Sullivan to Bourbon - Mining & Whiskey
on Route 66
Sullivan - A Lead Mining Maven
Missouri was founded more than
150 years ago, by Stephen and Dorcas Sullivan, who migrated to Missouri
from South Carolina. They learned of the Meramec River and the surrounding
country, which was rich in game and minerals, from none other than Daniel Boone. They settled in
the area, built a cabin and cleared a large tract of land which they
In June, 1856, the couple purchased 169
acres of property, which would later be the site of the original town of
Sullivan. When Stephen heard of the plans of the St. Louis & San Francisco
Railroad Company to extend the Southwest Branch from Franklin (Pacific) to
Rolla, he donated property and a building to the Railroad for a depot. Fifty
lots were soon laid out and the fledgling town was named for them.
In no time, people began to migrate to the
area, working as farmers and mining the rich mineral deposits. The community
soon bustled as a center of mining operations.
The mining of lead, iron, zinc and copper
remained a strong economic base for Sullivan until an industrial lull in
Stanton, which had originally been the more prosperous of the
two communities, began to decline during the 1880's, but Sullivan continued
Today, this small town of about 6,300 souls, with its revitalized
historic downtown area, provides a great opportunity to relax while
visiting the many attractions of the region.
Meramec State Park, located four miles south of Sullivan on Highway 185,
provides nearly 7,000 acres of natural springs, more than forty recorded
caves, trails, fishing, a visitor center/museum, and camping facilities.
Route 66, check out the old Sunrise Motel Sign at 805 N.
Service Road, before heading on down the road to Bourbon.
As Route 66
moves onward toward
it skirts the tracks of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad,
passing through the very small town of
Cloud (population 56) before meandering southwestward to to Bourbon,
The motel is long gone, the old sunrise Motel sign still stands in
This image available for photographic prints
Bourbon - Named for
Believed to be the only town in the United States named for
bourbon whiskey, this small town of just some 1,400 souls, prides itself
on its small town charm and friendly folks.
The town got its start when the construction
of the railroad began in the 1850's, roughly following the Old Springfield
or "Wire" Road. This soon brought a number of settlers to the area. Most
of the railroad workers were Irish and were used to drinking whiskey.
The first general store soon set up a barrel of bourbon near the
construction site and became known as the Bourbon Store. Before long, the
railroad workers were calling the new settlement Bourbon and it stuck.
A post office was established in September, 1853, first
called "Bourbon in the Village of St. Cloud" and homes and
businesses began to spring up along the railroad tracks and the Old
Springfield Road. Later, the town name was shortened simply to
While in this quaint old town, have a treat at the Circle
Inn Malt Shop, family owned since 1955, located at 171 S. Old Highway 66.
There is also a private residence here that once housed the Bourbon Lodge
Phillips 66 Station. Right next door are a couple of old Bourbon Lodge Cabins.
This old barn sits just north of Route 66 as the path winds into Bourbon,
This image available for photographic prints
Circle Inn Malt Shop, Dave Alexander, October, 2012.
The Bourbon Lodge is now a private residence,
Kathy Weiser, November, 2007.
At the intersection of Old 66 and Highway
H is the turnoff to Onondaga Cave.
About seven miles
beyond Bourbon is the turnoff for Leasburg,
where you’ll have the opportunity to take a side trip to a spelunker’s
paradise – Onondaga Cave State Park. Considered to be one of the
nation’s finest "show” caves due to its onyx formation, the Onondaga
Cave is designated a National Natural Landmark. The park is also
home to Cathedral Caves, also well decorated with many formations. Above ground there is also plenty of natural beauty. The Vilander Bluff Natural area provides visitors with a panoramic view of
the Meramec River, for which canoeing and fishing abounds. The
state park is seven miles southeast of I-44 at the Leasburg exit.
Along this road can be seen several painted barns for the cave,
similar to those for Meramec Caverns.
Returning to Route 66, the
old highway travels through one
finest wine and grape producing regions. Some
vineyards can be observed from the road and several roadside stops
sell grapes, grape juice, wine, honey, and other locally produced
products in the summer and fall months.
of America, updated March, 2017
Symbol Arrowheads - Hand knapped & hand-painted
arrowheads. Each of these hand-chipped stone arrowheads is inscribed with
Native American symbols. Arrow maker and artist Jose Zamora, a member of
the Apache tribe, living in Colorado, uses a quill pen and India ink to
add the symbols, which signify various strengths such as health, balance,
luck, friendship, strength, protection and more. Each arrowhead, measuring
about 1.5", comes with a story card identifying a number of symbols.
have long believed that wearing a hand-carved
arrowhead, as a talisman
around the neck, is a symbol of protection, courage and strength. They
also believed that the arrowhead protected them from illness and acted as
a guard against the Evil Eye. It would deflect any negative energy,
protect them from their enemies and absorb their power.