Acclaimed Route 66 Author Jim Hinckley to debut Route Encyclopedia at Cuba Fest 2012

Route 66 Cuba Fest 2012 Cuba, Missouri

October 20-21

Cuba Fest 2012 on October 20-21 in Cuba, Missouri will have crafts, music, trolley tours, food, a 5K race, apple butter making, and family fun as it always does. This year the Tri-C organization that organizes the event has chosen a Route 66 theme in keeping with a special event at this year’s Cuba Fest.

Arizona Route 66 author Jim Hinckley will debut his long-awaited Route 66 Encyclopedia at Cuba Fest. Of the eight Route 66 states and the numerous larger, more well known communities that have the distinction of being Route 66 towns, you might wonder why Mr. Hinckley has chosen small Cuba to debut his book.

Hinckley stated, “On our trip in October of 2011, we became enamored with the tangible passion for the highway manifesting itself in Cuba, the people like Connie and Riva Echols that exemplify the spirit of the road, and the friendliness of the people in the community, and for that reason, I selected Cuba and Cuba Fest as the venue for the book’s introduction.” Hinckley also sees his book tour as a way to promote the small towns and “mom and pop” Route 66 businesses.

In October of 2011, Hinckley stayed at Connie Echols’ Wagon Wheel Motel and, along with Missouri’s Route 66 writer Joe Sonderman and the author of the Wagon Wheel Motel’s history Riva Echols, he held a book signing of his  book Ghost Towns of Route 66. The hospitality that he encountered there, and the spirit of Cuba impressed him enough to want to return for Cuba Fest with his new book, the long-awaited  Route 66 Encyclopedia.

 Authors Jim Hinckley, Riva Echols, Joe Sonderman at the Wagon Wheel Motel

Hinckley, Echols, and Sonderman at a book signing at the Wagon Wheel Motel

The new atlas will create a time capsule of the 85-year history of Route 66. The book will have a concise history of every community along the Route 66 alignments and provide biographical sketches of the individuals who were and are instrumental in its development, transition, and current interest. Hinckley enlisted the assistance of Route 66 historians for research and vintage images. Hinckley and his wife have provided more current images in the book.

The book will also deal with sites and locations crucial to the Route 66 story and its history, including the “World’s Largest Negro Dude Ranch” and a profile of Victor Green, the creator of the Negro Motorist Green Book. The atlas also includes a lively section on the crimes associated with Route 66.

Although Hinckley realizes that the ever-evolving road prevents a totally up-to-date volume, he stated “it is the most comprehensive work yet published about Route 66.”

Route 66 The Mother Road on-line magazine is partnering with Hinckley and Cuba Fest to provide ongoing advertising for the event between now and Cuba Fest in October.

66 The Mother Road Magazine

This year’s Cuba Fest should, in additional to the usual annual events, offer even more richness with the debut of this significant book. Mark your calendars for October 20-21 in Cuba as we prepare to rock the road with this event and perhaps a few surprises. For event updates go to Route 66 Cuba Fest 2012 on Facebook or visit the event’s website page.

Registration form for Vendor Booth: 

For a food vendor application, check here. For a craft vendor application, go here.

If you would like to see scenes from past Cuba Fests and from around Cuba, check out this slideshow. There is music, so if you are watching this at work, you might want to mute the tunes.

 The contact person for Route 66 Cuba Fest 2012 is Cheri Schuette. Her email is Phone numbers are 573-885-2988 or 573-259-0480.

For more information and photos of Cuba, Missouri, check the Viva Cuba website or more posts on this blog.

If you will be traveling to Cuba and would like to check lodging and attractions, visit the Cuba Chamber of Commerce website.

UPDATE: The Tri-C Organization is proud to announce that the Route 66 Road Crew band from Nashville, Tennessee will play at Belmont Winery on Route 66 on the Saturday evening of Cuba Fest from 6 pm to 9 pm..  The band received the first Bobby Troup Artistic Recognition Award from the international Route 66 Association in 2011.  According to their website this rockabilly band performs songs from America’s rock n’ roll era. Hear the songs of Elvis Presley, Rick Nelson, Chuck Berry, The Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, and Asleep at the Wheel, as well as some Route 66 tunes.

5K Mural City Run:  

Mural City 5K Race


Some Midway match-ups stand the test of time…

Midway building Cuba, Missouri

The Midway was a great place for young people to meet and socialize back in its day. Notice the giant ice cream on the front porch.

Cuba, Missouri: The Midway Restaurant on Route 66 was a great place to socialize and meet friends in its day. Some of the match-ups were fleeting and did not last. For others, lasting bonds were formed  that stood the test of time.

The Midway Part II article that was recently published in the Cuba Free Press, dealt with four romances that began at the Midway and developed into lasting relationships.

The laughter is gone now, but the stories remain.

The Midway was a place for travelers, soldiers, family celebrations, and a hangout for Cuba’s young people where they could dance and socialize. And for one of the waitresses in the 1940s, it was a place where she would meet her husband.

The Browns

Helen Dickens worked at the Midway for four years in the 1940s. She worked there during the expansion years when plaster might come raining down on the customers. She was just a young teenager herself, but the owner Mrs. Earls hired her to work the day shift and grew to be her friend.

Then a young Cecil Brown from Leasburg who had just got out of the service in 1949 started coming to the Midway. He was a concrete finisher and had a good job in St. Louis. “At first, I just knew him as Gladys Brown’s brother. He came in with her,” stated Mrs. Brown. Soon, Cecil was coming in by himself, sitting over his order, and visiting with Helen. “He would leave a nice tip and would flirt a little.” Soon the two were dating, and Cecil asked Helen Dickens to become Helen Brown. Although Helen had quit working at Midway before she married and was working at the drug store, Mrs. Earls gave her a wedding shower. The Browns were married in 1950, and the marriage lasted 54 years before Cecil passed on, and now Mrs. Brown lives in her home north of Cuba and enjoys talking about her early days at Midway and the young veteran she met there who would change her life.

Cecil and Helen Brown on their wedding day.

The Browns on their wedding day in 1950 as they stepped into a new future. Their marriage lasted 54 years.

The Bouses

Another local couple that found love in Midway is Ruby Martin and Tom Bouse, who connected at the Midway in the 1950s when Ruby was 16 and Tom was 20. “I knew who Tom was because all the Bouses played softball, but I had never really talked to him.” Ruby was at the Midway after a softball game with her sister Charlotte who was dating Tom’s brother Pete. Tom came over to the table, and he and Ruby made a connection, but when Tom asked Ruby out for the weekend, she said that she already had a date. He said, “Break it.” When she told him that she couldn’t do that, Tom said, “If I can convince him to wait for his date until the next week, will you go out with me this weekend?” Ruby said yes, and believe it or not, Tom did convince the other guy to wait, so he and Ruby could go out. The rest, as they say, is history. They went out, kept dating, and the other guy never got that date. After a couple of years of dating, they were married in 1959. The Bouses say that their deep faith has helped keep them together for 52 years.

The Bouses returned to Midway for their second anniversary and have a fond spot in their thoughts for the Midway and the fun that young people use to have there. Ruby said, “Allyne really respected the kids, but she didn’t take any guff.” Ruby remembers that the school buses from the opposing schools would stop at the Midway after games for the kids to enjoy themselves.

Recently, while Ruby was telling me about how Tom came in Midway that first night and came over to her table, Tom interrupted her and said, “Let me tell you what really happened.” According to Tom, when he walked in and saw Ruby, he thought, “Wow, wow, wow, that’s the one that I want.” Today he says, “We have been together 52 years, and the flames still haven’t gone out.” Wow, wow, wow.

Tom and Ruby Bouse Cuba, Missouri

Tom Bouse and Ruby Martin connected at the Midway in the 1950s after Tom's softball game. Tom remembers thinking "Wow, Wow,Wow" and that Ruby was the girl for him. After 52 years of marriage, the "Wow" is still there.

The Gibbes

Judy Dodd and Jim Gibbs also met at Midway. If you gave their love story a title, it might be “love delayed.” Judy Dodd, who lived at Fanning, was visiting a friend who lived close to Midway. On New Year’s 1965, the two girls walked to Midway to meet friends and visit as it was still a place for young people to socialize. Judy’s friend introduced her to Jim Gibbs, who had finished his National Guard Training and was back working on the family farm in Davisville. There was only one problem. Judy was 15, and Jim was 21. Judy says Jim was afraid that Judy’s dad would run him off because of the age difference if he asked her out. “We would see each other from time to time, but he didn’t ask me out until April, 1966 when I was 17.” Judy then laughs and says, “I told him that I was 18. My mom did have a problem with the age difference until she got to know Jim.”  They began dating and married in February, 1967. They have been married for 44 years.

The Bransons

Diane Cooksey of Cherryville met her husband Leo Branson of Cuba at the Midway in February,1968. Ironically, Diane is Ruby Bouse’s cousin and their moms are twins. She was 19, and Leo was 21 and just home from Vietnam. “I had been working as a police department administrative assistant in St. Louis and came home to visit my mom. My girlfriend and I went to the Midway to get something to eat, and Leo and his friend came in. I kind of knew the other guy, and we spoke when we were in Midway.” According to Diane, “When we all left Midway, we went out by two different doors, but they were parked next to us, and we spoke again in the Midway parking lot.”  Diane and her friend started driving around town, and Leo and his friend were behind them. “Because it was rainy and wet, every time that we came to a stop sign, my car would die. After a little bit, it would start again, and we would go on. The guys were still behind us.” Well, after the third time of the car dying, Leo and his friend got out to talk to the girls. The weather didn’t put a damper on their getting to know each other. Leo and Diane realized that they were both living in Fenton. Leo asked Diane for her phone number, and they started dating. They married in May of 1969. After living in St. Louis County, they have both retired and have built a house at Jakes Prairie. They have been married for 42 years.

Diane Cooksey and Leo Branson Cuba, Missouri

Diane Cooksey and Leo Branson's Midway connection has led to a marriage of 42 years.

The above stories show that Midway was not only a restaurant and hotel but also a place where young people could meet and form lasting relationships that would span the decades.

Many people, who aren’t familiar with the Midway’s past, don’t really “get” how important the run down old building is to the community. Hopefully, these stories about the Midway and its importance in people’s lives can give a little more insight into what Midway has meant to the community.  If you have a Midway story to tell, write it in a Letter to the Editor or online in the comment section to this story.

As long as the stories go on, the Midway lives.

For Part I of the Midway history, read here.

What’s happening in Cuba in 2012? Get ready to run!

Make tracks on Route  66 to Cuba Mo in 2012

Makes tracks on Route 66 on March 31, 2012

2012 in Cuba, Missouri is going to have some excitement, surprises, and fun!  If you go to the new chamber website and look on the left hand side, you will find some of Cuba’s annual events and their dates. We will be filling you in on some details of these events as the year progresses.

Now, we are eager to focus on the first event, the Saturday March 31 Race to the Rocker. This year the Friday night Fitness Expo will be held at the Cuba High School Commons area with the 4-H group offering a carb-loading spaghetti dinner. You can pickup your race packet early if you want. The Saturday race registration/packet pickup takes place at Mizell’s Funeral Home prior to the 9:00 start. Participants run/walk 4-miles on Route 66 (both lanes closed) to the finish line at the Guinness World’s Largest Rocking Chair at the Fanning US 66 General Store & Archery Center. You can get more info at the JOG,inc. website. JOG,inc. is Cuba’s running club that directs the race in cooperation with the St. Louis Big River Running.

This is the fourth year for this ever-growing event that has raised over $34,000 for kid-oriented fitness-related goals. Cowabunga! That’s pretty good.

Here are a few reasons to join us in 2012. We think maybe we tamed the weather genie with our run last year when it thundered, lightninged, sleeted, rained, and snowed. We still had a good time. We are due for blue skies this year!

1. The camaraderie of this race has to be experienced. The town gets race fever that is contagious. Even outsiders who travel to the race  get sucked into event’s spirit.

Route 66 Race to the Rocker Cuba, Missouri

Friends and family come together.

Race to Rocker Cuba, Missouri

This colorful group added a lot of spirit to the race. A lot of this group was military who took time out to join the race.

2. You get a race shirt with that big ol’ rocker on it. This year’s shirt is orange. Register for the race and you can walk around on the 31st and say “Orange glad you have the race shirt?.”

3. Cuba has attractions that you can enjoy in addition to the race: indoor and outdoor murals throughout town, several independently owned restaurants, the 75 year-old Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66, a golf course, a Route 66 winery, and a whole lot more. The finish line is unique.

Race to rocker finish

The 42' Rocker looms in the background at the finish line.

4. This race has changed the lives of folks who have adopted a healthy life-style and trained for the race.

5.  We need YOU. Family and friends come together to form teams and share the experience. People return to their hometown to make this race, and strangers sign up and make new friends. The goal for this year’s race is 1000.

Route 66 Race to the Rocker starting line

Get ready to race!


Racing sock monkey Cuba, Missouri

EVERYONE gets ready to race!



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