Recklein Commons, so named by History Museum director Betty DeLeo, is an area of public buildings, green space, and community spirit. The north end of Smith Street is the location of Recklein Auditorium, Holy Cross Church & grounds, the Cuba Recklein Memorial Library, the Crawford County History Museum, and the Veterans Memorial. It’s a busy area just a couple blocks off W. Washington (Route 66).
All of the above buildings have significant green space with plantings and landscaping that create an attractive setting for public use.
At one time the stone building housing the museum and the adjacent auditorium were the site of the Cuba Schools. Another school building stood where the green space is today. There was no library across the street. When the new school was built, the old school was empty of the students who had given it life. Then a man named William Recklein changed the face of Smith Street with a generous gift to the city that is still paying benefits today.
After William Recklein‘s wife Ida passed away, he told Mayor Cecil Markley that he wanted to build a library for the town in memory of his wife. The library was dedicated in 1962 four months after Mr. Recklein’s death. Recklein also bought the old school buildings across the street for $10,000 at a public auction. The buildings were given to the city. The building in front was torn down for green space, and the remaining buildings benefit the citizens of Cuba.
The Catholic Church grounds with its Ozark Stone church, wall, rectory, and school buildings are a real treasure to the community. During its early history, strawberry fields surrounded the church, and townspeople could pick berries. Its religious painting on the outside of the church hall, is a fitting addition to the mural city.
With many donations from Cuba and all over the US, the Veterans Memorial was built and dedicated on Veterans Day 2008. This monument is the latest addition to the Recklein Commons and is a great gift to the town in honor of its veterans who have served their country.
The third weekend of October, this area comes alive on Saturday and Sunday as the setting of Cuba Fest, a family-friendly weekend of special events. Crafts, A Taste of Cuba, the Methodist food booth, the wine tent, music, and events for kids and adults bring the community and visitors together for a good time. On Saturday, Viva Cuba offers narrated trolley tours of the murals and a Chili Cook-Off. On Sunday Viva Cuba conducts trolley tours of Kinder Cemetery for the first time with an unusual look at some of Cuba’s history.
See more information on Viva Cuba at cubamomurals.com.