About Fanning Missouri
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 1,047 ft (319 m). Population n⁄a (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Fanning is a small unincorporated community located on Old Route 66 in western Crawford County, central Missouri in the Ozarks foothills. (Map of Fanning).
View of the former "World’s largest rocking chair", Route 66 in Fanning, Missouri (now it is painted red).
History of Fanning
See our History of Cuba (county seat), for a background on the history of the region.
The post office opened in 1887 and closed in 1953. The small community had a church and school. Now it has a few scattered homes.
The Name: Fanning
The town is named after a family of four brothers from Limerick, Ireland, John, Tom, Matt and Jim Fanning who worked on the "Frisco" Railroad as it advanced across Missouri until they reached this area west of Cuba and settled down. The surname derives from old English "foenn" or "fenn", a marsh or bog. Therefore it applied to those living in a marshy area.
Route 66 provided additional income to the town and there were two service stations on it. In the early 1950s it became a four-lane highway, now under I-44. Fanning was bypassed and left to its own devices.
Where to Lodge in Fanning, Missouri
Accommodation and hotels nearby...
More Lodging near Fanning along Route 66
Motels and Hotels close to Fanning
Hotels, Westwards in Missouri
- 9 miles Saint James
- 19 miles Rolla
- 47 miles St. Robert
- 48 miles Waynesville
- 82 miles Lebanon
- 112 miles Marshfield
- 125 miles Strafford
- 134 miles Springfield MO
- 195 miles Carthage
- 213 miles Joplin
Heading West... Hotels & Motels in Kansas...
- 228 miles Baxter Springs
Further West... Hotels & Motels on Route 66 in Oklahoma...
Heading East in Missouri, more accommodation
- 4 miles Cuba
- 22 miles Sullivan
- 38 miles Saint Clair
- 49 miles Villa Ridge
- 56 miles Pacific
- 64 miles Eureka
- 92 miles St. Louis
Hotels further East, in Illinois
>> Check out the RV campgrounds in neighboring Cuba
Weather in Fanning
Weather widget for Cuba the town nearest Fanning to the east
Fanning has well marked seasons, which are the combination of humid continental and humid subtropical climates.
The winter (Jan), the average high is around 39°F (4°C) and the aveage low is a freezing 20°F (-7°C). The summer (Jul) average high is 89°F (32°C) with an average low of 68°F (20°C). Rainfall averages 44.5 in. (1.130 mm) yearly which ranges from 2.21 in (56 mm) in Jan. to 4.81 in (122.2 mm) in May. Snowfall is around 18.9 in. (48 cm), which falls from Dec. to Mar.
Fanning is located in Missouri's "Tornado Alley" and Crawford County is struck by 7 tornados every year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Fanning
You can reach Fanning along historic Route 66 and Interstate I-44 that links it with Springfield, Tulsa and Oklahoma City in the west and with Cuba, Eureka and St. Louis in the east. US 63 runs through Rolla to the west and US 50 passes through Villa Ridge to the east.
Map of Route 66 in Fanning
Map of Fanning and US Highway 66 in Missouri.
Pale Blue is the original 1926 to 1953 Route 66. Then from 1953 to 1969 it was the eastbound lanes of the Four-Lane Route 66 built.
Blue shows the 1953 to 1969 westbound lanes from Hofflins to Fanning past Cuba. After 1969 two new lanes were added and what is now I-44's roadbed replaced old US 66 bypassing it.
See Route 66's alignment in Missouri Map
Remove or restore State shading
Alignment of Route 66 in Missouri: Historic U.S. 66 through Fanning
Route 66 across Missouri
U.S. Route 66 in Missouri is a State Historic Scenic Byway in Missouri and this also includes Crawford County and Fanning, but it is still pending Federal designation as a Byway.
Click on the following link and see our overview of Route 66 across the state of Missouri.
Below you will find full details on Old Route 66 in Fanning
Sights and Attractions in Fanning, Missouri
What to Do, Places to See
A gigantic Rocking Chair
Fanning and its Route 66 attractions
Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Fanning
The 1941 book, "Missouri, a guide to the "Show Me" state" published by the WPA did not mention it, it passed from Cuba to Rosati. Jack DeVere Rittenhouse however, does tell us, in his 1946 "A Guide Book to Highway 66" that "FANNING... Pop 59... gas station but no other facilities... a town which the new US 66 almost missed, the new road almost cutting off the one store and meeting hall which comprise the community". The store has gone, but the hall survives to this day.
Sights in town
There are two sights, the "largest Rocking Chair" and the "Outpost General Store":
Fanning US 66 Outpost General Store
5957 Hwy ZZ, Fanning, MO. Reach it from Exit 203 on I-44 heading 1 mi. east.
As of Aug. 2016 this business is closed.
View of the Fanning US 66 Outpost General Store, Fanning, Missouri, by Serge Melki
Sam Vitali owned a General Store on the south side of the tracks, but when Route 66 was paved through town in 1930, he relocated on the north side of the new highway. Next to it, Mary Vitali's brogher, Joe Bacialli built his Speedway Garage gas station which later became a tavern, Joe's Place. Sam passed away in 1964 and Mary kept it open until 1972.
The store was torn down in 1980 and the tavern which at one time was the Community building was closed. The Sanazaro's bought it and refurbished the old tavern as Fanning US 66 Outpost General Store . To attract those passing buy, Dan Sanazaro came up with the "World's Largest Rocking Chair":
World's (second) Largest Rocking Chair
Route 66 Kitsch & Americana
5957 Hwy ZZ, Fanning, MO. Map with location.
Built on April 1, 2008 it soon became the typical Route 66 "Americana" attraction, now it is known as Route 66 Red Rocker. It has 31.5 foot long rockers (9.6 m) that weigh one ton each. The chair was built in with steel pipes. It stands 42 feet tall (12.81 m) and is really gigantic.
At one time it rocked but due to safety reasons Dan had it welded so now it does not "rock", and therefore lost its title to the chair in Casey Illinois. However it still is the "Largest Rocking Chair on Route 66", and has recently painted red. You can see it pictured above at the top of this page.
The World's Largest Rocking Chair
110 E Main St, Casey, IL
This is the official Guinness Book of Records winner: the Casey Illinois Rocking Chair. It is 56 ft. 1 in. tall (17.09 m) and 32 ft. 10 in. wide (9.99 m) its rockers measure 9.88 m long (32.4 ft). You can see it in this street view, next to Casey City Hall. It is the work of Jim Boley, Oct. 20, 2015.
There are many gigantic chairs in the U.S., and this Website on Large Chairs has photos and details. In case you are wondering which is the largest "chair" in the world, XXXLutz in Cederströmsgatan 2, 212 39 Malmo, Sweden has that honor, being 81.96 ft (25 m) tall. This is a street view of it.
Tours & Itineraries
Bob’s Gasoline Alley
822 Beamer Lane
We describe it in our Cuba page (Here), it has The largest collection of Historic Route 66 gasoline memorabilia in the mid-west, it is just 1.2 mi. north of Fanning: 4.6 mi west of Cuba (map with directions)
Bob’s Gasoline Alley in Cuba, Missouri
Old Route 66 in Fanning
The first "trail" in this area was tramppled thousands of years ago by roaming buffalo and deer, crossing the plains to the Ozarks. Much later it was used by the Illinois Indians and more recently by French and English trappers and explorers. It was adopted as the main road from St. Louis towards Springfield, and in the 1850s it became the "Wire Road", which ran next to the military telegraph line from St. Louis to Fort Smith.
USGS map of Fanning in 1948, Route 66 is shown in Red.
By the early 1910s, cars had become more popular in this area, and the road was improved thanks to the lobbying carried out by the Inter-Ozarks Highway Association; the state created Missouri State Highway 14 from Saint Louis to Springfield which had a gravel surface in Fanning.
From Fanning to Rosati
In 1926 Route 66 was aligned along MO-14 and it passed through Fanning. The original road is now named Highway ZZ and runs on the south side of I-44 and it is shown in Pale Blue in the Map above. Also see the detail from the 1948 USGS map with Route 66 through Fanning.
1926 Map of Route 66 from St. James to St. Louis, Missouri, notice that this first map calls it "US 60", instead of US 66 (read more about this: Route 66 was born as US 60). Fanning is in the lower left part of the map.
1950s: Four Lane Freeway
USGS map of Fanning to Hofflins through Cuba 1966, Route 66 is shown in Red.
Starting in 1953 Route 66 was upgraded to a four-lane highway and at that time and until 1969, the original 1926 Route 66 alignment became the two eastbound lanes of the new "super highway" and that two new westbound lanes were built from what is now Exit 203 past Cuba to Hofflins. The map above, in Blue, shows these 1953 to 1969 westbound lanes from Hofflins to Fanning past Cuba.
1969 New roadbed
Beginning in 1967 the old four lane US-66 ⁄ I-44 Freeway was improved again in Missouri and the two new eastbound lanes added next to the westbound ones, forming a four-lane dual highway that replaced and bypassed the old alignment from Hofflins to Fanning. This can be seen in the 1966 USGS map of that area.
Eventually the whole of US 66 in this area was upgraded into a four lane divided highway with overpasses and it coexisted with the new interstate I-44. A state petition in 1962 to name the highway I-66 was denied by the AASHTO as that number had been used already.
Finally in 1972 the whole of Route 66 had been replaced by the Interstate system and in 1974 it was decided that the whole of US 66 from Chicago to Joplin would be eliminated and decertified. However this was delayed until I-55 in Illinois was completely brought up to Interstate standards. The signs were removed in 1977 but even then, the last segment of the old Route 66 was bypassed in 1981.
> > See the previous segment Cuba to Fanning (east)
> > See the next segment Rosati to St. James (west)
Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.