Recklein Auditorium Gets Facelift in July, 2017

Recklein Auditorium gets a new look in July, 2017


The City of Cuba invited Viva Cuba, Cuba’s community beautification group, to submit ideas on completing the exterior renovation of Recklein Auditorium.  A committee formed, and after three months of exchanging ideas, committee members submitted their vision to the city council.

The Plan

The group wanted to salute the history of the 1922 Recklein Auditorium, originally built as a high school auditorium. 

Viva Cuba members contacted Missouri artist Ray Harvey. Harvey created a plan utilizing a trompe l’oeil look. Trompe l’oeil gives the illusion  of the eye perceiving painted detail as a three-dimensional object. Workers covered the original windows at some point. The painting restores them.


The 1930s Phillips 66 Station on Route 66 fuels Cuba, MO’s history

At the end of the blog, feel free to leave personal reminiscences, forgotten years, or any information that adds to our knowledge. Often it’s the comments that make the facts “come alive.”

Cuba, MO Phillips 66 Gas Station.

L-R Ralph Wirz, Ervin Hendrickson, Homer Carr, and Paul T. Carr stand proudly in front of the successful business on the corner of Route 66. The station was a Mobil gas station at this time although the P for Phillips is still in place on the chimney. Paul T. Carr built the station in 1932 when the coming of Route 66 increased a mobile America’s need for fuel.

History of the Phillips 66 Station

The Paul T. Carr Years

Let’s go back to the history of Paul T. Carr’s Phillips 66 station that opened in 1932 to see how the station has added to Cuba, MO’s history at the 4-Way intersection.

Locals have long called the location “the four way,” because of the four stop signs that marked the busy intersection. Today, a modern traffic light serves that purpose.

Over the years, the little station on the corner of Highway 19 and Route 66 in Cuba, Missouri, became obsolete and sat empty as a quaint afterthought of grander times. Often, people would speculate what the P on the chimney stood for. Some thought the P was the initial of the original owner, Paul T. Carr. Others thought maybe it was for the Pontiac cars that he sold there.

The Station’s Beginnings and its Builder 1932-1960s

It was at the 4-way intersection, where the Midway Cafe & Garage were already doing business on the opposite corner, where visionary Paul T. Carr stepped onto the scene to build his gas station in 1932. He recognized the needs of the Route 66 traveler on the new highway that would span 8 states.

Longtime Cuba businessman Bob Coffman first met Paul Carr in 1958. Since Carr and Coffman were both active in the Masonic Lodge, they rode together to several Masonic activities in St. Louis. “That’s when he related to me how he came to have the gas station,” said Coffman. “Paul was working for Roy Earls in a garage where the Midway building is located (The Midway has since been torn down). Carr’s wife had passed away, leaving a young daughter Jeanne to raise. Since this was in the middle of the great depression, there wasn’t much money for anything but the barest necessities.”

However, Carr did not let adverse conditions stop him. He purchased the lot at the corner of Highway 19 and Route 66 in the center of Cuba.


Cuba, the small town with big ideas, features its own Christmas print

A Route 66 Missouri gift idea waiting for you…

Viva Cuba, the beautification group that commissioned Cuba’s murals, had long been wanting a piece of artwork with a Christmas scene. It didn’t seem right for a full-time mural. They discussed alternatives with Missouri artist Ray Harvey who was known for such scenes. Harvey had previously painted the Bette Davis and Phillips 66 murals for Viva Cuba. After about three years of discussion and several months of preparation, the print titled Christmas Over Route 66 Cuba, Missouri was introduced at Cuba Fest 2012, and it enjoyed brisk sales. Artist Harvey was at Cuba Fest to sign prints and talk to people as he also put on a carving demonstration of some whimsical pumpkins. This particular artwork is a $20 print that is available to all Cubans, past and present. It will fit in a stock 18 X 24 frame, so it doesn’t require custom framing. Viva Cuba is happy to offer this print that is accessible to all Cubans on a more personal level than a mural would be.

The Process:

1. Harvey met with Viva Cuba several times about how much could be included (not nearly as much as they wanted.

Artist Ray Harvey discussing the details of the print with Viva Cuba members.

Harvey spent several sessions working out the details with Viva Cuba members.

2. Local pilot Don McGinnis flew Harvey over Cuba for a “birds eye view.”

Route 66:West Washington Cuba MO

A bird’s eye view of Cuba showing W. Washington/Route 66.

3. Harvey photographed landmarks from the ground.

Harvey photographing the vintage Route 66 station

Harvey photographing the vintage Route 66 station in Cuba, MO. The station has been at the corner since the 1930s.

4. Harvey painted and tweaked details for Viva Cuba members. The painting was delivered.

Christmas over Route 66 Cuba, Missouri painting was delivered.

The original painting was delivered. It will be on display in People’s Bank prior to Christmas. Note how Harvey could provide the mini-murals in the print. The Frisco train 1522 chugs by in the background. The water tower with its crown of lights from the 60s  glow in their detail.

5. The digital image was made from the painting to create the prints. They can be purchased for $20 at the Hwy. 19 Peoples Bank or Spirals Gallery. At this time, a limited number of signed copies are available.  Or you can go online to order the print for a small $7.00 shipping fee for domestic orders. The prints are shipped in a cardboard shipping tube.

Framed Christmas over Route 66 Cuba, Missouri print

The print will be fit in a stock 18 X 24 frame or you can have it customed framed to fit your decor and tastes.

6. The print was introduced at Cuba Fest 2012 to brisk sales. Artist Ray Harvey was available to sign prints and meet with those interested in the print. Could that be…

Santa and Ray Harvey at Cuba Fest 2012

Santa dropped by to discuss the print with the artist. He had a rare weekend off before gearing up for the Christmas season.  Santa approved and bought some prints for the elves and reindeer. Even they like to get Christmas gifts.

With its Christmas over Route 66 Cuba, Missouri print, Cuba continues its reputation as a small town with big ideas.

 For more information on the artist, visit


Artist Ray Harvey’s entry revs up for 2011 Chair-i-table Auction

Cuba, Missouri Artist Ray Harvey Route 66 Chair

Harvey's Route 66 chair USA-1 should create a lot of enthusiasm at the auction.

Missouri artist Ray Harveys latest piece is not a canvas or one of his outstanding murals. Harvey has painted this vintage lawn chair, which will be presented for bidding at Viva Cuba’s annual silent Chair-i-table Auction, on May 14 at the Route 66 Mural City Party at the KC Hall in Cuba, Missouri. The chair is titled “USA-1.”

To prepare the chair, Jim Montgomery’s Autobody sandblasted the chair and painted it with automobile paint to prepare the surface for Harvey’s design. Harvey also finished the chair with a protective finish.

Harvey who painted the Bette Davis mural and the History at the 4-Way Mural on the 1931 Phillips 66 station, as well as other murals for various businesses in Cuba, often uses classic cars in his murals. On this chair he has paired Route 66 theme and a the grill of a 50s Corvette.

All the artists’ chairs or tables for auction will be on display throughout the evening’s event and available for silent bids. Bidding ends at 9:00 pm with active bidding able to play out until the last bid.  This year’s auction should be an interesting bonus to the Route 66 Mural City Party. All proceeds from the auction and event will benefit Viva Cuba’s Mural Project and other community betterment projects.

Only 300 tickets are sold for the evening’s dinner , dance,  and the drawing where one lucky winner will take home $10,000. Only a few tickets are left for purchase.

Below are a few other of Harvey’s car-inspired works.

Anne-Marie Burger Cuba, MIssouri

Anne-Marie Burger of Lisving St. Louis interviews Harvey is front of a Sting Ray that he painted.

Ray Harvey Victorian Manor Mural Cuba

This classic drive-in scene at Victorian Manor Assisted Living in Cuba has many of Harvey's classic elements.


View “Classic Cars take their place in Cuba, Missouri’s public art offerings” for more of Harvey’s work.

2011 Route 66 Mural City Party Cuba, Missouri

May 14 Route 66 Mural City Party

New t-shirt features a cool car and Cuba, Missouri Route 66 history…

In October, Viva Cuba introduced the white t-shirt that featured the vintage Highway Patrol Car pictured in one of the History at the Way murals at the intersection of Route 66 and Hwy. 19. The murals are located on the historic Phillips 66 Station at the intersection. The shirt went on sale at the Visitor Center at the I-44 overpass, and it was so popular that some of the sizes have sold out . If you want one of the few remaining white shirts, purchase them soon.

Viva Cuba T-Shirt Cuba, Missouri

The white shirts are selling out quickly.

Viva Cuba is happy to introduce the second edition of the shirt with the mural panel by Route 66 artist Ray Harvey printed on a black 50/50 cotton/polyester blend. The black shirt is available at the Visitor Center in sizes L, and XL.  Viva Cuba will order other sizes as the white shirts sell out . The design really pops on the black shirt. In this version of the shirt, the historic landmark Wagon Wheel Motel can be seen in the background of the mural.

Viva Cuba T-Shirt Cuba, Missouri

The new t-shirt design pops against the black background

If you are looking for a Valentine’s Day gift , this might be just what you need. It’s got a cool car and a little bit of Route 66 history.

Cuba, Missouri History at the 4-Way Murals
The Vintage Highway Patrol Car is featured in one of the murals on the restored Phillips 66 Station.

For more history of this mural, read “Cuba, Missouri says good by to long-time trooper and a piece of our history” and “Historic Route 66 intersection an important presence in Cuba, Missouri.”

Cuba, Missouri Route 66 Murals
The Wallis family  restored the classic Route 66 Station to preserve a piece of Cuba’s history and honor Bill Wallis, founder of Wallis Companies, who passed away in 2001.

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