It’s a small world: Cuba, Missouri and Riverside, California share history

As Viva Cuba members travel, we often notice that it really is a small world. One of our members recently noticed a Cuba connection during a visit to Riverside, California.

What do Cuba, Missouri and Riverside, California have in common?  Both towns enjoyed visits from two famous women, Amelia Earhart and Bette Davis.

Earhart and Davis are depicted on large outdoor murals along the Route 66 corridor, commemorating their stopovers in Cuba, Missouri.

Earhart made an emergency landing in a field near Cuba, Missouri on September 4, 1928.  Finding no damage to her plane, she continued her journey to Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Cuba's and Earhart's destinies met in 1928.

Cuba’s and Earhart’s destinies met in 1928.

The Mission Inn, a beautiful hotel in Riverside, California boasts two noteworthy pictures of the celebrities that can be seen at the Mission Inn Museum.

This Amelia Earhart photo at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California.

This Amelia Earhart photo at the Mission Inn in Riverside, California features a visit from Amelia Earhart.

The first picture shows DeWitt Hutchings, son-in-law of the builder of the Mission Inn Frank Miller, visiting with Amelia Earhart and the Mission’s pet macaws, Joseph and Napoleon on February 3, 1936. She was honored in a ceremony held at the Mission Inn.  The following year, in 1937, Earhart, along with her navigator vanished over the Pacific Ocean when they attempted the first flight around the world.   

Just as Cuba does, the Mission Inn Museum provides a lesson plan for local students on the famed aviatrix. Their lesson plans are for third graders while Viva Cuba’s are for fourth graders to coincide with their spring Missouri History Month. View one of our resulting fourth grader mural tours here. You will see Cuba’s version of Amelia Earhart.

Both communities also have a connection to the famed Academy Award winning actress Bette Davis.

Actress Bette Davis, whose real name was Ruth Elizabeth Davis, was married on November 30, 1945, to William Grant Sherry in the St. Francis Chapel at the Mission Inn. Read more about it on the museum’s website.

Bette Davis was married at the Mission Inn in 1945.

Bette Davis was married at the Mission Inn in 1945.

Three years later, in 1948, she visited Cuba, Missouri where she dined at the Southern Hotel. Read about it here. Her visit is depicted in a mural on the Cuba Free Press building along Route 66.

Cuba, Mo Bette Davis Mural

The Bette Davis mural depicts her visit to Cuba, MO in the 1940s.

Yes, it’s a small world. If you haven’t visited Cuba, stop by sometime and visit. And bring your camera.



Cuba, Missouri, today, tomorrow, & technology

Cuba, Missouri on Pinterest

Cuba, Missouri now has a Pinterest presence.

Cuba, Missouri is proud of its history, its development, and its art. Viva Cuba sometimes boasts that we are a community where “Art Meets History.”

All of that’s still true, but Viva Cuba has also embraced technology and social media. In addition to this website and blog, we are on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Read about Cuba, Missouri on Viva Cuba's Facebook page.

Viva Cuba’s Facebook page contains 100s of photos and status reports about the community.

Viva Cuba re-designed its website since its 2009 beginning with a mobile friendly interface in mind.

On this blog, which is part of our website, we have over 376 posts about people, places, and events concerning Cuba. Many deal with Cuba’s history and heritage. Our posts always contain photos and graphics, so you can not only read about our heritage, you can see it as well.

Viva Cuba’s Facebook page Cuba, MO Murals & More contains 100s of photos about the activities and scenes of Cuba, MO. Our Facebook posts also update to our Twitter account.

Our Pinterest site contains 11 boards and over 500 pins/photos.

You can find videos about the Cuba murals and our community on You Tube.

Viva Cuba’s future plans include placing QR codes on each of the murals. The codes will open with online information and a map to each mural.

Of course, the best way to experience Cuba, Missouri is in person–and bring a camera.

Time does not stand still, and neither do we. We say, “Cuba is a small town (pop 3400) with big ideas.”  Stay tuned.


High schoolers picture Our Town Cuba, MO

Our Town--Cuba in the fall

McKenzie DeRennaux captures the beauty of a fall day in the Mural City.

Cuba High School senior Kenzie DeRennaux‘s photo Welcome to the Mural City captured the first place position in Viva Cuba’s Our Town Photo Contest, which was open to high schoolers in the Crawford County R-II school district. The bright fall day and treescape perspective added color to her photo of one of Cuba’s welcome signs.

Students were instructed to shoot within the city limits and look at what makes our town unique. 

Second place went to junior Tyler Fieser and his photo Water Tower Town, which captured the Cuba water tower on a blue sky, white fluffy cloud day. During World War II, a young soldier from Cuba George Smith sent his wife a postcard of the Eiffel Tower. On the card, he said that he would rather see the Cuba Water Tower than the Eiffel Tower. We think that he would approve of this photo.

Photo of Cuba, MO Water Tower

Tyler Fieser’s Water Tower Town features a small town icon.

Kenneth Highley Jr., a high school junior, took 3rd place with his photo Been Here Forever, which features the railroad trestle and its date of 1934. Cuba originally grew up around the railroad, which was key to its early development.

Railroad trestle

Kenneth Highley, Jr. featured the dated railroad trestle for his photo contest submission

Viva Cuba thanks the young photographers who submitted photographs and Cuba High School teacher Suzanne Bouse who helped coordinate the contest. We also appreciate the work of our independent judges who selected the winners.

We hope the contest will spur Cuba’s citizens to think of the many elements that make Cuba, MO stand out from other small towns. What would you choose to photograph for a slice of Cuba?

Don’t forget our Christmas over Route 66 Cuba, Missouri Print

Christmas over Route 66 Cuba, Missouri print

Christmas over Route 66 Cuba, Missouri

For the second year, Viva Cuba is offering our nostalgic Christmas over Route 66 Cuba, Missouri print. The print was warmly received last year, and Cuba citizens and collectors purchased many prints as gifts and for their homes.

Cuba, Missouri over Route 66 print

You can frame the print to match your decor.

Last year the original Ray Harvey painting was on display in Peoples Bank. But for only $20, prints can be purchased at the Hwy. 19 Peoples Bank.  You can order the print online here for $20. and a small shipping fee. Our elves are standing by to get your print in the mail for you.

Wherever you are, keep a little piece of a Cuba Christmas next to your heart.

Missouri artist Ray Harvey

Here’s Missouri artist Ray Harvey and…could it be?


Viva Cuba busy with plans for 2013 Cuba Fest October 19-20

Cuba Fest 2013

There’s something for everyone at Cuba Fest 2013.
Cuba Fest is always the 3rd weekend of October.

Tri-C’s Cuba Fest 2013 allows Cuba, MO to bring together a variety of family music, food, crafts, and entertainment for both its local citizens and visitors to enjoy. Each year  Viva Cuba, our community betterment and beautification group, plans several activities as their contribution to the community fun.

Here’s a preview of what we have in store this year: (more…)

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