Historic Landmark Wagon Wheel rolls into next 75 years of history

Cuba, Missouri Route 66 Wagon Wheel Motel

The Wagon Wheel’s and Route 66’s history have intersected since the 1930s. During the 75th Anniversary Celebration in August, many vintage autos came by to support the iconic motel.

Cuba, Missouri: On August 20-21, the Wagon Wheel Motel celebrated its 75th Anniversary of serving guests on Route 66. Many friends, guests, and family of Connie Echols, who bought the motel in 2009, came by to join in the Bonnie and Clyde-themed weekend. that highlighted the motel’s restoriation.┬áThe old cafe building, gas station, and cottages haven’t looked so good for a long time. Leo Friesenhan, the designer and builder, would be proud to see his work today.

Cuba, Missouri Wagon Wheel Motel guest book wall

The unique “guestbook” for the weekend was the wall of the outdoor pavilion. Here a couple of “gangsters” sign in.

Bonnie and Clyde look-alikes Wagon Wheel Motel Cuba Missouri

Bonnie and Clyde dropped by for the event.

The Cuba Free Press chronicled the two-day event in an article.

Cuba Free Press 75th Wagon Wheel 75th Anniversary Article

The Cuba Free Press chronicled the celebration with an article.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the gathering of some of the workers from the Wagon Wheel Cafe in the 30s,40s, and 50s.

The ladies that worked at the Wagon Wheel Cafe helped create its history. Marie Davis stopped by to view her dad’s legacy of craftsmanship.

Sue Slowensky Rathgeb Wagon Wheel Motel Cuba, Missouri

Sue Slowensky Rathgeb’s parents Joe and Clara ran the Wagon Wheel Motel and gas station in the early days.

Wagon Wheel Cafe dining room Cuba, Missouri

The ladies who gathered at the celebration recalled their days at the cafe. Joe Sonderman collection

Wagon Wagon Wheel Cafe 1930s Cuba, Missouri

The Wagon Wheel Cafe building existed before the small garage that would come later.

The Wagon Wheel Cafe is no more. However, Connie Echols restored the motel cottages and the garage and cafe buildings from 2009-2011. The Original Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66 is now ready for more guests and new memories as it moves into its next decade serving travelers. You can find it on Facebook and Twitter, and in the memories of some very special ladies.

Classic cars at the Wagon Wheel Motel Cuba, MO

Many brought their classic cars and trucks to the Wagon Wheel Motel.


Show Me Route 66 cover

The Route 66 Association of Missouri chose one of our photos for the cover.

Note from Wilma Jean Grayson Becker

Wilma Jean Grayson Becker sent this note to the Wagon Wheel after the event.


Read “Two Sisters Preserve Cuba, Missouri History”

Read a more complete history of The Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66 by Riva Echols, available on Amazon or in Connie’s Shoppe at the Wagon Wheel Motel.

Read this previous article in the Cuba Free Press about the Wagon Wheel Cafe in the 40s and 50s and its move to the interstate in the mid 50s when it became the Wagon Wheel Restaurant.

View Route 66 editor Ron Warnick’s video of Christmas Eve at the Wagon Wheel Motel and his account of the stay.




2 responses to “Historic Landmark Wagon Wheel rolls into next 75 years of history”

  1. Friend says:

    I’ve lived in this area for some time and I have to admit that the restoration and cleanliness is a definite improvement to Cuba. Great Job Connie and all who helped it happened.
    A friendly neighbor!

  2. jane says:

    Cuba had a lot of improvements in the last few years. It’s an ongoing project. Thanks for reading the blog.

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