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Pulaski County - Page 2

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Historic Waynesville, MissouriWaynesville Epitomizes Main Street USA


After leaving Devil’s Elbow, you’ll soon enter Waynesville with its quaint downtown district that epitomizes Main Street USA. Waynesville got its start in 1831 when a man named G.W. Gibson "squatted” on the land where the town sits today. Just one year later Pulaski County was formed and Waynesville was soon designated as the county seat. In 1835, James A. Bates opened one of the first stores in the settlement, which also served as a temporary courthouse. In 1839, the town was platted and a post office opened, named after famous General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, the daring Revolutionary War hero and Indian fighter.


Like much of Missouri, Waynesville declared itself as "Confederate” during the Civil War, flying the rebel flag over its courthouse. However, this was short lived due to hits strategic location on the Wire Road. On June 7, 1862, Federal troops marched in, taking over the town and building a fort to protect the Wire Road.


The town existed due to lumber and agricultural interests until Route 66 came through and developed into more of a tourist community.


At the junction of Route 66 and Highway 17 you officially enter Waynesville. On the historic square are several historic buildings including the Old Stagecoach Stop, which first served as a stage waystation and post office when it was built in 1850. During the Civil War, it was commandeered by the Federal Army and used a hospital as the Union forces built the fort on the south side of the square. Later it would serve as a hotel, boarding house and a private residence. More than a century later, it had fallen into sever disrepair and was condemned by the city in 1982. However, Waynesville citizens rallied and saved the building. Today, it is listed on the national Register of Historic Places. Also on the square is the Old Courthouse Museum, built in 1903 and serving Pulaski County until 1989.


At Route 66 and Benton Street, you can see a building that was originally the Rigsby Standard Oil station, serving Route 66 travelers in its heyday. Continuing on, you’ll see the Victory Pub on the left that has been serving up a brew by family members since 1942.


As you begin to head out of town the Witmor Farms Restaurant continues to serve up delicious to fare to Route 66 travelers, and across the street sits the small Pleasant Grove Church which has been serving its congregation since 1926. Just a bit further down the road sits the building that once housed the Hillcrest Grocers & Station, pumping KanOTex gas in 1932.


Route 66 takes a right turn on County Road P, where you will drive through the old town of Laquey (pronounced "Lakeway.”) Continuing to follow the old route, you’ll soon see signs of the area once called Gascozark and the small town of Hazelgreen before reaching Lebanon. Along this stretch, keep an eye out for a number of historic buildings that once catered to travelers along the old highway.


©Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated October, 2012.




Witmore Farms in Waynesville, Missouri

Witmore Farms in Waynesville, Missouri has been

serving customers of the Mother Road for years, February,

2005, Kathy Weiser.


Abandoned garage in the Gascozark area of Missouri

Abandoned garage in the Gascozark area,

February, 2005, Kathy Weiser.


  Return to Route 66 


To Lebanon


Return to Route 66


To Jerome


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