Cuba, Missouri: Good-by Midway, Part I.

Helen Brown  Cuba, MO  2011

Helen Brown worked at the Midway in the 1940s. Recently, she reminisced about those years and shared photos of those days.

Empty windows at Midway Cuba, Missouri

Although the Midway stands a shabby reminder of what it once was, in its hey day, it was a warm, welcoming place for the community to gather.

Although it was never certified as such, The Midway Restaurant has long been a historic landmark on Route 66. The large white building at the intersection of Route 66 and Highway 19 in Cuba, Missouri was a local meeting place and restaurant, a haven for travelers, and a community center of its time. A local feature in the Cuba Free Press, gives the details of how it started, developed, and how long time owner Allyne Earls shaped it over the years. Helen Brown was a waitress there in the 40s, and she shared her remembrances and photos of those days. All the people in the photos can’t be identified by Mrs. Brown, but the old photos take us back to those days. Click to read the Cuba Free Press Midway Part I feature here.

Enjoy additional photos below and take the opportunity to add your stories about Midway in the comments section. There will be a Part II to the Midway story that deals with its place in the hearts of community members and how some couple met at the Midway.

Midway Bus Cuba, Missouri

The Midway Bus provided transportation from town to town.

vintage Midway Cab Cuba, Missouri

The Midway Cab was a community service.

 

Midway Restaurant Staff Cuba, Missouri

Forever frozen in time, cooks and waitresses pause for a photo at the restaurant.

Meat cutter at Midway Restaurant Cuba MO

Mrs. Brown said this gentleman was a meat cutter for Midway and worked in the basement.

Cuba History Museum Allyne Earls uniform

Allyne Earls was the long-time owner of the Wagon Wheel Motel, and her uniform is displayed at the Cuba History Musuem in its Route 66 room. She was said to be a sharp dresser who loved wearing jewelry.

Cuba History Museum (Allyne Earls/Midway)

This display at the History Museum describes Allyne Earls’ role at the Midway.

Roy Earls

Although Roy Earls ran a business in Steelville, his wife Allyne put her stamp on Cuba’s Midway and his name was on the Midway Bus and Cab. He appears to have been a snappy dresser too.

Update: This photo was provided by the grandson of Blanche Rook who worked at the Midway. He contributed this info:

I am the grandson of Blanche Rook, who was the cashier at The Midway, on Rt.66 in Cuba MO. My grandmother worked for Allyne Earls for many years. Allyne was a tough lady who was a very prosperous entrepreneur with the Midway and took it from a cafe and garage in 1934 to a major Trailways bus stop, 20 + room hotel and cafe in the 50′s & 60′s. Her husband, ran the Earl’s Cab company as well as the Earl’s bus line. I have a lot of fond memories of Cuba, as well as St. James, the Rosati family’s grape stands, The Mule Trading Post and my grandfather’s farm in Rolla. My parent’s families were from all up and down Route 66, from Bourbon to Rolla.

Cuba Missouri Midway Restaurant, Blanche Rook

Blanche Rook was one of the many workers whose hard work made the Midway Restaurant a successful venture for many years.

Update: More photos of Blanche Rook sent by her grandson:

Blanche Rook @ Midway Cashier

For Blanche Rook a smile went with the service in the 1950s.

Blanche Rook Midway Cashier 1950s

Blanche Rook was a trusted employee who helped keep the Midway working smoothly.

Although  Allyne Earls is a legendary business owner, we have no photo of her. If anyone can help remedy this, please let us know.

For more photos of the Midway Restaurant now and then read this blog entry “Ghosts of the past haunt Route 66 landmark.” For a followup on this Part I History visit “Some Midway Matchups withstand the tests of time.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 responses to “Cuba, Missouri: Good-by Midway, Part I.”

  1. Nancy Gann says:

    My History teacher taught us that we must remember the past to improve the future. I don’t think you can improve on the contribution Midway has made on the community through the years. As a child, my parents took us to the Midway for breakfast as a treat, and it was. You always knew someone there and as passangers came in off the bus you could always wonder about their trip. Where were they going and where had they been. It’s sad that the future dosen’t always allow room for the best of the past. The welcoming feeling of the Midway is something that should move forward even if the building dosen’t.

  2. jane says:

    I agree with you that the Midway’s past can not be improved on. I think whatever happens on that corner will be different, and, I hope, worthy of its historical footprint.

  3. John Stewart says:

    Here’s a Midway memory of mine, circa mid-1960s, that I wrote in 2008.
    http://thenightwriterblog.com/2008/05/19/neither-here-nor-there/

  4. Kim McDonald says:

    Isn’t my Grandma, Helen Brown, a class act?! Love her.

  5. jane says:

    She is a great lady. I felt fortunate to talk to her.

  6. jane says:

    Great piece of writing , John. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Alan Copeland says:

    I am the grandson of Blanche Rook, who was the cashier at The Midway, on Rt.66 in Cuba MO. My grandmother worked for Allyne Earls for many years. Allyne was a tough lady who was a very prosperous entrepreneur with the Midway and took it from a cafe and garage in 1934 to a major Trailways bus stop, 20 + room hotel and cafe in the 50’s & 60’s. Her husband, ran the Earl’s Cab company as well as the Earl’s bus line. I have a lot of fond memories of Cuba, as well as St. James, the Rosati family’s grape stands, The Mule Trading Post and my grandfather’s farm in Rolla. My parent’s families were from all up and down Route 66, from Bourbon to Rolla.

  8. jane says:

    Are you related to Randy Rook, who graduated from Cuba High School? Thanks for adding your comments. It makes the history so much more real when people add their own viewpoints and personal experiences.

  9. Alan Copeland says:

    Yes, Randy, who now lives in Columbia with his family, is my cousin. His father Aaron Rook was one of my four uncles from Cuba. Is there a way to post photos here? I have a photo of my grandmother in front of The Midway, as well as a shot of her behind the cashier’s counter. Maybe Ms Helen Brown might remember her. She might even remember me. Who knows?

  10. jane says:

    Alan, You can’t post directly on here, but if you go to http://www.cubamomurals.com, you can send the photos to our email address, or you can post the photos on the Cuba MO Murals Facebook page. However, you do it please tell the date, who is in the photo, and any thing else of significance. From there, I can download the photos and then incorporate them into the blog about Midway’s history as an update. Thanks again.

  11. jane says:

    Alan, I downloaded your photo, and I am going to add it on to the end of the post. Thanks so much for following up on this.

  12. Alan Copeland says:

    I posted another picture of my grandmother at the cashier’s counter at The Midway on your facebook page. I have a lot more photos of Cuba. One of interest might be of my mother, who was a star Cuba Highschool women’s basketball player in the early 1930’s. That’s where she met my Dad.

    Thanks for doing this. The history my family has in Cuba, St. James and Rolla was a major part of my early life and continues to be a big part of my adult life.

  13. jane says:

    Thank you for sharing your photos and stories with us.

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