconic roadway of Route 66.

The Route 66 Museum, Lebanon

Scenic Laclede County

Munger Moss Motel Even though the pool is no longer in use, at the time, the Munger Moss Motel had the first swimming pool in town. Current owner Ramona Lehman and her late husband Bob purchased the Munger Moss Motel in 1971.

26 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

Munger Moss Motel, Lebanon

Notley Hawkins, Jax Welborn, Notley Hawkins

Today, you can cruise the five-mile section of the original road guided by commemorative Route 66 signs. Just north of Lebanon is the Lake of the Ozarks, which offers cruises, concerts, and an outlet mall. Laclede County has a reputation for its wide array of historical sites and museums like the Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge, which is currently closed to traffic, Route 66 Museum, the Munger Moss Motel, and Locust Creek Covered Bridge Historic Site, which has been featured in dozens of films and TV shows. Don’t miss Wrinks Market, which recently reopened after a long hiatus.

The Route 66 Museum, Lebanon

GOOD TO KNOW: The Conway Welcome Center in Lebanon offers a playground, restrooms, and vending machines. Many Route 66 themed designs can be seen, including a shelter inspired by the painted barns advertising Meramec Caverns.


• Munger Moss Motel • Wrinks Market • The Conway Welcome Center

• Gasconade River

• Laclede County

Route 66 Museum

• Lebanon I-44 Speedway

In the early 1920s, Lebanon officials sent the high school band to Jefferson City to perform for the State Highway Commission in a campaign to get Route 66 to come through town.


Missouri Life | 27

WEBSTER COUNTY ESTABLISHED IN 1855 and nestled in the southern portion of Missouri is Webster County. Webster was named by Pioneer Legislator John F. McMahan, supposedly after then Senator and Secretary of State, Daniel Webster. McMahan is also credited for granting the county’s judicial seat of Marshfield its name, in honor of his hometown of Marshfield, Massachusetts. When 66 was routed through the county in the late 1920s, it gave birth to a number of mom-and-pop stores and motels, whose traces can still be felt today.

In Webster, the Mother Road glides through the quaint little towns of Sampson, Niangua, and Marshfield, promising motorists a tranquil journey. Known for its county fair, which claims the spot as the longest continuous county fair in the state of Missouri, Webster County offers plenty of ways to get your kicks on the route: Webster County History Museum, the Baker Observatory in Marshfield, and the replica of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Webster County History Museum, Marshfield

Hubble Telescope Replica Route 66 Murals, Marshfield

Hubble Space Telescope Replica, Marshfield 28 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

Jimmy Emmerson

Edwin Powell Hubble is a prominent American astronomer after whom the Hubble Space Telescope is named. He’s been regarded as one of the most impactful astronomers in history. In honor of this prominent son, a 1,200-pound replica of the Hubble Space Telescope was made, and today it stands in the Marshfield courthouse yard.


Wild Animal Safari has a Strafford address but is in this county. The drivethrough animal park has more than 70 different species and 750 exotic animals.



• Webster County

History Museum • Hubble Space Telescope Replica • Forty-foot Route 66 Mural in Marshfield • Conway Welcome Center

• Hidden Waters Nature Park

• One-Mile Winding Climb

• Wild Animal Safari • Abbylee Courts • Oak Vale Park • Rockhaven

A new mural was completed in June 2020. The mural commemorates the high geographic point Marshfield occupies, as well as Route 66, the Trail of Tears, U.S. Bicycle Route 76, the downtown area and the Cherry Blossom Festival, all of which draw a large number of visitors to Marshfield. It was painted by Samantha Cox and Andrea Ehrhardt. Missouri Life | 29

GREENE COUNTY AS THE FOURTH MOST populous county in Missouri, Greene holds the enviable honor of being home to “the birthplace of Route 66” — Springfield. The iconic highway meanders through the towns of Strafford, Springfield, and Plano. Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven, Springfield

The Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven The Best Western Rail Haven, a vintage Route 66 motel that opened in 1938, still stands today as a source of classic Route 66 charm with modern amenities and comfort. Back in 1956, “The King,” Elvis Presley, stayed here after a performance at the Shrine Mosque, another Springfield landmark. 30 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

Giant Hamburg Sign at Red's, Springfield

History Museum on the Square, Springfield

Steak ’n Shake, Springfield

Gorup de Besanez via Wikimedia Commons, Springfield, MO, CVB

Here you will find an abundance of retro Route 66 roadside gems like the World’s Largest Fork, the Hangar Kafe, Fantastic Caverns (which is the only cave in North America to offer a completely ride-through tour), and the Pythian Castle. You can also find the iconic Gillioz Theatre, the Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park, the Mother Road Antiques & Uniques, the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven, the Rest Haven Court, Red’s Giant Hamburg, and the Route 66 Car Museum.

BIRTHPLACE OF ROUTE 66 FESTIVAL Springfield This downtown event runs for two days. The event features a car and motorcycle show, a parade, live music, Route 66 exhibits, and a 6.6K run. Held annually on the second weekend of August. For more info: Route66FestivalSGF.com

Birthplace of Route 66 Festival

GOOD TO KNOW: The Gillioz Theatre, located on

Park Central East in downtown Springfield, hosted the premieres of two Ronald Reagan movies: The Winning Team and She’s Working Her Way Through College.


Car Museum • Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven • Giant Hamburg sign • Route 66 Roadside Park • Gillioz Theatre • Steak ‘n Shake

• History Museum

on the Square • The Shrine Mosque • Park Central Square, site of the shootout between Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt • Denney’s Harley-Davidson

ROUTE 66 KICKS Red’s Giant Hamburg has long been credited with having the first drive-through service window in the world. The local landmark was razed in 1997, but a replica of the sign is at the new Route 66 Roadside Park in Springfield.

Missouri Life | 31

Take a


journey through

VisitJoplinMO.com #JoplinRocks

32 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66


Come See Us in


We’ll Show You Around! Take a few days to explore the Birthplace of Route 66—Springfield, Missouri! Celebrate the legacy of the Mother Road at the newly opened History Museum on the Square, see classic cars at the Route 66 Car Museum and enjoy a burger and shake at one of our vintage American diners, all while experiencing the local arts and culture scene in Springfield!

Plan your Mother-Road trip at


Point your smartphone camera at this QR code to find out more about things to do in Springfield, Missouri.

Missouri Life | 33

LAWRENCE COUNTY LAWRENCE COUNTY, which was founded in 1845, has been shaped by the arrival of the railroad and highways. When Route 66 was routed through the northern part of the county in the 1920s, it crossed through the historic towns of Halltown, Paris Springs Junction, Spencer, Heatonville, Albatross, Phelps, and Plew.

Found in the heart of Lawrence County is the darling ghost town of Spencer, a small community that was developed on the original 1926 roadbed of US 66. The town included a classic 1930 Spencer Store and the Spencer Cafe and Barbershop. Though roadside attractions like the motel and Camp Lookout are no longer around, they are alive in the small town’s spirit and lively residents’ memories. Don’t miss out on the great conversations happening at Gary's Gay Parita Sinclair Station in Paris Springs Junction.

Spencer ghost town, Spencer

Gary’s Gay Parita Sinclair Station

34 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

Sign from Route 66 days, Spencer

Gary’s Gay Parita Sinclair Station, Paris Springs Junction

Barbara Barns, Missouri Division of Tourism

The famous pit stop was opened in 1930 by Gay and Fred Mason in Paris Springs Junction. Named after Fred’s wife, Gay, the station became a favorite stop along the old road. After Gay’s death in 1953 and a fire that razed the station in 1955, it found new owners in Gary and Lena Turner who built a replica of the original 1930s Sinclair gas station that stands to this day.


Route 66 in Lawrence County, is often called the “ghost stretch” because of the number of abandoned towns left when traffic was rerouted to Interstate 44. The ruins are still there.


• Whitehall Mercantile (closed) • Richard’s Antiques (closed) • Cleo’s Beauty Shop (closed) • Gary’s Gay Parita Station

• Three-Span Truss

Bridge and the Ghost Town of Spencer • Old Holsum Bread sign (being restored) • Lottie’s Soda Shoppe

ROUTE 66 KICKS Lawrence County which has 25.1 miles of Route 66, also has the longest straight stretch of the old road.

Missouri Life | 35

JASPER COUNTY JASPER COUNTY is located in the southwest portion of Missouri, with its county seat in the historic city of Carthage. The majestic Jasper Courthouse, built between 1894 and 1895 and located right in the Carthage square, is one of Missouri’s finest, and is now included on the National Register of Historic Places. Route 66 moves through the towns and communities of Avilla, Carthage, Brooklyn Heights, Carterville, Webb City, and Joplin on to the Missouri-Kansas state line.

Boots Court Motel, Carthage

Red Oak II, Carthage

SuperTam on 66, Carterville 36 | Guide to Missouri’s Route 66

Christine Smith, David J. Schwartz – Pics On Route 66

The vintage Carthage 66 Drive-In Theatre and the incredibly cool Boots Court Motel (which was once a favored motel stop of Clark Gable) are Route 66 icons. Not-to-miss attractions include the Avilla Post Office built in 1915, Red Oak II, and the SuperTam on 66 in Carterville. Webb City has a charming historic downtown district with vintage redbrick buildings from the 1880s to the 1930s still intact. Joplin, the fourth largest metropolitan area in Missouri, has various alignments of Route 66, so plan to take your time here and explore a bit. The Fifth and Main historic district, The Route 66 Mural Park (take a selfie with the red sports car), the Wilder’s Steakhouse, and the Bonnie and Clyde Garage Apartment all offer an opportunity to take a step back in time and get some good pictures.


Stretch your legs and see the historic Thomas Hart Benton and Anthony Benton Gude murals in Joplin.


• Avilla Post Office • Boots Court Motel • Red Oak II • Precious Moments • Jasper County

• Praying Hands

• 66 Drive-In Theatre • SuperTam on 66

• Hogs & Hotrods



• Joplin City Hall • Route 66 Mural Park • Woody’s Wood-Fire Pizza


ROUTE 66 KICKS In July of 1861, Union and Confederate troops collided in a clash that became known as the Battle of Carthage. The impact of the battle is displayed today in the Battle of Carthage Civil War Museum, which features several unique exhibits, dozens of artifacts, and a multitude of stories. Missouri Life | 37

Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios Oklahoma road trips call for Oklahoma trinkets, and this Tulsa shop is fully stocked! Don’t forget to take pics with the tallest trinket of all: a 21-foot space cowboy.

Before your trip, order a free Route 66 Guide & Passport at TravelOK.com. Collect all 66 stamps as you go!

The Coleman Theatre

With gargoyles, a pipe organ and stunning architecture, this Miami theatre is mesmerizing.

Ready for Oklahoma’s 400+ miles of Mother Road magic? Browse more iconic itineraries at Travel

The Butcher BBQ Stand

Savor some burnt ends at this hopping Wellston joint — Jack Daniel’s 2018 World Champion!

Bazaar on 66

Get your kicks & knick-knack fix at this Elk City shop… from Route 66 gifts to retro digs!


Visit ChoiceHotels.com/Missouri-Hotels or call 1-877-424-4777 to get our lowest price guaranteed.**

*Rate Restrictions: Valid only for Choice Privileges members (program enrollment is f ree). The reservation must be made on ChoiceHotels.com at participating hotels and must be made at least 7, 14, 21 or 30 days in advance, which will vary based on the hotel for which a reservation is being made. Subject to availability, the rate starts at 15% off Best Available Rate, is noncancellable, non-changeable and non-refundable. Your credit card will be charged for the total reservation amount within 2448 hours of booking. This rate has a seven (7) night maximum length of stay. Rooms at this discount are limited. Offer is not available to groups and cannot be combined with any other discount. Choice Hotels reserves the right to change or discontinue this offer at any time. Eligibility restricted to U.S. and Canadian residents. Members must book direct at ChoiceHotels.com/ Missouri-Hotels or call 1-877-424-4777. All Choice Hotels properties are independently owned and operated. **Guarantee applies to Third Party Website standard rates for a Choice single or double occupancy room that are at least 1% and $1.00 less than the Choice rate. Claims must be submitted within 24 hours of booking and 48+ hours prior to 6 PM check-in time the day of hotel arrival. Other terms also apply; see www.choicehotels.com/legal/best-rate-rules for full terms and conditions. ©2021 Choice Hotels International. All rights reserved.