Old photographs inspire murals and preservation…

The streets were not paved in this photo.

The streets were not paved in this photo.

A.J. Barnett took family and friends for a ride in the Cuba's first Model T.

A.J. Barnett took family and friends for  rides in the Cuba’s first Model T.

Photographs evoke memories, remind us of times gone by, and contribute to the preservation of history.

Peoples Bank wished to commemorate its 1ooth anniversary in 2001 with Cuba’s first outdoor mural. The two photos above would inspire that mural.

The first photo pictures the corner of Smith and Washington (now old Rt. 66) where an earlier Peoples Bank stood.  At that time the street was not paved.

The second photo shows A.J. Barnett and his Model T Ford, which was the first car in Cuba. Barnett was a mayor, owner of the first Cuba garage, and the first cashier of Peoples Bank. He  was very active in civic organizations.

When the bank decided to commission a mural, these two photos were given to the Canadian artist Michelle Loughery, who was known for her heritage-style photos. The resulting mural shows the photos’ influence in her design. Local artist Shelly Smith Steiger assisted with the painting of Cuba’s first mural.

This first mural led to a project of 12 outdoor murals in Cuba MO.

This first mural led to a Viva Cuba project of 12 outdoor murals in Cuba MO.

With the renewed interest in preservation in the historical uptown area of Cuba, many business have returned to a historical color palette and style of painting. The old Peoples Bank building has received such a facelift.

Painters on scaffolding transformed the old building.

Painters on scaffolding transformed the old building. The distinctive corner entrance was uncovered after it had previously been covered.

The distinctive corner entrance welcomes clients to the title company located in the building. Cars on Route 66 whiz by the building now.

The distinctive corner entrance welcomes clients to the title company located in the building. Cars on Route 66 whiz by the building now.

Cuba MO is definitely a town where art meets history.

For another mural inspired by a photograph, see the blog entry “If this corner could talk…Washington Street (Route 66) & Smith Street…”

This article from October 2001 alerted the community to the significance of the mural.

This is original information that was published at the time of the first mural in 2001.

This is original information that was published at the time of the first mural in 2001.

Motorcycles on Route 66 in Cuba, Missouri

I first noticed the neat rows of bikes across from the Hayes Shoe Store.

I first noticed the neat rows of bikes across from the Hayes Shoe Store.

Australia. England, Wales, Scotland. And one Yank.  The motorcycle group was with MCI Tours. The bikers were traveling Route 66 from Chicago to California.

I first noticed their bikes when I was at Hayes Shoe Store taking photos of the Robert Wadlow Shoes. A group of motorcycles sat in the Alps parking lot across the street–with no riders.  I thought they were in the grocery store.  But I took my photos and still no riders. I took photos of the bikes with the murals in the background. I wondered what you call a group of motorcycles–a pod, a pride, a group of motorcycles?

The group took photos of the murals in the uptown area.

The group took photos of the murals in the uptown area.

I decided the riders must be eating down the block at the Back in the Day Cafe, so I headed there.  Sure enough I found them and struck up a conversation.  They all had mural brochures at their place settings, so we chatted about the murals.  I found that many of them-except for a lone American- came from the British Isles. They were traveling Rt. 66 and had stopped for lunch.

We exchanged contact information, and I told them they would be on the Viva Cuba’s blog, and they said Cuba would be on their blog.  They loved the murals and said on their last Rt. 66 tour that they had just ridden through Cuba, but this time they decided they would stop and eat.

These bikers flew there flag on their roadtrip.

These bikers flew there flag on their road trip.

We chatted, we all took photos, and then they loaded up and roared on down the highway.  While many dream of this type of trip, these travelers were making it a reality.  We hope they come again.

The MCI Tour roared on out of town.The MCI Tour roared on out of town after lunch at the Back in the Day Cafe.

The small town of Cuba, Missouri thinks big–really, really big!

The exterior of Hayes Shoe Store is covered with the Prosperity Corner Mural.  Inside, you will find a couple of more "really big attractions."

The exterior of Hayes Shoe Store is covered with the Prosperity Corner Mural. Inside, you will find a couple of more "really big attractions."

In Cuba, MO, you will find some big shoes to fill…

For a town of about 3500, the small town of Cuba, Missouri thinks really big.

First, there is the Route 66 town’s mural project of 12 outdoor murals that seems to have infected the town with a mural and public art frenzy. See Viva Cuba’s list of other art in Cuba, to see how you can find art in the streets, at the grocery store, or even when you go to buy tires. Viva Cuba is the beautification organization that got the ball rolling for public art in Cuba. Their website and blog covers the evolution of beautification and preservation of art and history in the “Route 66 Mural City.”

Newspaper editor Chris Case said just yesterday in a conversation with this blog writer that there is no reason to stop adding murals now, we need more.  Well, we’ll see.

Second, there is the Guinness World Record Largest Rocking Chair at the Fanning Route 66 Outpost.  At 42’1” tall,  20’3” wide, and 27, 500 pounds, it is truly a monster chair that has been celebrated on TV, in magazines and newspapers.  Tourists from all over the world stop to view this Route 66 attraction, which is just what owners Dan and Carolyn Sanazaro planned when they built it.

At 42'1" tall, the Guinness World's Largest Rocking Chair casts a big shadow.

At 42'1" tall, the Guinness World's Largest Rocking Chair casts a big shadow.

Third, and probably least known in the “really big category,” are the two Robert Wadow shoes that reside at the Hayes Shoe Store. The shoes are in a glass display case at the Hayes Shoe Store on Washington St. (old Route 66) in the center of historic uptown Cuba.  At size 35AA and  37AA, they are certainly large shoes to fill.

The Robert Wadlow size 37AA shoe dwarfs this man's Nike shoe.

The Robert Wadlow size 37AA shoe dwarfs this man's Nike shoe.

Robert Wadlow, known as the Giant of Alton, Illinois, lived from 1918-1940. He was the world’s tallest man.  Although he was normal size at birth a pituitary disorder caused him to grow to a height of 8’11.1” and a weight of 490 pounds. At age 13, Wadlow became the world’s tallest boy scout, and it took 14 yards of material to make his uniform.

At age 20, Wadlow signed a contract with the International Shoe Company.  He received free shoes in exchange for a promotional tour. He traveled the US representing the company, and it is through International Shoe Company that at least one of  his shoes came to Cuba.

The first shoe at size 35AA was part of the purchase arrangement when Henry Hayes and his wife Audrey purchased their shoe store in 1950.  It is the more worn of the two shoes and actually has a hole worn in the sole.  It came with the store, and the Hayes would would add one more Wadlow shoe to the store’s inventory.

The size 35AA Robert Wadlow shoe has a hole worn in the sole.

The size 35AA Robert Wadlow shoe has a hole worn in the sole.

The Hayes had the chance to buy another shoe when the International Shoe Company had a promotion where a shoe store received a Robert Wadlow shoe that they filled with shelled corn and let customers guess the numbers of kernels in the shoe.  At the end of the promotion, the Hayes had the option of sending the size 37 AA shoe back or buying it.  Hayes decided to purchase the shoe although it is reported that he “almost had to take out a bank loan to do it,” which is his way of saying it wasn’t cheap.

Hayes Shoe Store's 37AA Robert Wadlow shoe is just one more of Cuba's attractions.

Hayes Shoe Store's 37AA Robert Wadlow shoe is just one more of Cuba's attractions.

These two shoes then passed on to Jeff Bouse when he purchased Hayes Shoe Store, which is an institution in the town and nearby communities. It is one of the few remaining independently owned shoe stores and probably the only one with two Wadlow shoes.

Route 66 Robert Wadlow Pin Hayes Shoe Store Cuba, Missouri

Now you can purchase a Robert Wadlow collector's pin at Hayes Shoe Store.

The outside of the store is one of Viva Cuba’s 12 outdoor murals. Check out the mural and then go on in for a look these gargantuan shoes.  While you are there, ask to see the vintage photo that was used as the basis of the building’s mural.

Although Cuba, may be small, it’s not just another dusty burg.  The town thinks big and has some big attractions.  If you think you can measure up, visit Cuba.

To see more about the Rocker see blog entry “Just Because it looked pretty….” Or to see a full range of articles and video about the Rocking Chair visit the Route 66 News blog.

Have you ever thought of a facelift?

This peeling Wagon Wheel symbolizes the need for this Route 66 icon facelift.

This peeling Wagon Wheel symbolizes the need for this Route 66 icon's facelift.

Beautification and preservation  in Cuba, Missouri...

All good things need a little renewal and a facelift from time to time.  The iconic Route 66 motor court The Wagon Wheel Motel is no exception.  Under its new ownership, the motel will get just that in 2009-10.

The Wagon Wheel Motel, 901 East Washington, a continuously operating Rt. 66 Motel since the 1930s, has a new owner.  Many of these historic motor courts have been torn down or abandoned, but this is one that will receive a ‘”makeover” by its new owner Connie Echols.

On September 15, ownership passed from the heirs of previous owners, Pauline and Harold Armstrong, to Connie Echols, owner of another Cuba Route 66 business The Wildflower, a florist and gift shop. Echols looks forward to her role as an owner of the historic motel and returning it to its former glory. Echols plans a renovation and modernization of the motel while maintaining its historic integrity.

“I plan to modernize the motel, but keep it as historically accurate as possible.  I want a clean, modern motel at a reasonable price that will continue to appeal to groups and Route 66 travelers,” stated Echols.

The motel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a Route 66 icon. The much photographed neon sign with its hanging Wagon Wheel beckons travelers to the motel, which is still operating.

The Wagon Wheel sign will be able to beckon a new generation of travelers.

The Wagon Wheel sign will be able to beckon a new generation of travelers.

It still works.

It still works.

Currently, Echols is restoring the building in front of the motel’s cottages that served as the Wagon Wheel Café until the 1950s. She is taking it and the small rock gas station next to it back to a more original time period. Over the years, the two buildings have been joined and part of the structure covered with vinyl siding, which will be removed. The café building will be used as a gift shop, operated by Echols, and a motel office.

The old Wagon Wheel Cafe is being renovated for a gift shop and motel office.

The old Wagon Wheel Cafe is being renovated for a gift shop and motel office.

Echols plans an extensive updating of the motel guest rooms, including new wiring, new bathrooms, quality bedding, and other amenities to bring the rooms up to a higher standard.

The renovations will be completed in phases with the motel continuing to operate.  Reservations will be honored and remodeling inconveniences for travelers kept to a minimum.

The motel rooms are in separate Tudor “cottage style” stone buildings, and renovations will be on one section at a time to minimize disruption in the motel’s operations. Echols hopes to complete the renovations by spring and stage a Grand Opening, which will unveil the improvements to the historic property to those interested in this Route 66 landmark.

The Tudor-style cottage have a retro appeal for the Route 66 traveler.

The Tudor-style cottage have a retro appeal for the Route 66 traveler.

As rooms are upgraded and put into use, current rates of $17-$20 will be raised. News of renovation progress and the new rates will be released at a later date.

The motel can still be contacted at  573-885-3411.

Once more, a Cuba citizen has stepped up to preserve the historic past in Cuba, “Route 66 Mural City.”

Joe Sonderman, author of Route 66 in the Missouri Ozarks, gave permission to use this old Wagon Wheel postcard.

Joe Sonderman, author of Route 66 in the Missouri Ozarks, gave permission to use this old Wagon Wheel postcard.

For on preservation and beautification in Cuba, MO “Route 66 Mural City”  visit  The Viva Cuba website and blog at www.cubamomurals.com.

UPDATE: The Wagon Wheel now has a website www.wagonwheel66cuba.com with rates, photos, and updated information.

Just because it looked pretty…

The Fanning Outpost General Store looks attractive on this fall day.

The Fanning Outpost General Store looks attractive on this fall day.

The Fanning Outpost General Store on Rt. 66 has a lot of positive things going for it.

* It has the Guinness Route 66 designation for the World’s Largest Rocking Chair. You don’t see a 42 foot rocker every day.

* The staff at the convenience store, 4-plex archery center, and taxidermy center is friendly,

*The store is clean and well arranged.  There is always something new to see.  Need a Rt. 66 souvenir? You can get one here.

*You can sit on the front porch and drink a Rt. 66 Root Beer.

*There is a colorful mural on the side of the building.

The Fanning Outpost mural fits in with the "Route 66 Mural City" theme.

The Fanning Outpost mural fits in with the "Route 66 Mural City" theme.

*The owners Dan and Carolyn Sanazaro are a lot of fun and enjoy visiting with customers.

*It has an interesting historical background.

* How many stores have a cannon on site?

But this post is just because the store looked pretty with its hay and mum arrangement on a recent fall day, and I wanted to share the photo.

In case of attack…

Just in case there is an attack at the Outpost, Dan has his cannon ready.

Just in case there is an attack at the Outpost, Dan has his cannon ready.

Go to cubamomurals.com to see Cuba’s outdoor murals.

Tell others about The Outpost. Make a comment.

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