The Packard Wagon touring Route 66 brought a second look from passersby.
This week’s photo comes to us from Chris Case at the Cuba Free Press. As soon as he spied, the vintage Packard station wagon, he realized that it was like the one in the Bette Davis mural atop the Cuba Free Press building. Case grabbed his camera for this photo opportunity.
It seems that the Packard’s owner Elliott Bayly (Left) of Duluth, MN stopped by the Cuba Free Press building in his restored Packard “woodie” wagon when he noticed the Packard in the Bette Davis mural. He and his friend Bill Piggott of Evanston, Illinois, are touring Route 66 and were pleased to find Cuba and its murals. Thanks to Mr. Case for sharing his photo.
For more information on the Bette Davis mural read “Bette Davis” visits Cuba, MO.”
Bette Davis visited Cuba, Missouri in 1948. She dined at the Southern Hotel above, and her photo was taken by young Wilbur Vaughn.
In 1948, traveling Route 66, Bette Davis pulled up to the Southern Hotel in her Packard station wagon, and the town has never forgotten it. The memory remains in large part because of the photo that then nineteen year-old Wilbur Vaughn took as the academy award winning actress was leaving the Southern Hotel where she had dined.
Wilbur Vaughn still lives in Cuba and often tells the story. He says it was a cold, rainy Monday night, and he waited outside the Southern Hotel until Miss Davis came out. He then snapped a photo which he had been forbidden to take earlier in the evening by Miss Davis’s male companion. The companion was so angered that he chased Wilbur down the street, cursing all the way. The fleet-footed young photographer dodged behind a gas station and heard a “thump” behind him. He turned to see the man face down in the mud. Wilbur escaped to the nearby local theater where Wilbur worked. He developed the photo in the darkroom there. It was then printed in the Cuba News & Review the next week.
Vaughn still owns the camera that he used.
When the Cuba Free Press built its new building, it seemed a natural spot for a mural commemorating the visit. Artist Ray Harvey painted the mural that highlighted the event.
The mural commemorating Bette Davis's visits draws many tourists to continue to take her photograph.
During the 3rd weekend of October, Viva Cuba offers narrated tours of the murals aboard a 1904-style trolley. Here the trolley pauses for passengers to hear the story of Bette Davis's visit to Cuba.
For more on Cuba’s murals visit www.cubamomurals.com.