Cuba - Mural City
is yet another outdoor adventurer’s paradise with twenty rustic lodges
and campgrounds, three rafting rivers and numerous lakes in the area that offer
great hunting, fishing, canoeing, swimming, and water skiing.
Getting its start in 1857, Cuba was
founded in anticipation of the construction of the southern branch of
Union Pacific Railroad.
The town was named in sympathy for the
Cuba that was much in
the news at the time, due to the Spanish tyrannical rule of its
people. Before the railroad arrived, many people in the area made
their livings working in the iron ore mining industry and in farming,
with oxen carts providing the transportation of products to St. Louis.
Mining would remain an important industry for nearly 50 years.
When the railroad arrived in 1860,
transportation of goods and products was much improved and the town
became a shipping center for the region. Soon apple
orchards began to be planted in abundance. From 1895 through the
1920s the community was known for its apples and for its barrel making
industry. During this time, Cuba became known as the “The Land of the
Big Red Apple”, and by the turn of the century, Cuba was the largest
producer and distributor of apples in Missouri. Apple production declined in the 1930's but, the
community still makes barrels.
Route 66 was
completed through the city, and most of the businesses which were
located by the railroad tracks, moved to be
closer to the new highway. More new businesses also sprang up along the
pavement including restaurants,
filling stations and motels, answering the needs of traveling
motorists. One example is the
Wagon Wheel Motel
that continues to stand at 901 E. Washington. Originally built in
1934, it was constructed of Ozark native stone and first called the Wagon Wheel
Cabins. In 1946, it was expanded from 9 units to 14 units. It once also
featured a Standard Oil Station and a cafe. Now on the National Register
of Historic Places, the retro motel continues to serve weary
Route 66 travelers.
At about the same time, higher labor costs drove shoe manufacturers to
seek more affordable locations for their plants and many relocated to
rural areas. The shoe industry provided another boon for Cuba and
would remain a vital part of its economy for over 60 years.
As you enter Cuba, a "new"
Route 66 is
Missouri Hick Barbeque. While this place isn't vintage
Route 66, it
serves up great Ozark barbeque and the name itself is so representative of
that we had to include it. The restaurant, complete with an upstairs
outdoor deck, is a great place to watch the traffic during the summer
months. It is located at 913 E. Washington Street.
Another vintage peek of the
is available at the old Carr Phillips 66 Service Station, circa 1932, at
the corner of Washington and Franklin Streets.
Many small towns along
Route 66 display their pride in the
Mother Road, but
Cuba does it very well with the many murals that appear on its buildings. The Viva Cuba organization completed its first mural in 2001 with plans to
complete 12 more.
House and Senate have proclaimed
66 Mural City."
As you continue your trek along
Route 66 to Rosati and
Missouri, you will pass by
numerous wineries and vineyards in this rich wine producing country.
of America, updated June, 2016.
Cuba Free Press mural, Kathy Weiser, October, 2012.
Restored Carr Phillips 66 Station at the
corner of Washington and
Franklin Streets, Kathy Weiser,
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