Beautification and preservation in Cuba, Missouri...
All good things need a little renewal and a facelift from time to time. The iconic Route 66 motor court The Wagon Wheel Motel is no exception. Under its new ownership, the motel will get just that in 2009-10.
The Wagon Wheel Motel, 901 East Washington, a continuously operating Rt. 66 Motel since the 1930s, has a new owner. Many of these historic motor courts have been torn down or abandoned, but this is one that will receive a ‘”makeover” by its new owner Connie Echols.
On September 15, ownership passed from the heirs of previous owners, Pauline and Harold Armstrong, to Connie Echols, owner of another Cuba Route 66 business The Wildflower, a florist and gift shop. Echols looks forward to her role as an owner of the historic motel and returning it to its former glory. Echols plans a renovation and modernization of the motel while maintaining its historic integrity.
“I plan to modernize the motel, but keep it as historically accurate as possible. I want a clean, modern motel at a reasonable price that will continue to appeal to groups and Route 66 travelers,” stated Echols.
The motel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a Route 66 icon. The much photographed neon sign with its hanging Wagon Wheel beckons travelers to the motel, which is still operating.
Currently, Echols is restoring the building in front of the motel’s cottages that served as the Wagon Wheel Café until the 1950s. She is taking it and the small rock gas station next to it back to a more original time period. Over the years, the two buildings have been joined and part of the structure covered with vinyl siding, which will be removed. The café building will be used as a gift shop, operated by Echols, and a motel office.
Echols plans an extensive updating of the motel guest rooms, including new wiring, new bathrooms, quality bedding, and other amenities to bring the rooms up to a higher standard.
The renovations will be completed in phases with the motel continuing to operate. Reservations will be honored and remodeling inconveniences for travelers kept to a minimum.
The motel rooms are in separate Tudor “cottage style” stone buildings, and renovations will be on one section at a time to minimize disruption in the motel’s operations. Echols hopes to complete the renovations by spring and stage a Grand Opening, which will unveil the improvements to the historic property to those interested in this Route 66 landmark.
As rooms are upgraded and put into use, current rates of $17-$20 will be raised. News of renovation progress and the new rates will be released at a later date.
The motel can still be contacted at 573-885-3411.
Once more, a Cuba citizen has stepped up to preserve the historic past in Cuba, “Route 66 Mural City.”
For on preservation and beautification in Cuba, MO “Route 66 Mural City” visit The Viva Cuba website and blog at www.cubamomurals.com.
UPDATE: The Wagon Wheel now has a website www.wagonwheel66cuba.com with rates, photos, and updated information.