1. It started with this blighted area on West Washington/Route 66–not a very attractive sight in our town. Viva Cuba decided that it was time to transform this blight into a more attractive scene. (more…)
Viva Cuba, a non-profit community betterment organization, plans to tackle this small pocket of blight in a new pocket project. Pocket projects are small transformations that improve a previously blighted or spoiled view. The projects may take a couple of hundred dollars or several thousand dollars as the Viva Cuba Garden at the intersection of Route 66 and Hwy. 19 has. (more…)
The Gold Star Boys mural was painted right after 9/11/2001. It pictures the faces of six young men from the Cuba Area who fought in WWII and did not return to their families. The families received the Gold Star Medal that was given to families who lost a relative to war. The mural was well received and makes quite a presence on Filmore Street on Route 66 in Cuba.
What we thought…
But then we found out that there was more to the story. In the red part of the mural the names of the six young men are inscribed along with the location where they died during the war. Ralph Fishwick lost his life in the line of duty on a return convoy off the coast of Africa on December 2, 1942. We thought. Read on for the rest of the story.
What was revealed…
Ralph Fishwick was born in Cuba in 1912 and on his father’s side of the family was a member of one of the early families of Cuba that was involved in mercantile and banking. On his mother’s side of the family, he was related to the Bishs. In 1930, after he graduated from Cuba High School, he wanted to join the Navy. He was told that his eyes were bad and turned down. He was told to do eye exercises if he wanted to try again. After faithfully doing the exercises, he was accepted and began his first tour of duty. Shortly after that, his eyes worsened, and he started wearing glasses.
In the Navy he received training to become an electrician. After his tour of duty, he returned to Cuba. When World War II broke out, Fishwick reenlisted. When his convoy went down off the coast of Africa, his family was notified that he lost his life on December 2,1942. When Viva Cuba researched the mural and found an early VFW publication, this story along with a photo was used in the designing of the mural. But that was not the end of the story.
About 20 years ago, Mr. Fishwick’s niece Carol contacted the Defense Department after discovering that certain papers about his death had been declassified. What his niece found out, was quite different from what the family had been led to believe.
Mr. Fishwick had died when his small boat was hit by a mine or perhaps even hit by a German submarine off the East coast of the United States. As a matter of national security, the United States government didn’t want anyone to know that an enemy submarine could be that close to an American coast. So the story was changed when the families were notified.
Ralph Fishwick’s body along with 14 others was discovered on May 8, 1943. At that time, the real location was given. The cold waters of the Atlantic had kept their bodies perfectly preserved. He was brought back and buried in Kinder Cemetery alongside many members of the Fishwick and Bish families.
The article below was in the 1943 Cuba Review:
The Cuba Review also reported the full military funeral given to Mr. Fishwick.
Because Mr. Fishwick died while he was in the service, he is known as a Gold Star Boy. A Gold Star pin was given to his mother, showing that she had lost a son. It was worn with pride but also with a sense of loss and sadness. When the mural featuring Fishwick was painted, his brother Bob felt pride that his brother was included in the remembrance.
So the next time, that you are in the area of the mural on Filmore St., stop and pay tribute to all Cuba’s brave young men who are pictured in the mural. You will also find their names with a star by them etched on the Veterans Memorial on N. Smith Street in the Recklein Commons area.
And that’s the rest of the story.
For more info on the Gold Star Boys mural:
A version of this story was printed in a Cuba Free Press article.
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…
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.
The History Museum at Christmas
Cuba’s History Museum’s special holiday artifacts and displays offer a festive glance at our history.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Check the Cuba Free Press and the Cuba, Missouri Chamber of Commerce website for updated info area Christmas events.
Last night we received a tip from car buff Jerry McLain that the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour of classic cars would be traveling down Highway 19 to I-44 Exit 208 where they would turn right and travel west. Thousands of cars were expected to make the trip, and they were expected in Cuba between 10:00-10:30 am.
Around 7:30 am on Wednesday, while on an errand, I started seeing some of the cars at the Huddle House, Super 8, and the Midwest Travel Plaza. I stopped to take some photos and talked to some of the tourers. One driver told me that they were part of the early wave and that cars would go by for several hours. The tour directed them to I-44, but a few of the cars made it into Cuba. We are use to classic cars traveling Route 66, but not as many come to Cuba from Hwy. 19, so this was a treat.
Then I ran into these guys who were huddled around a map on their car while I was taking photos. I heard them say ZZ, so I asked them if they were looking for ZZ? They said yes, and so I told them how to get to Washington Street, which was also Route 66 and then ZZ. While giving directions, I mentioned the restored Phillips 66 station at the 4-way, and their eyes lit up. One man said, “That’s what we are looking for.” It seems that this group from North Carolina wanted to get off I-44 and see some attractions. They ended up going into Cuba to take photos and visit the Wagon Wheel Motel, the Phillips station, murals, and when I left them they were going to look at rooms at the Wagon Wheel with the idea of bringing their car club back to Cuba. They were also planning a trip to the rocker. Below are some photos of their cars and a few other scenes in town. Too bad more of the drivers didn’t realize what they were missing as they traveled down I-44. We enjoyed seeing them in Cuba.
For more on the Hot Rod Power Tour go here.
Best of the Blog
- 20 Things to Do
- 66 Intersection
- Bette Davis
- History Museum Murals
- Phillips 66 Restoration
- Prosperity Corner
- Recklein Commons
- Veterans Memorial
- Wagon Wheel Motel
- Wallace House
- World's Largest Rocking Chair