The Viva Cuba Garden is colorful with plantings and paintings.
Today, Viva Cubareceived a news release stating that Cuba, Missouri is in the running for one of the Prettiest, Painted Places in Missouri. Competition is steep, and we are honored to be included. The contest is sponsored by the Paint Quality Institute.
The contest involved submitting 20-25 photos of painted buildings, houses, or other objects that enhance the beauty of our town or district. Cuba is a small town, but as a visitor from the United Kingdom that I met today said to me, “Your town is just brilliant.” In the United Kingdom, brilliantmeans exceptional.
Congratulations to the people of Cuba and the many artists and painters who have contributed to the beauty of Cuba, “Route 66 Mural City.”
Below is the news release:
SIX MISSOURI COMMUNITIES COMPETING
FOR “PRETTIEST PAINTED PLACES” HONORS
Thanks to a national competition to find the “Prettiest Painted Places in America,” people across the country are discovering what Missouri residents have long known: The Show Me State has some of the most beautiful towns and neighborhoods to be found anywhere.
Sponsored by the Paint Quality Institute, whose mission is to educate the public about quality paints and coatings, the “Prettiest Painted Places” competition has drawn six entries from Missouri: Boonville, Carthage, Chillicothe, Clinton’s Downtown Square, Cuba, and Lafayette Square in St. Louis.
Over the next few weeks, the six Missouri communities will vie with nearly 200 nominees from other states for regional and national honors, as judges with expertise in color selection, exterior painting, and home improvement review the entries, conduct additional research and make selected site visits. Finalists will be announced in late September, and the nation’s 12 “Prettiest Painted Places” will be revealed in mid-October.
The Paint Quality Institute has conducted its competition twice before, most recently in 2000. Its purpose is to vividly show how an attractive paint color scheme can greatly enhance the “curb appeal” of any structure’s exterior.
“We feel there is no better way to demonstrate the importance of exterior paint color than to focus on these beautiful real-world communities that take so much pride in their appearance,” said Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert at the Paint Quality Institute.
“The places involved in our competition are a tremendous inspiration to us all, and by giving them recognition, we hope to instill in the public a better appreciation for the role exterior paint can play in protecting and enhancing the appearance of any home or building,” she said.
A wide variety of “places” have been entered in the competition — big city neighborhoods, tiny rural towns, historical districts, “Main Streets” and communities with exterior mural programs. Nominees range from well-known places, such as Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Napa, California to hidden gems like Vashon-Maury Island, Washington and Bell Buckle, Tennessee.
In case you’re curious, the names and locations of all of the nominees are posted on the Paint Quality Institute website at blog.paintquality.com.
THUMBNAIL SKETCHES OF MISSOURI NOMINEES
Boonville: Founded in 1810, the town is a historic river and railroad community on the Missouri River with more than 450 historic buildings and sites, many of them beautifully painted.
Carthage: Burned to the ground during the Civil War, the town was reconstructed during the late 19th century mining boom when the robust economy converged with the Victorian era to produce a legacy of marvelous architecture that today can be seen in Carthage’s four historic districts.
Chillicothe: Nestled in the rolling hills of north Missouri, Chillicothe is a welcoming town with historic charm that tells a story throughout its beautiful downtown with more than 20 exquisite hand-painted murals.
Clinton Downtown Square: The largest square in the state, Clinton’s square is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and captures the city’s heritage through its impressive courthouse and beautifully painted buildings, many of which date back to the 1890s.
Cuba: “Route 66 Mural City” is a pretty town with exquisite outdoor murals and an historic business district painted in a palette of historical colors — truly a place where art meets history.
Lafayette Square, St. Louis: A former winner of the Prettiest Painted Places competition, the neighborhood is comprised of stately Victorian-era “painted ladies” with fine detailing that frame beautiful Lafayette Park.
Ozark Ed, local fisherman and craftsman, spent the summer crafting a record breaking Ozark Shiner lure. The sign says his lure is two feet longer than the official World’s Largest lure., which is 10’10″ long.
Cuba, MO may only have a population of 3400 and have the smallest WalMart in the U.S., but we’ve got some big stuff too. And people with big ideas. Maybe not big like the Willis building in Chicago or the Empire State Building in New York, but big.
Here are some examples:
The Fanning Outpost Guinness World’s Largest Rocking Chair 42+ feet tall
The World’s Largest Rocking Chair brings many to take photos.
The Hayes Shoe Store Robert Wadlow Shoes Size 35 & 37
Hayes Shoe Store has two Robert Wadlow shoes on display. This souvenir pin shows one of them.
The Three Mile Creek bed & sign (size unknown)
Three Mile Creek, crafters of custom furniture, uses its oversized bed as part of their signage.
And we’ve got some old stuff
The Wagon Wheel Motel– the oldest continuously operating motel on Route 66 since 1935
The Wagon Wheel Motel has been welcoming travelers since 1935.
And now Cuba has one more mega-artifact thanks to Ozark Ed Smith who crafts handmade lures at his country home north of Cuba. Ed’s son Patrick thought that it would be neat for his dad to build the “World’s Largest Fishing Lure” in keeping with many of the other large artifacts in Cuba. Ed can build just about anything, so he took the challenge. This is a really big fish (lure) story.
The base of the lure is wooden, and Ed molded fiber glass screen to build the form, and then covered it with foam. The inside of the lure holds old cans and other filler. The lure is a larger replica of one of Ed’s Ozark Shiner lures. Of course, after it was built and painted, Ed and his son had to test it out. They tied it to the back of their boat and away they went. It lure performed admirably with good action. Now, Patrick is dealing with the application to Guinness World’s Record. The current record holder lure is 10’10″, and Ed’s is two feet longer.
Where it makes the record or not, Ed built the lure for fun. “Even if I get the record, I know someone will come along and break it pretty quickly,” he stated.
The smaller Ozark Shiner is for smallmotuh bass. Ed wasn’t sure if you could catch anything on the giant lure but if you did, “it would have to be a whale of a fish,” according to Ed.
Ozark Ed plans to be at Cuba Fest 2012 with his handmade lures and with the big Ozark Shiner lure. He is working on a way that kids can sit on it and get their pictures taken.
Cuba Fest is October 20-21, 2012 in the Recklein Commons area. Make sure you stop by Ozark Ed’s space to see his lures of all sizes. You can’t miss this one.
Ozark Ed’s World’s Largest lure is over 12′ long.
The original Ozark Shiner lure handcrafted by Ed Smith
Check out this Facebook video of the Ozark Shiner in one of our local lakes.
They came by bus from the Springfield/Joplin area to visit Cuba. Viva Cuba members met them at the World’s Largest Rocker for a tour of Cuba’s attractions.
Viva Cuba members were busy this week meeting and greeting visitors to Cuba. Cuba is a small town with big ideas and a “can do” attitude, and we are always happy to share the accomplishments of Cuba’s citizens with others.
The Mercy Hospital Travel Club, a group of 55 seniors from the Joplin/Springfield area, arrived on a bright red coach at the World’s Largest Rocker for a photo op. Then they enjoyed a narrated tour of Cuba’s murals with a step-on guide. The final stop was at the Wallace House for homemade pie and ice cream and a tour of the 1885 home.
One visitor said she had traveled by Cuba many times without stopping, and couldn’t believe what she’d been missing. She plans to return with her family this Fall.
“We’ll leave the light on”…. after all, we’re just down the road on Old Route 66!
Mercy Hospital Travel Club at the World’s Largest Rocking Chair Cuba, MO
Bob Stewart of Cuba was one of the folks who welcomed the group to Wallace House for pie and ice-cream and a tour of the historic structure.
These travelers from Switzerland were spotted this week at the World’s Largest Rocker doing a Route 66 road trip. They flew to Chicago where they rented Harleys and headed West to Santa Monica. These are just some of the many foreign visitors that have heard about Route 66 from international travel programs and want to experience “The Mother Road.”
This Swiss group was touring from Chicago to Santa Monica, CA.
This group from the Missouri Partnership was just as fascinated with the rocker as our other visitors They were in town to tour factories and industrial parks and meet with local officials about bringing businesses to Cuba. They also enjoyed some of our local attractions such as the Route 66 Wagon Wheel Motel, the rocker, and the murals. A little Mo Hick BBQ energized them as well. The local group gave them a basket of local products for them to take home as a reminder of Cuba, MO.
The Missouri Partnership Group was also impressed with the multi-businesses that the Fanning US 66 Outpost has built on the site around the rocker. And this was accomplished since 2008 during a challenging economy. Here, they are admiring the work of local welder Joe Medwick.
Cuba is erecting new welcome signs at the city limits, but remember that the best welcome that we can offer is a smile and friendly attitude.
The Cuba Development Group sponsored the Missouri Partnership’s visit to Cuba as part of its economic development plans. The three representatives from the MP received a gift basket of local products: Viva Cuba Mural City and Wagon Wheel Motel candy bars from the Route 66 Fudge Shop, cookies from the Cuba Bakery & Deli, a set of log toys from 3 Mile Creek, BBQ sauce from Mo Hick BBQ, Wine from Belmont Winery & the Fanning US 66 Outpost, and a copy of Moments in Cuba’s History.
Route 66 scenes can be found inside or outside from Skippy’s to the World’s Largest Rocking Chair. Think outside the box and use your imagination. Keep a Route 66 theme though.
Route 66 is an important part of Cuba, Missouri’s history, and it is important that young people are aware of this legacy. For that reason Viva Cuba, a community betterment organization, is challenging our young people to “Picture This on Route 66.” Kids use your creativity and photographic skill and you might win some dollars and get your photo displayed at the Route 66 Cuba Fest 2012 on October 20-21.
The Viva Cuba organization, in conjunction with Route 66 Cuba Fest 2012, announces a photo contest with a Route 66 theme titled Picture This On Route 66 for students in the Crawford County RII school district in the following age categories. Category I—ages 9-13. Category II—ages 14-18. As long as students are in the district, home school and private school students can participate.
Entries, interior or exterior shots, can be taken along Route 66 from Skippy’s Restaurant in Leasburg to the Route 66 Outpost in Fanning, Missouri. Three judges with expertise in photography will judge the entries on technical skill, composition, originality, and compliance with the theme and contest rules. Only one entry per contestant is allowed.
All entries must be turned into the Highway 19 Peoples Bank by the end of the business day Monday, October 1. No late entries will be accepted.
Prizes will be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category ($75, $50, and $25). As many photos as possible will be displayed at the Route 66 Cuba Fest 2012. The entry form and more detailed rules can be accessed on the Viva Cuba website. Please print out the entry form and read it carefully. Mark your calendar to turn in your entry on time.
Kids take your best shot. We are looking for some winners.
Read the form carefully and meet the deadline for entries.
This plaque was recently replaced and restored. In the background is the Route 66 shield that tells what number the mural is. You can also see the signature of the muralists in the corner. Each mural is the artist’s copyrighted image that Viva Cuba has the rights to use for cards, t-shirts, etc.. Others are encouraged to photograph murals for personal use, but the images cannot be used for commercial sale or products. Locations of the murals involve a site agreement with the owner of the building. The lighting and landscaping of this mural is provided and maintained by Peoples Bank.
Tourists snap shots of the murals. Cuba’s 4th graders study the story behind each of the murals. Bus groups and trolley tours learn of Cuba’s history. But little thought or time is spent on three aspects of Viva Cuba’s mural project: the shield painted on each mural, the artist(s) signature, and the plaques that accompany them. This post will briefly address these three elements of Viva Cuba’s mural project.
1. The shields painted on the murals recognize the location of the murals along the Route 66 corridor. Cuba, MO is intersected by Route 66, and we are proud of that aspect of our history. The shields also have a number from 1-12 that tells what the mural’s order was in the painting of the twelve murals. The A.J. Barnett mural above was #1 in the 12 mural series. It was commissioned by Peoples Bank to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the bank and helped kickstart the project.
2. The artist’s signatures are also on the murals. Michelle Loughery was the premier artist on this first mural, and she owns the copyright although Viva Cuba is allowed to use the image for marketing and promotion, which accomplishes two things. First, the mural project helps make our town (and the artist) known and brings visitors, which helps the economy. Secondly,through selling our art cards, t-shirts, etc., we are able to help fund the maintenance of the murals.
While photography of the murals for personal pleasure is encouraged, commercial use of the images by others for products or other ventures is not permitted.* Loughery was also assisted on this first mural by Shelly Steiger, a local artist and teacher, who learned outdoor mural painting from Michelle Loughery. More information on the artists is available on the Viva Cuba website.
3. Nearby each mural is a plaque, either on a stand or attached to the building. The plaque summarizes information about the mural and speaks of major donors. The plaques for the murals were paid for by Peoples Bank. Occasionally, they need maintenance as do the murals.
Recently, Viva Cuba sent one of their mural plaques back to a company in Minnesota to be refurbished. Fortunately, the company offers a lifetime guarantee on their bronze plaques. After looking at the plaque stand, it was evident that peeling paint would not work with the shiny “new” plaque. Viva Cuba would like to give a big shout out to Ashlar Machinery and Jim Montgomery’s Body & Paint for donating their time and labor to sandblast and paint the stand. The plaques are placed at each mural to provide information to our visitors about each mural as they do a self-guided walking tour.
Each cog of the mural project has its importance, and we would like to thank the community that has supported and continues to support the “Route 66 Mural City.”
The Viva Cuba mural city shield was designed by Viva Cuba and is used by the permission of Viva Cuba. The use of the shield on commercial products is prohibited, except by permission. Please contact Viva Cuba though the website if you have questions.
*Copyright law is a complex issue. Contact an attorney with specific questions.
Tattoo artist Tony Corral joins historic district in Cuba, MO.
Tony Corral, a tattoo artist from Austin, Texas, has just opened Relic Tattoo Parlor and Gallery in the historic business district on Smith Street, just off Route 66.
Family man and artist, Corral wants to introduce an upscale creative enterprise to the Cuba, Missouri business district. His wife Sharon will be the shop director/manager and hopes to add some retail as their business grows.
Cuba, Missouri is known as the Route 66 Mural City, but that is only part of the story. One of the results of Viva Cuba’s 12 outdoor murals project is the support and participation of Cuba businesses for Cuba’s public art project.
Some of Cuba’s other public art is very visible along Route 66 while other examples are tucked away in not so well-known areas. On our Viva Cuba website, we have a section known as Other Public Art. Click on the link to view examples of our public art outside Viva Cuba’s 12 murals and see if you are familiar with all of it.
You may be surprised to find that we have sculpture, 3D murals that light up, mural signs, utilitarian art, and religious art. Here’s one at Meramec Valley that we haven’t included on the site yet.
Meramec Valley wished to contribute to public art with their sign.
According to Deter Matlock from Meramec Valley, “ It was painted by Rick & Joan Hasamear, two very talented members at Meramec Valley. They worked on this in the basement of their home painting one 4ft by 8ft panel at a time. The Mural is 16 ft wide and 8ft tall. The idea was that as the Mural City we needed to particpate in the theme for the city with our new sign.”
It is the participation of our local businesses that keep our collection of public art growing. As someone who monitors comments and interactions of visitors to our town, I often hear Cuba referred to as “friendly, cute, quaint, and attractive.” These responses are important to our local economy. This perception of our town brings more visitors who enjoy what our businesses have to offer. That brings sales tax to our town and puts money into the pockets of our workers. It’s pretty much a win-win for all of us.
And we get to enjoy our art and stories it tells year-round.
Let us know of installations that we may not have pictured on our site. We are always updating.
Carolyn Hughes Sanazaro and Cheri Hughes Tune pose with the Fanning Feed Chicken at the Grand Opening.
Even though we face some serious issues and the drought is raging, Cuba, Missouri is still a spot where we can pause for some fun. It may a special event, a short pause in the work day, or events that are brought to us by Route 66 or by scenic Hwy. 19, both of which intersect our town. Often, as I am out and about photographing and talking to people, I see some fun and crazy scenes. I think about what fun it is to be able to do this.
July 4th lets us remember the freedoms that we have and the sacrifices that have won these freedoms. Let us also remember the freedom to enjoy our country and town with a little fun and frivolity. I’ll let the captions provide the explanation.
Want some chicken with your groceries? This scene met shoppers when Mace’s was promoting the new chicken product in their deli. We always provide a warm welcome in Cuba.
The year 2012 brought a couple of great events to Cuba: Spyderfest U.S. 2012 and the opening of the Cuba Bakery and Deli by Mennonite community members. Here the two events came together when one of the Mennonite ladies took a ride on one of the Spyders that has cow graphics. This photo was provided my Matt Coblentz at the bakery. The spyder owner’s nickname is Cow Patty.
Cuba Fest, the 3rd weekend of October, always provides good fun, activities, crafts, and music. The Bast family got into the spirit of the event with their unique outfits.
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 more on the “Coolest Christmas Tree on Route 66,” go here.
You can always take to the skies. Here, Lane Sanazaro and his mom pause for a photo before they get ready to fly off from Cuba’s Municipal Airport, Mosby Field.
In Cuba, even a Cemetery Tour can be fun. This scene from the 2011 tour shows actors portraying the Foxes, a vaudeville team, who later came to Cuba and founded Fox Springs Lodge.
A lot of cool cars cruise into Cuba on Route 66. They often stop to eat or take photos of the murals.
The Lions Club Car Show in September is growing every year and brings all manner of striking vehicles. This year it is September 22. It’s in the Historic District, right off Route 66.
Once a year, we get really crazy and close Route 66 for a four-mile run down Route 66 to the Route 66 World’s Largest Rocking Chair. Last year several hundred locals and visitors took part. The 2013 race will be March 23. Get ready!
Even the animals have fun in Cuba.
This camel managed to mooch a drink. He evidently didn’t know about camels being able to go a long time without water.
This goat not only caught a ride on Route 66, he has a staff to see to all of his needs. Here they take a break at the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba.
To see why these young men were traveling Route 66 with a goat, go to this Cuba Free Pressarticle.
Sometimes a dog just sticks out his tongue and laughs.
This summer has brought a lot of squirrels to Cuba. Here a few of them enjoy some of our Crawford County recreation: golf, fishing, and canoeing on area rivers. Thanks to the Fanning US Outpost 66 for our models.
So remember, don’t be too serious. Enjoy the blessings of life. Have some fun.
Sometimes the parts seem to be more significant than the whole. Spyder riders (or ryders as it is sometimes spelled) love to customize their bikes and gear. That’s what made Spyderfest such a show for the locals in Cuba during the Spyderfest U.S. 2012 event in April.
This short slideshow shows many of their modifications (mods) and customizations to their bikes at this year’s Spyderfest. Through the changes that the riders make to their bikes, they express their feelings, beliefs, interests, and allegiances. Enjoy their passion for the Spyder experience. If you want to see a stock Spyder, visit Cowtown USA in Cuba. However, Len Damouth does tend to customize new Spyders too before he sells them. A “plain” Spyder doesn’t stay plain long.
If you had a Spyder, how would you personalize it? What do you feel strongly enough about, that you would put it out there for all the world to see? Is a color, design, or something that you believe in?
A few of the Power Tour cars gathered in the Midwest Travel Plaza parking lot.
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.
We saw these beauties at Huddle House.
Some of the drivers stopped off for breakfast at the Country Kitchen.
Super 8 had this cool ride and a few motorcycles.
Even a few trucks made their way into Cuba.
A couple of spyders were in town too. This one was from Ohio and his driver caught breakfast at Huddle House.
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.
These smart drivers wanted to get off the interstate for a more scenic drive. Our conversation took them into Cuba.
The drivers appreciated the Phillips 66 Station, owned by Wallis Companies.
This scene is a blast from the past.
The tourers took some photos with the murals.
A few cars stopped at Shelly's Route 66 Cafe.
Some of the tour members checked out the rooms at the Wagon Wheel Motel with the idea of returning for a car club cruise.
This spyder driver returned to Cuba and was lunching at Frisco's. His group had been in town for Spyderfest.