Since the early 1930s, Route 66 has brought travelers through Cuba. Businesses grew up along the highway that ran between Chicago and Santa Monica, California. Many grew up on or near the road.
When Interstate 44 took over from the Route 66, it was decommissioned, but it remained an important part of America’s history and heart. The Route 66 culture was perpetuated by John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath and the TV series about two young men traveling Route 66 in a corvette.
The culture of Route 66 draws travelers from all over the world to meet the characters of the route, eat at the mom and pop restaurants, and look for the authenticity of some of the original lodgings. They look for the old but also appreciate new attractions that are in the spirit of the past.
Viva Cuba’s murals are a constant source of photography for Route 66 travelers in their custom cars and motorcycles. It is a common sight to spy mural gazing travelers walking the streets of Cuba or posing with their vehicles in front of the murals. Cuba lives up to its designation as the “Route 66 Mural City.”
Cuba is lucky to have the 1930s Historic Landmark Wagon Wheel Motel and its neon sign that still lights up the night. Under new ownership since 2009, all 20 rooms have been restored, decks built, and a covered bike shelter added. The oldest motel on Route 66 has a new lease on life and is ready to welcome a new generation of travelers.
And probably one of our most unique attractions is the Guinness World Record Largest Rocking Chair. At 42+ feet, it is another big draw on Route 66. Built to attract customers to the Outpost US66 General Store four miles west of Cuba, it has fulfilled its purpose and taken its place in the history of the Route 66.
Missouri LIfe Magazine has recognized the importance of Route 66 in Missouri in its June issue. An article by Joe McCune with photography by Notley Hawkins (pages 48-57) about “Getting Your Kicks on Route 66” surveys the places and people along the road in Missouri. The author mentions some of his positive experiences while in Cuba.
Another article “Relighting the Past” by Jim Thole and Sarah Alban (pages 58-61) discusses the neon signs of Route 66, including the Wagon Wheel Motel. On page 66 you can find some ads for area attractions.
Read these articles in the June issue of Missouri Life Magazine by clicking on the name of the magazine.
Cuba, Missouri has always been a town that “gets” Route 66. It has numerous members in the Route 66 Association of Missouri and welcomes the travelers that the road brings. With its restaurants, a History Museum with a Route 66 Room, and many more shops and attractions, Cuba is a must see spot along the road.
Recently, a group of German motorcyclists stayed at the Wagon Wheel Motel. They purchased their Harleys in the U.S. so that they could “get their kicks on Route 66.” After the tour, they plan to ship their bikes home. One rider stated that he had saved 15 years for the trip.
Cuba thanks them for making our bit of Route 66 part of their dream. Safe cruising.