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L-R Ralph Wirz, Ervin Hendrickson, Homer Carr, and Paul T. Carr stand proudly in front of the successful business on the corner of Route 66. The station was a Mobil gas station at this time although the P for Phillips is still in place on the chimney. Paul T. Carr built the station in 1932 when the coming of Route 66 increased a mobile America’s need for fuel.
History of the Phillips 66 Station
The Paul T. Carr Years
Let’s go back to the history of Paul T. Carr’s Phillips 66 station that opened in 1932 to see how the station has added to Cuba, MO’s history at the 4-Way intersection.
Locals have long called the location “the four way,” because of the four stop signs that marked the busy intersection. Today, a modern traffic light serves that purpose.
Over the years, the little station on the corner of Highway 19 and Route 66 in Cuba, Missouri, became obsolete and sat empty as a quaint afterthought of grander times. Often, people would speculate what the P on the chimney stood for. Some thought the P was the initial of the original owner, Paul T. Carr. Others thought maybe it was for the Pontiac cars that he sold there.
The Station’s Beginnings and its Builder 1932-1960s
It was at the 4-way intersection, where the Midway Cafe & Garage were already doing business on the opposite corner, where visionary Paul T. Carr stepped onto the scene to build his gas station in 1932. He recognized the needs of the Route 66 traveler on the new highway that would span 8 states.
Longtime Cuba businessman Bob Coffman first met Paul Carr in 1958. Since Carr and Coffman were both active in the Masonic Lodge, they rode together to several Masonic activities in St. Louis. “That’s when he related to me how he came to have the gas station,” said Coffman. “Paul was working for Roy Earls in a garage where the Midway building is located (The Midway has since been torn down). Carr’s wife had passed away, leaving a young daughter Jeanne to raise. Since this was in the middle of the great depression, there wasn’t much money for anything but the barest necessities.”
However, Carr did not let adverse conditions stop him. He purchased the lot at the corner of Highway 19 and Route 66 in the center of Cuba.