They think we’re pretty!

Viva Cuba Garden and Traffic Control Boxes

The Viva Cuba Garden is colorful with plantings and paintings.

Today, Viva Cuba received a news release stating that Cuba, Missouri is in the running for one of the Prettiest, Painted Places in Missouri. Competition is steep, and we are honored to be included. The contest is sponsored by the Paint Quality Institute.

The contest involved submitting 20-25 photos of painted buildings, houses, or other objects that enhance the beauty of our town or district.  Cuba is a small town, but as a visitor from the United Kingdom that I met today said to me, “Your town is just brilliant.” In the United Kingdom, brilliant means exceptional.

Congratulations to the people of Cuba and the many artists and painters who have contributed to the beauty of  Cuba, “Route 66 Mural City.”

Below is the news release:

  •  Thanks to a national competition to find the “Prettiest Painted Places in America,” people across the country are discovering what Missouri residents have long known:  The Show Me State has some of the most beautiful towns and neighborhoods to be found anywhere.
  •  Sponsored by the Paint Quality Institute, whose mission is to educate the public about quality paints and coatings, the “Prettiest Painted Places” competition has drawn six entries from Missouri:  Boonville, Carthage, Chillicothe, Clinton’s Downtown Square, Cuba, and Lafayette Square in St. Louis.
  • Over the next few weeks, the six Missouri communities will vie with nearly 200 nominees from other states for regional and national honors, as judges with expertise in color selection, exterior painting, and home improvement review the entries, conduct additional research and make selected site visits.  Finalists will be announced in late September, and the nation’s 12 “Prettiest Painted Places” will be revealed in mid-October.
  • The Paint Quality Institute has conducted its competition twice before, most recently in 2000.  Its purpose is to vividly show how an attractive paint color scheme can greatly enhance the “curb appeal” of any structure’s exterior.
  •  “We feel there is no better way to demonstrate the importance of exterior paint color than to focus on these beautiful real-world communities that take so much pride in their appearance,” said Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert at the Paint Quality Institute.
  •  “The places involved in our competition are a tremendous inspiration to us all, and by giving them recognition, we hope to instill in the public a better appreciation for the role exterior paint can play in protecting and enhancing the appearance of any home or building,” she said.
  •  A wide variety of “places” have been entered in the competition — big city neighborhoods, tiny rural towns, historical districts, “Main Streets” and communities with exterior mural programs.  Nominees range from well-known places, such as Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Napa, California to hidden gems like Vashon-Maury Island, Washington and Bell Buckle, Tennessee.
  •  In case you’re curious, the names and locations of all of the nominees are posted on the Paint Quality Institute website at
  •  Boonville:  Founded in 1810, the town is a historic river and railroad community on the Missouri River with more than 450 historic buildings and sites, many of them beautifully painted.
  • Carthage:  Burned to the ground during the Civil War, the town was reconstructed during the late 19th century mining boom when the robust economy converged with the Victorian era to produce a legacy of marvelous architecture that today can be seen in Carthage’s four historic districts.
  • Chillicothe:  Nestled in the rolling hills of north Missouri, Chillicothe is a welcoming town with historic charm that tells a story throughout its beautiful downtown with more than 20 exquisite hand-painted murals.
  • Clinton Downtown Square:  The largest square in the state, Clinton’s square is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and captures the city’s heritage through its impressive courthouse and beautifully painted buildings, many of which date back to the 1890s.
  • Cuba:  “Route 66 Mural City” is a pretty town with exquisite outdoor murals and an historic business district painted in a palette of historical colors — truly a place where art meets history.
  • Lafayette Square, St. Louis:  A former winner of the Prettiest Painted Places competition, the neighborhood is comprised of stately Victorian-era “painted ladies” with fine detailing that frame beautiful Lafayette Park.

See some of our prettiest painted places:

Cuba, MO’s a small town with big ideas? Just ask Ozark Ed.

Cuba, MO Ozark Ed's World's Ozark Shiner Lure

Ozark Ed, local fisherman and craftsman, spent the summer crafting a record breaking Ozark Shiner lure. The sign says his lure is two feet longer than the official World’s Largest lure., which is 10’10” long.

Cuba, MO may only have a population of 3400 and have the smallest WalMart in the U.S., but we’ve got some big stuff too. And people with big ideas. Maybe not big like the Willis building in Chicago or the Empire State Building in New York, but big.

Here are some examples:

  • The Fanning Outpost Guinness World’s Largest Rocking Chair 42+ feet tall
World's Largest Rocking Chair Fanning, MO

The World’s Largest Rocking Chair brings many to take photos.


  • The Hayes Shoe Store Robert Wadlow Shoes Size 35 & 37
Robert Wadlow Shoes Cuba, MO

Hayes Shoe Store has two Robert Wadlow shoes on display. This souvenir pin shows one of them.

  • The Three Mile Creek bed & sign (size unknown)
Three Mile Creek Bed

Three Mile Creek, crafters of custom furniture, uses its oversized bed as part of their signage.

And we’ve got some old stuff

  • The Wagon Wheel Motel– the oldest  continuously operating motel on Route 66 since 1935

    Connie's Shoppe/Wagon Wheel Motel Cuba MO

    The Wagon Wheel Motel has been welcoming travelers since 1935.

And now Cuba has one more mega-artifact thanks to Ozark Ed Smith who crafts handmade lures at his country home north of Cuba. Ed’s son Patrick thought that it would be neat for his dad to build the “World’s Largest Fishing Lure” in keeping with many of the other large artifacts in Cuba. Ed can build just about anything, so he took the challenge. This is a really big fish (lure) story.

The base of the lure is wooden, and Ed molded fiber glass screen to build the form, and then covered it with foam. The inside of the lure holds old cans and other filler. The lure is a larger replica of one of Ed’s Ozark Shiner lures. Of course, after it was built and painted, Ed and his son had to test it out. They tied it to the back of their boat and away they went. It lure performed admirably with good action. Now, Patrick is dealing with the application to Guinness World’s Record. The current record holder lure is 10’10”, and Ed’s is two feet longer.

Where it makes the record or not, Ed  built the lure for fun. “Even if I get the record, I know someone will come along and break it pretty quickly,” he stated.

The smaller Ozark Shiner is for smallmotuh bass. Ed wasn’t sure if you could catch anything on the giant lure but if you did, “it would have to be a whale of a fish,” according to Ed.

Ozark Ed plans to be at Cuba Fest 2012 with his handmade lures and with the big Ozark Shiner lure. He is working on a way that kids can sit on it and get their pictures taken.

Cuba Fest is October 20-21, 2012 in the Recklein Commons area. Make sure you stop by Ozark Ed’s space to see his lures of all sizes.  You can’t miss this one.

Giant Ozark Shiner Lure by Ozark Ed Smith

Ozark Ed’s World’s Largest lure is over 12′ long.

Ed's original Ozark Shiner lure served as an inspiration for his larger lure.

The original Ozark Shiner lure handcrafted by Ed Smith

Check out this Facebook video of the Ozark Shiner in one of our local lakes.

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