The Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri is having a “Show & Tell” Party on Oct 19th

October 12, 2012

It may be something you— Drive, Ride, Eat, Drink, Wear, Write, Sing, Buy or Make.

Halloween is coming and there may be a few mysterious things going on ! What really is in Wilber’s Trunk? Will Joyce’s ghost make a visit? Maybe a new Neon Sign Lighting!

There will be a Bonfire of course! Starting around 5:30… BYOB and a lawn chair.

Route 66 Association of Missouri Welcomes New Business Members

September 12, 2012

We welcome the following new business members and thank them for their support.

Avilla Post Office Building – Avilla

Country Cousin Antique Mall – Bourbon

Stewart’s 66 Cafe – Carterville

Cuba Super 8 – Cuba

Shelly’s Route 66 Cafe – Cuba

Cooper’s 66 – Joplin

Ace Muffler Shop – Lebanon

Madison Street Grill – Lebanon

Classic Thunderbird Club of St. Louis – Manchester

Down South Cafe – Pacific

Mahler’s Truck and Auto Repair – Pacific

Henderson’s Antiques – St. Clair

Old Bus Stop Coffee Shop and Art Gallery, LLC – St. Clair

River Hills Traveler – St. Clair

St. Clair Historical Museum – St. Clair

Auto Evaluators, Inc. – St. Louis

Banc Card Midwest, Inc. – St. Louis

Fireworks Supermarkets – Springfield

Louie’s Drive In aka Vaughn’s – Springfield

Route 66 Barber Shop – Springfield

Springfield-Greene County Library Local History Department – Springfield

Springfield/Route 66 KOA – Springfield

Your Big Hair Day Studio – Shannon Medley, Stylist – Springfield

Alice Delcour – Strafford

Odie’s Auto Repair – Strafford

Route 66 Tees – Sullivan

Sanders Service – Sunset Hills

Stovall’s Grove – Wildwood

Pearl Auto Works – Willard

Weezy’s Route 66 Bar & Grill – Hamel, IL

Litchfield History Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center Association – Litchfield, IL

Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket – Willowbrook, IL

SACS 66 – Baxter Springs, KS

Clanton’s Cafe – Vinita, OK

Shout & Sack C-Store & Deli – Vinita, OK

The Blue Swallow Motel – Tucumcari, NM

Lees Leasing Company LLC – New Salem, PA

Mother Road Music -Waverly, TN

Please patronize the business members that support what we do. Here is a link to the complete list:
Route 66 Association of Missouri Business Members

Race to the Rocker, March 31, 2012 in Cuba, MO

November 29, 2011
Race to the Rocker, March 31, 2012 in Cuba, MO

Race to the Rocker, March 31, 2012 in Cuba, MO

Book Signing at the Wagon Wheel Motel on October 7, 2011

September 13, 2011
Book Signing at the Wagon Wheel Motel on October 7, 2011

Book Signing at the Wagon Wheel Motel on October 7, 2011

Wagon Wheel Motel kicks off 75th Anniversary celebration

August 5, 2011

With rooms rented to Route 66ers for the1930’s price of $3.50 a night and 30’s food prices, the Historic Landmark Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri is celebrating its 75th Anniversary on August 20-21 in style. As the oldest motel on Route 66, the Wagon Wheel Café building, gas station, and motel earned its placement on the National Register of Historic Places.

Connie Echols, who bought the old motel in 2009, finished a “hands-on” restoration this spring by redoing all the rooms, adding two decks, and a bike shelter/pavilion. Each room has an authentic feel of a Route 66 motel but with updates of WiFi and flat screen TVs. Rooms are of various sizes and amenities with details on the Wagon Wheel website (

Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri

Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri

Now Echols is ready to celebrate the history of the Wagon Wheel with an Open House and Celebration with a 1930s Bonnie and Clyde theme. Car Clubs have been invited to bring cars of the era to the two-day event that begins with lunch on Saturday, August 20. Vintage dress is encouraged if you would like to get with the spirit of the event.

During the two-day Open House Celebration there will be room tours, games, food, music, book signings by Route 66 enthusiast Joe Sonderman and Wagon Wheel historian Riva Echols, and an explanation of the Route 66 GPS program by its creator River Pilot. Employees of the Wagon Wheel and  families associated with the Wagon Wheel are invited to meet and reminisce on Sunday afternoon. There may be a few other surprises in store for attendees.

“It’s been a long journey getting the Wagon Wheel Motel and Connie’s Shoppe to this point,” stated Echols. Now it’s time to share the results with friends, family, and the Route 66 community. I’m anxious to show off all the progress that we have made and to have a good time.”

Saturday: 1-3 pm Room Tours

Saturday: 2-6 pm Wine tasting

Saturday: All day Croquet / Horseshoes

Saturday evening: Chipping contest

Saturday:  8pm Band

River Pilot, the creator of the Route 66 GPS program is available all weekend to explain his GPS system

Sunday: 11:00 am Joe Sonderman, Route 66 author book signing

Sunday: 1-3 pm Room Tours

Sunday: 1:00 pm Riva Echols: The Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66 History book signing

Riva will also host a social gathering for employees, families connected to the Wagon Wheel history, and anyone else who might be interested in Wagon Wheel history

Sunday: 2-4 pm Wine tasting

Sunday: 2:00 pm Croquet Tournament

Visit the Wagon Wheel Motel’s 75th anniversary celebration on Saturday or Sunday. Bring your cameras to record another historic event at this Historic Landmark on Route 66.

National Park Service Announces 2011 Cost-Share Grant Awards for the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program

July 20, 2011

The following properties have received awards:

Route 66 Motel – Kingman, Arizona

Ariston Cafe – Litchfield, Illinois

Dell Rhea Chicken Basket – Hinsdale, Illinois

Luna Cafe – Mitchell, Illinois

Sprague Super Service – Normal, Illinois

Meramec River Bridge – Eureka, Missouri

Sunset Motel – Villa Ridge, Missouri

Wagon Wheel Motel – Cuba, Missouri

Round Barn – Arcadia, Oklahoma

Firestone Station – Bristow, Oklahoma

For more details see this PDF -

Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program Funded Projects – 2011

The Route 66 Association of Missouri Welcomes New Business Members

July 4, 2011

We welcome the following new business members and thank them for their support.

Hood’s Propane Co., Inc – Bois D’Arc

Hood’s Service Center, Inc. – Bois D’Arc

Mizell Funeral Home – Cuba

Genghis Grilll – Ellisville

Hutchens Mortuary & Cremation Center – Florissant

Gateway Uniform & Apparel – Hazelwood

Creve Coeur Paving – St. Louis

Sullivan Area Chamber of Commerce – Sullivan

Mile 277 Tap & Grill – Sunset Hills

Hoppers Pub – Waynesville

Cooper’s Grill - Webb City

Steve’s Candy and Jerky – Galena, KS

Please patronize the business members that support what we do. Here is a link to the complete list:
Route 66 Association of Missouri Business Members

The History of a Route 66 Icon: The Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66

June 30, 2011
The History of a Route 66 Icon: The Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66

The History of a Route 66 Icon: The Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66

The Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri is the oldest continuously operating motel on Route 66. The Ozark stone cottages with their Tudor style architecture have attracted thousands of travelers since the 1930s. The building in front served as the Wagon Wheel Café with a small building next door for a gas station. The famous neon Wagon Wheel sign was added in 1947.

Travelers came to eat, buy gas, and some stayed at the modern tourist cabins with the advertised steam heat. Now, Riva Echols, sister of Wagon Wheel Motel owner Connie Echols, has written the history of this Missouri Landmark in her book The History of a Route 66 Icon: The Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66.

Connie Echols purchased the old motel in 2009, and with hands-on work and a financial commitment, restored the motel as a premier Route 66 lodging that holds its place on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

Riva became intrigued with the motel’s history and began interviewing, checking old records, and compiling the history of the motel that will soon reach its 75th birthday. With 102 pages of text and photos, both historical and current, Echols, follows the history of Route 66 development and the evolution of the motel through the decades.

The book begins with the development of Route 66 and travelers’ options in the early days of Route 66 travel. The Wagon Wheel’s first owners Robert and Margaret Martin put their hopes and resources into the Wagon Wheel Cafe, tourist cabins, and a small gas station building.

Leo Friesenhan, stonemason and designer of the Wagon Wheel, has a colorful life that is detailed in the history. The old buildings have had many changes, but time has proven they were built to last, and the book covers the architectural details of the buildings.

Conversations with waitresses and others associated with the motel provide some flavor and humor in the chronicle of the Wagon Wheel, as do the characters and personalities of the Wagon Wheel owners.

The second owners John and Winifred Mathis took over in the 1940s and added the neon sign that still beckons travelers to the Wagon Wheel. The Mathises also changed the name and made other changes to modernize what had become a popular stop along the road for both lodging and café food.

Sadie Mae Pratt and her husband Bill added vitality to the running of the Wagon Wheel Café during their years of the café’s history.

Pauline Roberts and her first husband Wayne took over the motel in the 1960s.  Later, when Wayne passed away, Pauline ran the motel by herself with the help of her faithful assistant Roy Mudd until she remarried to Harold Armstrong.  It was always said that the motel “was Pauline’s,” and she was instrumental in the motel getting Landmark status.

After Pauline and Roy Mudd passed, and Harold became ill, the Wagon Wheel went downhill until 2009 when Connie Echols purchased it.

Riva Echols chronicles the changes that her sister Connie has undertaken as the Wagon Wheel Motel steps into another decade with restoration and a new generation of travelers. Many before and after photos fill the pages of the last part of the book.

If you want to appreciate the Wagon Wheel’s place in Route 66 history, read Riva Echol’s book. Purchase The History of a Route 66 Icon: The Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66 on or Signed copies are available at Connie’s Shoppe at The Wagon Wheel Motel.

Route 66 Race to Rocker slated for March 26

January 27, 2011

The Route 66 Race to the Rocker on Saturday, March 26 is a 4-mile straight shot race on Route 66 that begins in Cuba, Missouri’s historic mural district and ends at the Guinness World’s Largest Rocking Chair, located at the Fanning US66 General Store. The staging area for the race is at the Britton Funeral Home at 904 W. Washington. Buses shuttle the racers from the finish line back to the start area.

The number of participants increases each year with both local and visiting runners. Runners and walkers of all ages participate in the event, with a group of volunteers helping to make it run smoothly. The race t-shirt that pictures the 42 foot Guinness record-breaking rocking chair is a coveted item for racers.

There are many races in the country, but there aren’t too many 4-mile ones with such a unique finish line icon. “We picked a four-mile race because it allowed us to incorporate both our unique outdoor mural district, the attraction of the rocker, and Route 66, which is important to our town,” race director Brad Austin stated.

Last year 450 racers participated, and race director Brad Austin feels that a 650 goal is possible this year. “We are adding pre-race activities and working on making the race execution flawless. We are also continuing the team concept, where teams of five or more can compete in the race. That was popular with organizations, businesses, and also individuals last year. It added an element of fun to the race.”

JOG,inc., Cuba’s running club that sponsors the race, hopes that the 3rd annual Route 66 Race to the Rocker will be the best yet. Organizational meetings are laying the framework for a successful event.

Some new and improved elements to this year’s race:

*Both lanes of Route 66 will be closed for approximately 1.5 hours for the race.

*Friday, March 25 there will be an alternate time for packet pickup and a local expo. A Spaghetti Dinner takes place from 5:00-8:00 pm. Racers can still get packets on Saturday morning before the race.

*There will be better coordination of buses to and from the staging area and the finish line

*Racing chips will be used to help achieve the most accurate times. Big River Racing will manage race times and results.

*There will be more volunteers to help manage and direct parking.

*Proceeds from the race will go to building a cross-country course at the high school, the Friday Backpacks for Kids program, and scholarships.

Austin stated, “We hope this year that many runners will come to Cuba on Friday for the weekend to enjoy pre-race activities, stay overnight, and enjoy our town. We have great restaurants, murals, and other attractions. This is a good time for friends and family to re-unite and to make new friends.”

Rain or shine, Saturday, March 26, 9:00 am is the time to lace up your sneakers and hit Route 66 for a morning of fun and accomplishment.

For registration information, go to or download the form from the site.  Those who register before January 31 and again on February 28th will be entered in drawings for a long-sleeved, Race to the Rocker technical shirt. For you or your group to volunteer, visit the JOG, inc. website for contact information.

The Route 66 Association of Missouri Welcomes New Business Members

January 25, 2011

We welcome the following new business members and thank them for their support.

The Garpax/Branson Music Group Inc. – Branson

Walnut Park Auto Body – Crestwood

Ray Harvey Art – Cuba

Jake Culpeeper’s Cattle Co. – Osage Beach

Ozark’s Public Television – Springfield

Harry’s Tire, LLC – Sullivan

Please patronize the business members that support what we do. Here is a link to the complete list:
Route 66 Association of Missouri Business Members


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