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.


A West Washington “Small art” Project completed

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…)

Route 66 eyesore due for a makeover

Route 66 eyesore slated for makeover.

This blighted Route 66 spot in Cuba is due for a transformation.

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…)

A New Chapter in the Gold Star Boys Mural: The rest of the story

Gold Star Boys Route 66

Follow the rest of the story of the Gold Star Boys mural.

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.

There was more to the story of Ralph Fishwick's death.

Ralph Fishwick did not die off the coast of Africa as originally reported to his family.

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 reported that the body of Ralph Fishwick was returned to his family.

The Cuba Review reported that the body of Ralph Fishwick was returned to his family.

The Cuba Review also reported the full military funeral  given to Mr. Fishwick.

Ralph Fishwick was given a  military funeral in 1943.

Ralph Fishwick was given a military funeral in 1943.

We remember…

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:

Route 66 and the Gold Star Boys mural

The Gold Star mural is just off Route 66 in Cuba, MO.

Ralph Fishwick sacrificed his life for his country.

Ralph Fishwick spent two tours of service in defense of his country.

Ralph Fishwick gravestone

Ralph Fishwick’s gravestone rests is in the Kinder Cemetery on the west end of Cuba, Missouri

A version of this story was printed in a Cuba Free Press article.




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.

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