Show the Love! Campagin to Save Our Historic Route 66 Meramec River Bridge

October 25, 2012

The Route 66 Meramec River Bridge is located in the Route 66 State Park near Eureka, MO. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, it has not experienced any major alterations since its construction nearly 80 years ago. However, the bridge has fallen into disrepair. Due to safety, the bridge was closed by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), the owner of the bridge, to all traffic. MoDOT had made the initial decision to demolish the bridge but has since partnered with a broad coalition of stakeholders working to preserve the bridge. MoDOT and its preservation partners are now seeking a new owner and funding to save the bridge from demolition by MODOT’s new deadline of December 2016.

More information on how to join this effort:

Route 66 Association of Missouri to Hold Meeting on November 17, 2012

October 24, 2012

The meeting will take place at the Stones Throw Dinner Theatre at 796 S. Stone Ln., Carthage, MO 68436. Lunch will be served at 12:00 pm with the general meeting following. The cost for lunch is $15.00 per person. To reserve lunch and for more information, please download this meeting registration form.

We will have a guest speaker to talk about the Stones Throw Dinner Theatre. Officers and board members, please attend the Board Meeting at 10:00 am.

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.

2012 NPS Route 66 Cost-Share Grant Award Announcement

July 14, 2012

From the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program:

“We are pleased to announce the 2012 National Park Service, Route 66
Corridor Preservation Program Cost-share Grant Awards. The next grant cycle will be open from January to March, 2013.”

Awarded projects:

Hualapai Tribal Route 66 Interpretive Project – Arizona

Flagstaff Route 66 Rest Area Interpretive Project – Arizona

Historic L Motel Rehabilitation – Arizona

Sprague Super Service Window and Door Restoration – Illinois

Boots Motel Roof Restoration – Missouri

Crestwood Bowl Neon Restoration Project – Missouri

Wagon Wheel Motel Roof Replacement – Missouri

Circle Cinema Theatre Façade Restoration – Oklahoma

El Vado Motel Neon Sign Restoration – New Mexico

Del’s Restaurant Electrical Upgrades – New Mexico

Read the entire report here: 2012 NPS Route 66 Cost-Share Grant Award Announcement

Route 66 and The Rise of Pop Culture

May 23, 2012

Rocket Motel by Jay Fleming

Chappell House will be hosting the art exhibit ROUTE 66 AND THE RISE OF POP CULTURE on June 9th from Noon to 6pm. The exhibit will feature many Route 66 inspired paintings as well as photography by artist Jay Fleming. All are welcomed to the event which is free of charge and will feature jazz and refreshments. Chappel House is located near the corner of Dunn and Washington just yards from Old Route 66 at 4560 Washington Street, Florissant, Missouri.

Fleming will also be signing copies of a book of Route 66 inspired works. The exhibit runs through July 1, 2012.

Route 66 Association of Missouri Invites You to Annual Motor Tour

April 2, 2012

The Route 66 Association of Missouri is heading “Westward Ho!” on its  23rd Annual Motor tour. This year’s tour will be held September 7th, 8th, and 9th., starting east of Carlinville, IL and ending in Lebanon, MO. Tour registration begins on Friday, September 7, at 4:00 p.m. at the Magnuson Grand Hotel, located just off I-55 at Exit 60 (Carlinville exit) east of Carlinville, MO, where a block of rooms has been reserved for tour goers. Registration will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the lobby of the Hotel. Also, on Saturday night, there will be lots of activities, including a car show and complimentary Hors D’oeuvres for tour goers to enjoy. More information on activities will be available at registration.

On Saturday, September 8, tour registration will resume at 7:45 a.m., and the tour will depart at 8:00 a.m. from the Magnuson Grand Hotel. Tour goers will be provided a pamphlet at registration containing recommended but in no way mandatory stops between Carlinville and Lebanon. This will give you the opportunity to select your own stops and proceed at your own pace. Additional details on what to see on the way will be included in your Motor Tour Agenda Folder available at registration. In addition, tour goers will have the opportunity to cross the Chain of Rocks Bridge, at a cost of $5.00 (you must pay in cash at the bridge to cross). If you want to cross the Bridge, you must be at the Illinois entrance to the Bridge by 11:30 a.m. Tour goers will proceed from the Magnuson Grand Hotel, through St. Louis (passing Ted Drewes) to the Meramec Caverns Motel at Meramec Caverns (aka Jesse James’ hideout), located 3 miles south of Stanton, MO on CR W. We have arranged for a block of rooms to be held at the Meramec Caverns Motel, and Saturday night’s dinner will be held at the Caverns, where tour goers can chew the fat about the days events.

On Sunday there will be a nondenominational worship service at 8:00 a.m. At 8:30 a.m., tour goers will leave Meramec Caverns and proceed to Waynesville (recommended stops will be included in the pamphlet). Here we will tour the Pulaski County Historical Society Museum and possibly other locations, and otherwise congregate to proceed, caravan style, to D. C. Decker’s Cowboy Emporium, located in the former Wrink’s Market in Lebanon. There we will end the tour in true cowboy style with a chuck wagon lunch featuring cowboy stew and biscuits. The Caravan to Decker’s will commence from Waynesville at 12:00 p.m., and we will have lunch at Deckers at 1:30 p.m.

Additional information on any planned stops or activities along the way will be made available at registration. For more information contact Kip Welborn at (314-776-7385),, Jane Dippel at 314-843-7132,, or visit our website (where you will find a registration form you can download) at Here’s hoping that you can join us on our trek Westward Ho! on Route 66!

Travelin’ Main Street USA, the Dream of His Life

March 26, 2012

The following account was submitted by Bob Swengrosh.

“Last week I had the privilege to be the driver for Gary Turner, caretaker of Gay Parita, Sinclair Station on a Whirl-Wind trip out West on the Mother Road to the border town of Glenrio, Texas.

On a short trip two months ago, we motored west to Tulsa, OK. On that drive, special stops were standouts for Gary, Eisler Brothers – Scott Nelson, Marsh Arch Bridge – Dean Walker, Visitor Center, Café on the Route, Angles on the Route – Baxter Springs, the Coleman Theatre Tour, the Sidewalk Highway, the always special stop at Afton Station – Laurel Kane, Totem Pole Park, Molly’s (the new bridge entrance) and the Blue Whale – Gary wanted to go skinny dipping (I was glad it was to cold) I want to Thank everyone for the warm welcome that we received.

So this trip started west of Tulsa on both the 1926 and later Route in Sapulpa passing the closed Frankoma Pottery, with the drive on the Ozark Trail, Gary told a number of stories about when he was a young back seat driver in his parents’  ’50 Chevrolet going west on Route 66 to California. We stopped to walk around the wonderful old gas station in Depew, it is sad that most road warriors miss this town. In Stroud at the Rock Café, Dawn Welch had a nice talk with Gary, then on to a warm welcome by McJerry at his gallery and home in Chandler, we took the time to site seeing in Chandler, then on to the great motor cycles at Seaba Station with the 1920′s restroom building, this is a must stop.

On the drive down the private Portland Concrete west of Deep Fork we found one of Rich Dinkela painted Route 66 shields, a stop at Johns Oklahoma County 66 east of Arcadia should not be missed, the Round Barn was closed, but Pop’s was busy with customers. Gary knew how Lucille must have felt when the super highway passed her by. We toured the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, then on to the “WOW” stop – the Sand hill’s Curiosity Shop, Harley and Annabelle put on a show for Gary, it was a great stop.

Entering the State of Texas, we found rain and heavy fog, we did stop in Shamrock to view the complete town, because of the weather we motored slowly to Amarillo to meet up with Bob Lile and have dinner with Rich Dinkela – Bob Lile hospitality was over the top, Thank You Bob. Bob got into the Tahoe and the three of us motored west on to Vega for a tour of the town, Adrain was next and Fran Houser was at the Midpoint Café, Gary enjoyed talking to her and looking at her gift shop. Our next stop was the ghost town of Glenrio, TX and GlenRio, NM. I had the joy to once again talk to Roxann Travis; she has had a hard life being the only one living in the ghost town of Glenrio. She is now working at the new welcome center on I-40 west bound in New Mexico. The stories that she can tell about her ghost town.

On the return trip east, we stopped in Groom, I took special interest in the old Phillips 66 gas station that Jack and Bettye West owned. The gas station and the Golden Spread motel across the street were in the movie “Leap of Faith” with Steve Martin. Our next stop was Mclean, Texas for a wonderful dinner at the “Red River Steak House”. Gary enjoyed talking to “WILL” and his mom and dad. The Red Mud, Bar-B-Q sauce is to die for.

Now, back to my opening statement “Whirl Wind Trip” around Amarillo, the wind was blowing about fifty miles per hour – plus – we drove thru two dust storms so bad we could not even see the front of the Tahoe hood; this was a true “Grapes of Wrath” experience.

I was able to return Gary back to his beloved wife in one piece, he was tired, but he enjoyed every minute of the trip. I took pictures of Gary all along the way and will be putting together a photo album for him. As Gary always states: ” Travelin’ Main Street USA, the Dream of His Life.

Need Letters to Stop Avilla, MO Post Office Closure

October 14, 2011

A request from Tonya Pike:

“Before I even begin this, I apologize for the extreme length of this post. But after you read this, I think you will understand why it is so long. A Route 66 business and community has come forward asking for our help.

As many of you are aware, the United States Postal Service is in financial trouble. They are presently targeting postal facilities all over the USA for closure.

A couple of weeks ago, a meeting was held at Avilla, Missouri to discuss the closing of their post office. For any one who has traveled Route 66, the post office at Avilla is one of the most visible on Route 66 in Missouri. It is in a red brick building, highly visible and roughly a half-block north/east of 66, just west of Bernie’s Bar & Café at Avilla, which fronts out on Route 66, aka Hwy 96, in Avilla. The building itself is was originally a bank, built in 1915. It was leased to the USPS in 1952 and has served as the Avilla Post Office ever since.

The owner of the post office building, Nancy Young, has asked for assistance from the Route 66 roadies and the Route 66 Association of Missouri to stop the closure of the Avilla Post Office. Hence, my father and I journeyed to Avilla to sit in on this particular post office closing meeting. The meeting was held at a church in Avilla and was attended by over half of the Avilla’s population of 125.

The first half of the meeting was presided over by a representative of the USPS, whose name I unfortunately did not get. It was basically a question and answer period. Numerous objections were raised. The main ones included:

1) Home delivery precludes assistance with many post office services,
particularly if you are unable or unwilling to do USPS business online.

2) Due to a lack of other businesses in Avilla, it is very unlikely that a “village post office” can be set up in another business in Avilla, meaning anyone who has to go in to a post office to conduct business will have to travel to Reeds or Carthage, Missouri to do so. Not everyone present at the meeting felt that they could travel to one of those places during the hours the post offices in those locations were open to conduct their postal business. It was also pointed out that only a very small number of the services currently performed at a regular post office can be done at a “village post office” even if one could be set up.

3) If the post office is closed, the people of Avilla will have to sit home all day and wait on their postman in order to complete most postal services from home, such as purchasing money orders or signing & receiving certified mail.

4) Loss of the post office will be a major blow to the economy of Avilla, as there are only 4 businesses left in the town proper itself and that is including the post office.

5) This post office is frequently a stop for foreign visitors traveling Route 66. And note here, this was initially voiced by Avilla residents, not my father or myself, although we did voice remarks supporting this claim. The day of the meeting alone, the Avilla Post Office had customers from Germany and Russia who were Route 66 travelers, mailing postcards back home.

The last reason gave the USPS representative a bit of uncomfort. She honestly did not know how to respond to the statement that closing the Avilla Post Office will deprive foreign visitors of a very special Americana experience.

After the USPS representative finished her question and answer period with the citizens of Avilla and left to go to another post office closing meeting, Steven Vanderhoof, president of the retiree’s Missouri Chapter of the National Postmasters of the United States, addressed the group. He quickly explained that this proposed closure of post offices across the USA is essentially a tactic to get citizens riled up so that the USPS can ask Congress to allow them to cut postal service back to 5 days a week. And, along the way, if the USPS can close any post offices in areas where there are not citizens who care about their post office, so much the better. He also pointed out that if the USPS were to close 10,000 of the 36,000 US post offices, it would save the USPS less than 1% of it’s yearly budget!!

Mr. Vanderhoof went on to say, that in all the communities where he’d attended meetings about closing post offices, the meeting at Avilla was the first time he’d heard Route 66 travelers given as a reason that a post office should NOT be closed. He stated that this was a unique qualification that needed to be capitalized on. He also told the group that in communities where the citizenship protested the closing of their post office, for the most part, the post offices were being left open. And this is why I am posting about this to the e-group. The City of Avilla and the Avilla Post Office needs our help.

Would everyone on the Route 66 e-group please help by writing letters? In the past, we’ve had several letter writing campaigns done from our e-group, and we need one now for the post office at Avilla.

The Post Office at Avilla needs all e-groupers to please write five letters by November 13, 2011.

Very important, the first letter needs to be addressed to:

205 Greenfield St.
Avilla, MO 64833

This letter is the most critical and needs to be done as soon as possible, as it will be submitted in a package on November 17 up thru postal service channels by the Avilla Postmaster. If you can’t write all five letters, if you can at least write this one, that would be a huge help. Please state very clearly that you are opposed to the closing of the Avilla Post Office because of it’s negative impact on not only the citizenship and economy of Avilla, but because it denies both domestic and foreign visitors traveling Route 66 a chance to experience America by posting mail from a historic building in sight of a Missouri state scenic by-way, which is Route 66.

If you can write only one letter, please, please, please, make it out to the Postmaster at Avilla. These letters are the only letters that the USPS will consider in making their final decision about closing the Avilla, Missouri Post Office, and they must be submitted by the Avilla Postmaster for the USPS to consider them.

Then, please send four additional letters of protest to the legislators over the Avilla area. These letters should express our displeasure that A) a post office would be removed from both such a small community where it’s economic impact will be great and where there are not facilities for other alternatives, such as a village post office, B) that a business will be removed from Route 66 that may deny travelers an American experience, and C) closing post offices isn`t going to provide the necessary financial assistance that our postal service needs anyway. The addresses for these letters are as follows:

The Honorable Claire McCaskill
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Roy Blunt
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Billy Long
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Jay Nixon
Governor’s Office
201 W. Capitol Ave.
Jefferson City, MO 65101


While the Missouri U.S. Senators and Representative may have other addresses, we were told in the meeting at Avilla that these letters need to go to their main offices in Washington, D.C., and the Missouri state capital for the governor. So please use the addresses I’m forwarding for McCaskill, Blunt, Long and Nixon. Letters sent to other offices for these people may not get put together otherwise in a timely manner for an accurate tally of the number protests made for a particular post office by the staff members of these officials.

The purpose of sending these additional four letters is to let them know that people are not in favor of closing the post office in hopes that they will vote in the future in such a way that allows most of our post offices to stay open.

If you need help formulating a letter, please contact me and I will email you a .pdf file of the example protest letter I was given at Avilla. But I warn you, it is very generic and does not mention Route 66, so you will still need to modify it a bit.

Lastly, if there is anyone out there on the e-group who lives outside the USA who has ever stopped at the post office in Avilla and mailed anything: It would be especially impressive if you would please write a letter to the Avilla postmaster. I firmly believe, from the meeting I attended, the USPS officials expect the citizens of the USA to be outraged about the post office closings. But I don’t think they expect it to have any meaning to anyone outside the USA. Please help me and the people of Avilla show them they are wrong!

Remember everyone, these letters need to be mailed as soon as possible as the Avilla postmaster needs them by November 13, 2011. This gives us a month to get them written and mailed.

Again, I apologize for the length of this post. But I hope that everyone will help out by writing a few letters. We have a month to get protest letters mailed. I am confident that we can provide support to the Avilla, Missouri citizens and help strengthen their fight to keep their post office open.

Thank you,

Tonya Pike
Springfield, Missouri”

If you are interested in other letter-writing campaigns or actions you can take for historic preservation on Route 66, please see this link.

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


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