We are wishing you a cool Christmas in Cuba, MO in 2012

We are hanging out the wreaths in Cuba, Missouri

Cuba, Missouri is ready for a “cool” Christmas season: the tree, the Christmas print, the History Museum, the parade, the lighting contest, the rocker, and more…

The Tree

Cuba, MO “Route 66 Mural City” has the “coolest” Christmas tree on Route 66. This blog entry from last year shows the tree during its first year that Chris Palmer created it. This year Chris has designed the condenser to look like a gift box under the tree, and he has refined his lighting system. It is located on Route 66/W. Washington. Take your camera for a family picture in front of the “coolest tree on Route 66.” Let’s see how many of those we can get on Facebook showing the location of the “coolest” tree on Route 66.

Chris Palmer's innovative Christmas tree made from AC coils

Some of our Cuba neighbors are innovative. Chris Palmer figured out how to use an air conditioner and coils to make this unique Christmas tree that he lit and displayed in the historic area for the first time in 2011. What will Chris dream up for 2012?

The History Museum at Christmas

Cuba’s History Museum’s special holiday artifacts and displays offer a festive glance at our history.

Cuba, MO History Museum 2012 Christmas

Check the History Museum’s website for updates and new info.

The Parade & Santa

If you need a little small town Christmas parade footage to go with the tree coverage, the Cuba Chamber of Commerce will have its Christmas Parade on December 8 starting at 6 pm. The parade begins at the historic landmark Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66 and continues down Route 66 to Smith Street where it loops around to the Lions Den on Buchanan Street where Santa will be greeting the kids. This will be another photo opportunity. While at the Wagon Wheel Motel grounds, check out the vintage Nativity Scene that has been used at the historic motel since the 1960s.

Nativity scene at the Wagon Wheel Motel Cuba, Mo

The vintage Nativity Scene at the historic Wagon Wheel Motel has been used since the 1960s.

Cuba’s First Christmas Painting & Print

This is also the first year that Cuba has had its own nostalgic Christmas Over Route 66 Cuba, Missouri painting and prints. The Hwy 19 Peoples Bank will display the original painting during the Christmas season. Prints can be purchased at the bank or at Spirals Art Gallery on Route 66/East Washington, next to the East Office Bar & Grill. To see the genesis and evolution of the print, read this blog entry.

Cuba Christmas painting & prints at the Highway 19 Peoples Bank

Stop off at the Highway Peoples Bank to see the original Christmas Over Route 66 Cuba, Missouri painting. Drop off some canned goods for the Cuba Food Pantry.

Santa & the Christmas Over Route 66 Print

Santa poses with the Christmas Over Route 66 Cuba, Missouri print. Look for his key to the ’57 Sleigh.

The World’s Largest Rocking Chair at Christmas

You might want to drive 4-miles to the Guinness World’s Greatest Rocking Chair at Fanning to get a photo with the festive red & green seasonal lighting.

World's Largest Rocker at Christmas

The Guinness World’s Largest Rocking Chair on Route 66 lights up the night in seasonal colors.

The Lighting Contest

The Cuba Chamber of Commerce Lighting Contest is also in progress, so you might see some great light displays in some of our neighborhoods or at some local businesses.

Christmas lights in the Viva Cuba Garden

The Christmas lights are lit in the Viva Cuba Garden on Route 66.

Our Churches

Many churches and organizations in Cuba are also having special services and programs during the Christmas Season. Below are some events of the Cuba Ministerial Alliance that we borrowed from a Cuba Methodist Church listing. People who receive a food basket need to sign up with the Ministerial Alliance ahead of time and attend the service on Dec. 12.  Please feel free to post other church activities that are occurring in Cuba. Christmas is truly a season of giving, and we urge everyone to look to those in need, whether it is a gift tree for the children or our furry friends at the Cuba Animal Control facility. Or perhaps you know of a special family or situation that could use a little help this Christmas. Cuba is a giving town, and it goes into overdrive at Christmas.

Cuba Ministerial Alliance Christmas Schedule 2012

We borrowed the Cuba Ministerial Alliance Schedule from the Methodists, but many area churches participate in these events. Feel free to list your Christmas programs and services in the comments section of this post. People who receive a food basket from the Alliance need to sign up for one ahead of time and attend the Dec. 12 service.

We would be glad to have you enjoy Cuba during the Christmas season and view our new Christmas print, have a meal at a local restaurant, take a night drive by the murals, see our unique tree and rocker, and attend some of our Christmas events. You are welcome in the Mural City the year round.

Hayes Shoe Store at Christmas

Hayes Shoe Store always prepares a Christmas display.

The Garden and the Phillips 66 Station

Enjoy a drive through Cuba on Route 66 to see the murals at night and the Christmas lights.

Check the Cuba Free Press and the Cuba, Missouri Chamber of Commerce website for updated info area Christmas events.

The Eiffel Tower or the Cuba Water Tower? Veterans Day meditations

Eiffel tower Paris, France

For most, seeing the Eiffel Tower would be a thrill. But soldier George Smith had other thoughts on his mind.

Some thoughts on Veterans Day…

When Judy Workman bought an antique dresser for Wallace House at an auction, she didn’t know the small slice of Cuba history that she would find inside–old photos, a WW II postcard, and other artifacts of a family. One photo and the front and back of a postcard gives us pause on this Veterans Day to think about the young soldiers who put their lives on hold to defend our country. They left their loved ones at home, sometimes to venture to far lands. How did they feel? What did they think about?

George Smith WWII

A young George Smith joined many during WWII to serve their country.

George Smith was a soldier who left his wife behind. He traveled to France  to serve during WW II. This post card of the Eiffel Tower and the sentiments he wrote to his wife Mrs. George Smith in 1944 show his feeling for the famous landmark and his feelings toward Cuba.

WWII Postcard from Paris, France

George Smith displayed his humor and his longing for his home of Cuba, Missouri in this postcard.

“Dearest, I’d prefer seeing the Cuba Water Tower. Am not having a wonderful time. Glad you’re not here. Ha. All my love George.

Our Cuba train tracks took many off to World War II and other wars and conflicts. Although some would travel thousands of miles, their hearts were often still in Cuba. Let us use this Veterans Day November 11 to remember and appreciate their service and their love for our country. 

Cuba, Missouri Water Tower

For soldier George Smith the memories of the Cuba, Missouri water tower took the place of his opportunity to see the Eiffel Tower.







Passing of Wilbur Vaughn brings forth memories of the famous Bette Davis photo

Wilbur Vaughn and his wife Imogene would often visit with artist Ray Harvey during the painting of the Bette Davis mural.

Wilbur Vaughn and his wife Imogene would often visit with artist Ray Harvey during the painting of the Bette Davis mural.

Wilbur Vaughn was a young man when Bette Davis visited Cuba,Missouri in 1948. But on that fateful day the mega-star’s destiny would become entwined with Vaughn’s. He would tell the story of what happened that day many times, often with great humor. Artist Ray Harvey would paint a mural on the Cuba Free Press building that commemorated the events of that day. Journalists videoed Vaughn telling his story, and he would often show off the camera that he used to take the photo. Articles recounted his encounter with Bette Davis. Although Mr. Vaughn’s telling of the  story draws to a close with his passing, his part in our town’s history remains for all to see.

Viva Cuba would like to offer its condolences to Mr. Vaughn’s family and friends.  We valued both Mr. Vaughn’s friendship and gracious support of the mural project.  May he rest in peace.

The photo shows a young Wilbur Vaughn, his photo of Bette Davis, his camera that he used, and the Southern Hotel as it was during the visit by Bette Davis.

The photo collage shows a young Wilbur Vaughn, his photo of Bette Davis, the camera that he used, and the Southern Hotel as it was during the visit by Bette Davis.

Bette Davis newspaper article Cuba News & Review

The facsimiles of the articles about Bette Davis’s visit tell the story.


Wilbur J. Vaughn
(July 15, 1929 – October 29, 2012)

U.S. VeteranWilbur Jewell Vaughn was born on Monday, July 15, 1929 in Cuba, MO to Henry B. Vaughn and Myrtle Roberts Vaughn. He passed away in St. Louis, MO on Monday, October 29, 2012 at the age of 83 years.Wilbur served honorably in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict as a corporal. He was a military policeman and worked in the Criminal Investigation Division. He married Imogene Dugan on December 31, 1949 in Steelville, MO and to this union 4 children were born. Wilbur had several career opportunities during his adult life. He managed movie theatres in several states for 18 years. He was a construction worker for the Peabody Mines. At one time, he worked for the MO Conservation in Willow Springs, MO as a watchman in the fire tower. He also, was known for his photography and famous for the mural on the Cuba Free Press building featuring the picture he took of the actress Betty Davis. He was a member of the Cuba First Baptist Church. Wilbur will be truly missed by his family and many friends that loved him dearly.

He was preceded by his parents; son Bryan Vaughn; brothers Everette, Earl, Floyd, Noel, Lloyd and Elmer Vaughn and sister Mae Vaughn.

He is survived by his wife Imogene Dugan Vaughn of Cuba, MO; children Julie Ann (David) Darmon of Ballwin, MO, Roger (Margarete) Vaughn of Owensville, MO and Charlene (Conrad) Percival of Rosebud, MO; brother Charles (Helen) Vaughn of Cuba, MO; sisters-in-law Carol (Stanley) Berry of Springfield, MO and Eileen Vaughn of California, MO; grandchildren David (Andrea) Darmon, Jr. of Wildwood, MO, Ginger (Kasey) O’Hara of Fenton, MO, Joe Darmon of Ballwin, MO, and Tina (Patrick) Heidbrink of Owensville, MO; great grandsons Braden Michael Darmon and Reed Patrick Darmon of Wildwood, MO; nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Visitation is Thursday, November 1, 2012 from 5-8:00PM and Funeral Service at 11:00AM at Hutson Funeral Home, Cuba, MO with Rev. Bob Knight officiating. Burial at Roberts Cemetery, Salem, MO.

Memorials may be given to Roberts Cemetery.

Arrangements are under the direction of Hutson Funeral Home, Cuba, MO.

For more on the Bette Davis story and Wilbur Vaughn’s part in it  read “Bette Davis visits Cuba, Missouri” and “Original Bette Davis articles served as mural inspiration.”

Wilbur Vaughn speaking at a Route 66 Association of Missouri luncheon meeting.

Wilbur Vaughn speaking at a Route 66 Association of Missouri luncheon meeting in Cuba, Missouri.





Best of the Blog



Search the Blog

Find Us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter