If you are here, you know we are too

It's new!

It's new!

If you have made it to our blog, you know that in 2009 Viva Cuba launched a new website cubamomurals.com.  We hope you have taken the time to look over our site and signed up for our future email newsletter. And if you haven’t already, come see us in Cuba. Below is the official news release about our site.

Cuba, MO

It’s ready for visitors and the welcome mat is out.

Viva Cuba, a beautification organization founded in 1984, in Cuba’s “Route 66 Mural City” is pleased to unveil its new website http://www.cubamomurals.com.

The group decided to start from scratch rather than redesign the old website. For the new site, the group turned to web designer Lisa Hoover of Delrio Design.

The site’s design showcases both the town’s artwork and history and offers a way to communicate with visitors and the media. This site allows Viva Cuba members a more “hands-on” means of controlling the site and keeping it current. Several new features make the site more informative and interactive.

*Signup for future email newsletters lets the group share information about its beautification projects and events in a timely manner.

*An events section highlights upcoming Viva Cuba projects.

*A blog link with a comment feature offers an inside look at Cuba’s history, art, and events. A comment feature makes the site more interactive and allows the group to hear from visitors.

*Video clips from KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis and KETC’s Living St. Louis TV shows provide viewers a glimpse of Cuba’s murals .

*An Ozarks Mountaineer article takes a comprehensive look at Cuba’s murals and their influence on the town.

Because of Cuba’s location on Route 66 and Interstate 44 and its various attractions, the town draws many visitors, both foreign and domestic, to its murals. The new website is a way for visitors to find out more about our town, both before and after visiting Cuba. Cuba citizens may also find some of the background stories behind the murals of interest.

Viva Cuba was the first Adopt-A-Highway project in the state of MO. In 2001, the group began a project to commission 12 outdoor murals by 2007, the town’s sesquicentennial.

In the 1990s, the group purchased a small piece of neglected property at the intersection of Hwy. 19 and Historic Route 66, which was later transformed into Viva Cuba Garden. In 2007 and 2008, the property was re-landscaped and a train replica, fabricated by Glen and Curtis Tutterrow, took its place on a decorative brick wall. Missouri artist Julie Wiegand painted the nearby traffic control boxes with a vintage scene called “Waiting for the Train.”

For information on the group’s October Trolley Tours and Chili-Fest, its May Chair-i-table Auction, other projects, and a town where art meets history, visit www.cubamomurals.com and use its interactive features so that we can stay in touch.


Cuba, Missouri: Stop at the Visitor Center, get a brochure, stroll around, and view murals…

Cuba, “Route 66 Mural City” Visitor Center


Visitor Center

Visitor Center


Cuba, MO’s well-appointed Visitor Center offers drinks, a rest-room stop, many brochures from around the country, and a staff to help travelers make the most of the area. Located at the I-44 Overpass Exit 208, the Center is open 7 days a week.

A large light board offers a view of all the murals.  A mural brochure is available that visitors can use to navigate the mural corridor along Route 66 in Cuba.

The murals are visible during a driving tour, but many visitors like to stroll Cuba’s Streets and take photos of the murals. Don’t forget the Viva Cuba Garden at the intersection of Route 66 and Washington.

The Visitor Center also sells art cards of each of the murals and Viva Cuba T-shirts. Proceeds go to mural maintenance and other beautification projects in Cuba.

Take time to visit the Route 66 Mural City where art meets history.

To check the Center’s hours and follow Cuba events, visit www.cubamochamber.com.

The light board at the Visitor Center gives a great preview of what "Route 66 Mural City" has to offer.

The light board at the Visitor Center gives a great preview of what "Route 66 Mural City" has to offer.

Historic Route 66 intersection still an important presence in Cuba, Missouri

Sign at the Hwy. 19 (Franklin St.)/Route 66 (Washington) intersection

Sign at the Hwy. 19 (Franklin St.)/Route 66 (Washington) intersection


A colorful, but somewhat confusing, intersection in Cuba, Missouri got some new direction with the installation of dual signage.

After Route 66 tourists and others were confused with the existing sign in the center of the Route 66 community of Cuba, Missouri, the city and MoDOT agreed on the use of signs that paid tribute to a dual legacy. While the street is part of historic Route 66, it is also known locally as Washington. The sign now says both “Washington” and “Historic Route 66.”

The colorful intersection is the home of a restored Phillips 66 gas station from the 1930s, one of Cuba’s, “Route 66 Mural City,” murals, painted traffic control boxes, and the location of the Viva Cuba Garden with an 1873 train replica.

The traffic control boxes complement the train sculpture in the newly landscaped garden.

The traffic control boxes complement the train sculpture in the newly landscaped garden.

Wallis Companies owns and restored the old Phillips station.Their headquarters sits across from the station in a modern, buff-colored brick building.   The company’s first office in 1968 was located in the small station across the street.  Today, the company owns a chain of convenience stores and is one of the Midwest’s largest distributors of petroleum products and has over 600 employees.  The founder of the company Bill Wallis passed away in 2001, but his wife and children still run the company.  The three mural panels on the original company headquarters portray events in the life of Bill Wallis and the Cuba community.  Route 66 Missouri artist Ray Harvey painted the murals.

The restored Phillips 66 Station was built by Paul T. Carr. It now displays scenes from the intersection and Route 66.

The restored Phillips 66 Station was built by Paul T. Carr. It now displays scenes from the intersection and Route 66.

The Viva Cuba Garden, first purchased in 1992, was re-designed and landscaped in 2007-08 by Viva Cuba, a community beautification group that  commissioned Cuba’s 12 outdoor murals.  The replica train, built by Curtis and Glen Tutterrow, was added in 2008 to commemorate a train that ran between Cuba and Salem, MO. Missouri artist Julie Wiegand painted the nearby traffic control boxes in 2008 just before Viva Cuba re-dedicated the park.

The large white structure on the fourth corner of the intersection is the old Midway Building that has been a presence since the 1930s.  It was named because it was midway between St. Louis and Springfield.  While the building is now empty, it has a rich history that is revered by the community.  For years it was a bus stop, taxi stand, hotel,  cafeteria, gathering place for families, and a nightspot.


A 1948 image of Midway shows the business at its peak.

Allyne Earls owned Midway for 38 years, and the doors were never locked.  When she sold the building, no keys could be found to give the new owner.  During WW II, the it had 24 bedrooms and four bathrooms on the second floor.  During the War, they were filled with Fort Leonard Wood soldiers and their wives.  The restaurant fed as many as 600 soldiers a day.  Over the years, families celebrated at the Midway, and teenagers met to dance and socialize.  In the 1970s, hockey star Noel Picard owned the restaurant and bar.  Today, the building awaits someone with a new vision to reenergize the old landmark.

Update: The Midway building has been demolished and is now an empty lot. Several blogs deal with the Midway’s history with photos and details.

When travelers see the new sign, they might reflect on the history of the spot as they journey through the historic intersection.

UPDATE:  Read  “Cuba, Missouri says goodby to long time trooper and a piece of our history….”

Read “Revisiting the Route 66 and Highway 19 intersection…now and then.”

Read ” Do you remember? Standing at the 4-way on Route 66 in 2006…”

2009 May 9 Chair-i-table Auction at Java.net: art, coffee, chocolate


Pre-Mom’s Day Chair-i-table Auction at Java.net




































See below for details on "Dancing Daisies" and" Exercise in Chairing"

See below for details on "Dancing Daisies" and "Exercise in Chairing"

Reserve Saturday, May 9 for Viva Cuba’s annual chair-i-table auction. From a duo of pink and white girly children’s rockers to “Salute,” a patriotic chair, Viva Cuba’s annual chair-i-table auction offers a wide array of artist-designed furniture.

This year’s event, which begins at 9:00 am at Java.net, 418 N. Franklin, the Saturday before Mother’s Day on May 9, shows off this special furniture. Java.net will feature Marcia Wilson’s Rt. 66 Fudgeshop Mother’s Day chocolate sweet treats, including chocolate covered strawberries. While you are at the auction, you can also sample one of Java.net’s premium specialty drinks or enjoy lunch while browsing the books.

This year’s format includes a “live-auction” of certain pieces at 12:00 and a silent auction that ends at 12:30.Whether you are looking for a special gift for someone or a decorating accent for your own home, visit the annual event to see what this year’s artists have created. Proceeds from the auction benefit the mural project and other beautification projects.

A sneak peek of this year’s furniture shows that there is something for everyone from the rugged to the regal.

Dennis Meiser, the BBQ maestro from Missouri Hickory BBQ, used his talent for building rustic, red cedar furniture to craft a log chair titled “Homestead.”This solid sitter will last a lifetime and make a great June Father’s Day present for your favorite dad or granddad.

"Homestead" by Dennis Meiser of MO Hick BBQ will last a lifetime.

"Homestead" by Dennis Meiser of MO Hick BBQ will last a lifetime.

Bobbie Smith, a military veteran, used her chair titled “Salute” to show pride of country and to pay a tribute to our country’s veterans. Smith wants the chair’s vintage look to provoke thoughts of our forefathers who founded our country, our freedoms, and our God who created it. “If I can have people stop…think…reminisce…pull at their heart strings…then I have accomplished something wonderful.”From the local scenes incorporated on the chair to Smith’s own patriotism, this chair brings a sense of history to its purchaser.


"Salute" pays tribute to veterans and is striking, both front and back.

"Salute" pays tribute to veterans and is striking, both front and back.

Colin Shaw, a native Cuban, who now lives and paints in St. Louis, joins Viva Cuba’s event for the second year. His small table is a painted jewel with metallic bronze and gold paints and features what he says are Matisse inspired “Birds and Hearts in Flight.”These birds debuted in a series of paintings that can be viewed on his website at www.shawart.com.He said a poem originally inspired the birds with the lines “The two birds did rise up to fly/And where the two birds were flying/ I swear I saw you and I.”

Banker Kim Baldwin painted two children’s rockers white with “girly pink” seats. Her “Rocker Chicks” would make two little “chicks” happy to have them. As an added bonus, Baldwin promises to paint the names of the little chicks on the rockers.

Two of Cuba’s premier mural artists Julie Balogh Brand and Shelly Smith Steiger joined forces for a trio of “Metamorphosis” Adirondack chairs. Brand, a studio potter (www.juliebaloghart.com) and Steiger, a high school art teacher, have worked together before on The River, the Amelia, and the Millworks murals. When they unite to design furniture, something special happens. The three unpainted chairs were donated by Friends of the Handicapped as part of their outdoor line of furniture.The smallest chair now features a caterpillar, which metamorphoses into a cocoon on the mid-sized chair, and then into a butterfly taking flight on the over-sized 3rd chair. This outstanding set is destined for someone’s porch or sunroom.

Viva Cuba member Marge Fleming is a whirlwind of creativity that produces multiple chairs for the annual event.Her child’s Cardinal inspired “Fredbird” rocker is a match for any little sportster and is generating lots of interest. The antique “Beary Cute” youth chair is a “keeper” for generations. A freehand needlepoint cushion that accompanies the youth chair raises the “cuteness” factor.Parents, grandmothers, and fond aunts will be vying for these.

Fleming created some more traditionally inspired pieces with a lot of style.A zebra adorns the back of a black, gold trimmed occasional chair “African Veld.”A cushion of animal print is a bonus with this one.The “Pheasant Winter” antique chair has a needlework pheasant in a winter scene.

Viva Cuba member Joyce Stewart sewed an indoor/outdoor floral cushion for a rattan chair that was donated to Viva Cuba. Call this one “Sunny Days.” The bright cushion contrasts well with the dark rattan.

Cuba’s multi-talented taxidermist Glen Tutterrow sculpted the 1873 train replica in the Viva Cuba Garden and the elk above the sign at his shop Wildlife Unlimited. For this challenge he painted a historical train on a Windsor-styled “Heritage” chair with Cuba’s Sesquicentennial Medal embedded in the chair’s crosspiece.Dennis Meiser, of MO Hick BBQ helped prepare the chair by adding the 150th medal to the chair that Marge Fleming refinished. Tutterrow felt that the train relates to the history of Cuba and is a good match for this chair. To see more of Tutterrow’s work visit www.wildlifeunlimited.net.

When retired railroad worker Bob Stubblefield saw the “Heritage” chair, he remarked, “Conductors used to sit in chairs just like that in the train caboose.” Bob definitely has his eye on this chair.

Rita Miller, a past contributor to the auction, presents a beautiful floral pattern on a wooden chair. Titled “Simply Spring” this one blooms with promise for a Mother’s Day gift.

A new contributor this year is Danielle Fleming Payne, the granddaughter of Marge Fleming and daughter of her son Bill.Payne’s chair “Exercise in Chairing” is a vortex of color.Its vibrancy suits a modern décor. A teen would call it “awesome.”

Arline Currie of AC Designs painted a blue garden bench “Dancing Daisies” that showcases her “one stroke” method of painting, which she is certified to teach.This technique consists of loading a brush with paint and painting a flower or image with one stroke. Currie offers individual or small group instruction.Call her at 573-885-2545 or at 310-729-8922.

Chairs will be in select locations around town and displayed at the Chamber of Commerce Banquet on Friday, April 24 at Recklein Auditorium. The week prior to the auction, the chairs return to the Hwy. 19 Peoples Bank for display.

Come to Java.net Saturday, May 9 to enjoy what this year’s artists have done with their furniture, select a sweet Mother’s Day treat, and watch the bidding begin.The live auction begins at 12:00, and the silent auction ends at 12:30.

There is something for everyone at this year's auction.

There is something for everyone at this year's auction.


This year’s auction was a great success. Remember the Saturday before Mother’s Day for next year’s auction.


If this corner could talk…Washington Street (Route 66) & Smith St….


Properity Corner was a popular turn-of-the-century gathering place.

Viva Cuba looks to Cuba, Missouri’s  history when choosing subjects for murals.The corner where Hayes Shoe Store sets has such a history.

At one time a general merchandise store called Prosperity Corner sat there. H.H. Tieman, who has a story of his own, owned the store, which later burned.When Viva Cuba saw the photo below, the spark was lit to have a mural on the building that sat in the same place in modern Cuba—Hayes Shoe Store.

The group approached Jeff Bouse who owned the shoe store, and he gave permission to have a mural painted on all the exposed surfaces of his building. Chillicothe artist Kelly Pohling was hired to paint the mural.He spent long, hot days one summer painting the mural.The results are below.Inside the store, you can see the original photo that inspired Viva Cuba.You can also see shoes that belonged to Robert Wadlow, “the giant of Alton.”And you can buy some good shoes fitted by Bouse or his staff.

If you are lucky, you might meet Henry or Audrey Hayes, who opened the store in the 1950s and raised their son and daughter while running the family enterprise.Mrs. Hayes still works part-time in the store, and she is quite a lady. [Mr. Hayes has since passed on, and Mrs. Hayes no longer works at the store although she is still active in her church and enjoys a full life.] The Hayes also built the colorful Brazilian tile building next to the shoe store.Until recently, that building was the home of the Route 66 Café, which has closed its doors. Cuba Mercantile now fills the space.

And as for the story of H.H. Tieman, that’s for another blog.

For an update on H.H. Tieman and the Prosperity Corner story visit this entry.

Today, the corner once again reflects its history and attracts visitors to photograph the store's mural.

Today, the corner once again reflects its history and attracts visitors to photograph the store’s mural.



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