TheRoute-66

TheRoute-66.com
Plan the Road Trip of your Life


Home

Route 66

Hooker

Missouri Flag

Hooker, Missouri

Ghost Town

Hooker Route 66 attractions include the old Hooker Cemetery, former Sterling Hillbilly Store and the four-lane 1943 Route 66 alignment through Hooker Cut plus two icons like the Sunset Rest Texaco and cabins and Dale’ Sporting Goods.

Hooker MO

Head East >
Clementine ¦ Powellville ¦ Jerome

 

About Hooker Missouri

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation: 710 ft (2176 m). Population n⁄a (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).

Hooker is a tiny unincorporated hamlet, almost a ghost town, located on Route 66 in northwestern Pulaski County, in Missouri's central Ozarks. (Map of Hooker).

Sunset Rest Texaco and cabins in Hooker, Missouri

Sunset Rest, Cabins and gas station on Route 66 in Hooker MO
Vintage postcard Sunset Rest, Cabins and gas station on Route 66 in Hooker, Missouri. Which is still there.
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

History of Hooker

For the general history of the area check the History of Waynesville.

This tiny village was located on the eastern side of the Big Piney River close to the Gasconade River. Originally a lumberjack settlement, it was on the road that linked St. Louis with Waynesville known as the "Wire Road" built during the 1860s to service the telegraph line from St. Louis to Fort Smith in Arkansas.

The name: Hooker

Named for a man, John Hooker who, owned the land here. The surname was applied to "the hooker", a maker of hooks or to someone who lived by a hook in the land.

It had a Cemetery by 1900 and a church, which can still be seen. Later the old "Wire Road" became State Highway 14, and in 1926 it was incorporated into Route 66 which brought a steady flow of visitors to the area. Gas stations and stores selling local crafts sprung up along the road. However in 1941 construction began to make the meandering road safer, the new alignment, a four-lane divided highway (the first in the state and one of the first in America) bypassed the town when completed in 1943. Route 66 was definitively bypassed here by a new alignment of I-44 in 1981 and the old road is now used by Route 66 fans or local traffic.

Where to Lodge in Hooker, Missouri

Accommodation and hotels near Hooker...

>> Book your hotel in neighboring St. Robert

More Lodging near Hooker along Route 66

Motels and Hotels close to Hooker

Hotels, Westwards in Missouri

Heading West... Hotels & Motels in Kansas...

Further West... Hotels & Motels on Route 66 in Oklahoma...

Heading East in Missouri, more accommodation

Hotels further East, in Illinois

Book your Route 66 hotel now
Book your Hotel along Route 66

>> Check out the RV campground in neighboring Lebanon

Weather in Hooker

Weather widget for Devil's Elbow the town nearest Hooker to the west

Route 66 and Hooker, MO
Location of Hooker on the Old Route 66 in Missouri

Hooker has a summer average high (Jul) of 88°F (31.2°C), and an average low of 67°F (19.2°C). The winter (Jan) average high is 42°F (5.6°C) and the average low is below freezing at 20°F (-7°C).

Rainfall is around 44.5 in (1.131 mm) yearly and snowfall averages 9 in. (23 cm), falling from Dec. to March.

Tornado risk

Hooker is located inside the Missouri "Tornado Alley" and Pulaski County is hit by some 8 tornado strikes every year.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
 

Getting to Hooker

You can reach Hooker along historic Route 66 and Interstate I-44 that links it with Springfield, Tulsa and Oklahoma City in the west and with Cuba and St. Louis in the east. US 160, 60 and 65 run to the west, through Springfield, US 63 runs through Rolla, to the east.

Map of Route 66 in Hooker

in Missouri.

Blue: this is the 1926 to 1943 alignment of Route 66 from Hooker in the east to Morgan Heights in the west that bypassed the town to the north of it.
Pale Blue: the 1943 to 1957 alignment of Route 66, in that same area when it became a four-lane divided highway and prior alignments unless these have another color.
Black: where the old road is now cut by I-44 which was built in 1981 through this area, replacing the earlier 1943 alignment and cutting old Hooker in two.

See Route 66's alignment in Missouri Map

  Click to See the Western Missouri alignment (Western MO: the road from "Phillipsburg to the Kansas state line")

Remove or restore State shading
 

Google Maps. Terms. Icons.

Alignment of Route 66 in Missouri: Historic U.S. 66 through Hooker

Route 66 logo

Route 66 across Missouri

U.S. Route 66 is a State Historic Scenic Byway in Missouri and this includes Pulaski County; it is pending Federal designation as a Byway.

Click on the following link for an overview of Route 66 across the state of Missouri.

Below you will find detailed information on Old Route 66 in Hooker

Sights and Attractions in Hooker, Missouri

What to Do, Places to See

Vanished Town

Hooker and its Route 66 attractions

Hooker has some classic sights: Sterling Hillbilly Store, Sunset Rest Texaco and cabins and Dale’ Sporting Goods. The famous Hooker Cut on the 1943 Route 66 alignment.

Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Hooker

The WPA wrote in the 1941 "Missouri, a guide to the "Show Me" state": "HOOKER... a focal point for fishermen on the Big Piney, Gasconade and smaller streams. The highway passes through a mountainous section where second-growth oaks are dwarfed by the few primeval giants lumbering men have left...". Tourists used to arrive by train to neighboring Crocker or Jerome and lodge here to enjoy nature.

Jack DeVere Rittenhouse published his "A Guide Book to Highway 66" in 1946 and he mentioned the village as follows: "HOOKER (Pop. 120; alt 710'; gas; no other accommodations)". He added that it was 2 miles west of Clementine and that it was on a "stretch of divided highway, built during World War II to facilitate traffic to Fort-Leonard Wood, which is nearby. The road is an engineering triumph and truly a joy to the traveler." One mile west was a Gas Station.

Ghost Town

There is no longer a town at Hooker, the original settlement located on the north curve of Teardrop Rd., was badly hit when the first freeway section was built in 1943, cutoff from the traffic flow. And it died when I-44 was realigned in 1981, cutting Teardrop Rd. and making it a dead end.

Hooker Trivia

There was a basket and furniture workshop in Hooker, and travelers stopped to buy the white oak strip baskets.

Start your tour at I-44's Exit 169 at Clementine and head west along Old Route 66 (Now Highway Z). The two lane road curves to the left away from I-44 and becomes a four lane highway. This is the 1943 Route 66 alignment built to Ft. Leonard Wood to handle the heavy military traffic during WWII.

The old road runs along the hill to the north of the freeway, concealed by the trees. but 2 miles ahead the old road meets the newer alignment, crossing it and then curving back to the north side. Here is the old Cemetery and Church:

Cemetery and Church

Tropy Rd. head west

To your right, just after the westbound Trophy Road leaves US 66, is Hooker Church and the old graveyard (Map with location) dating back to 1900.

On the south (east) side of Route 66 is the former Hillbilly Store:

Sterling Hillbilly Store

Route 66 (Hwy Z), Hooker. Map with location.

Squire and Anna Wells operated the "Wells Station" in Hooker on the old 1926 alignment of US 66 (Near the place where Trophy Ln. meets I-44). Their son Sterling also managed it but when the four lane alignment bypassed them, he relocated the business to the new highway.

He had a store with cabins and camping. He also sold 19¢ burgers and crafts in a Hillbilly-style cabin with a neon light hillbilly that had moving arms to attract travelers which is now set up in front of the Mule Tobacco Barn on Route 66 in Rolla, MO.

When the road was again bypassed -now by I-44 being relocated in 1981 further west, he moved to I-44 and MO-28.

vintage postcard of Sterling Hillbilly Store

Vintage postcard of Sterling Hillbilly Store, by www.66postcard.com
Click for larger image

Former Sterling Hillbilly Store nowadays

Former Sterling Hillbilly Store nowadays. Google
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

As you can see in the images above, the gabled house is the same, and the "red water pump" to the right in the postcard is still there, now painted white.

Just ahead is the famous Hooker Cut:

Hooker Cut

Route 66 (Hwy Z), Hooker. Map with location.

The new Route 66 alignment built between 1941 and 1943 to improve the safety and eliminate the congestion along the "old" alignment through Hooker and Devil's Elbow had a straight alignment instead of winding around the hills, it went through them. This required a great cut through a high ridge east of the Big Piney River: Hooker Cut.

The engineers at the Fred Weber Construction Co. of St. Louis, developed a new technique that is still in use today: they terraced the rock walls to keep falling rocks from hitting the highway or the vehicles on it.

The 90 foot-deep cut was the deepest road cut in America for many years.

Old Postcard of Hooker Cut, on four-lane U.S. Highway 66 in Hooker, Missouri

Old Postcard of Hooker Cut, on four-lane U.S. Highway 66 in Hooker MO
Old Postcard of Hooker Cut, on four-lane U.S. Highway 66 in Hooker, Missouri
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Hooker Cut nowadays in Hooker, Missouri

Hooker Cut nowadays on Route 66 in Hooker MO
Hooker Cut nowadays on Route 66 in Hooker, Missouri, by
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Continue west along Route 66 and, to your left, at the junction with the 1926 -1943 alignment at Teardrop Road, there are two attractions: former Sunset Rest Texaco and Dale's Sporting Goods:

Sunset Rest

NE corner of Hwy Z and Teardrop Rd., Hooker

As you can see in the Sunset Rest postcard at the top of this page, and comparing it with this Street View, the old building is relatively unchanged. But the log cabins have gone.

It was also known as "Burgard's"; built in 1933 it is now a private home. It was on the original alignment and it was not touched by the new 1943 four lane re-routing. It survived.

Across the road from it, on the southeast corner is Dale's:

Dale’ Sporting Goods

On the SE corner of Teardrop Rd. and Hwy Z. Hooker

See its Street View. Also known as Roubidoux Woodworkers it is a simple box-shaped building with a flat roof.

It belonged to Dale Hooker who built it in 1950, it sold sporting goods was a grocery and liquor store as well as a gas station. It also sold bait and was a spot where the local fishermen got together. Hooker sold it in 1969 to Verle West who ran it until 1981 when I-44 bypassed it.

This is the ending point of your tour.

Tours & Itineraries

Here, at Dale's and Sunset Rest, you can take a right and head north along Teardrop Rd. into the dead end at former Hooker next to I-44 (Street View), or take a left along Teardrop Rd., south into Devil's Elbow. You can also keep on straight along the four-lane road crossing the 1942 Big Piney River Bridge and visit Piney Beach Resort (both of which we describe in our Devil's Elbow page), continuing to Grandview and St. Roberts along Route 66.

Old Route 66 in Hooker

From Hooker westwards

The original trail along the divide in the Ozarks was opened by roaming buffalo. Centuries later it was used by the Natives and after them by the trappers and explorers.

They named it the "Great Osage Trail" (after the Osage people who lived in the area). During the Civil war period (1860s), a telegraph line was laid from St. Louis Missouri to Fort Smith in Arkansas and it passed through Hooker.

By the early 1900s cars became more common in the countryside but the dirt tracks used by carts were in terrible state: full of potholes during the dry season and muddy traps during the rainy period. John Woodruff of Springfield MO lobbied for better roads throgh the Inter-Ozarks Highway Association he presided and this led to the creation of Missouri State Highway 14 built from Springfield to St. Louis, passing through Hooker. Later, in 1926 Route 66 would be aligned along it.

USGS map from 1942 showing Hooker MO

USGS Map from 1942 showing Hooker MO and Route 66.
The Red arrows mark the 1926-43 alignment of US 66.

1926 to 1943 alignment

This is the 1926-1943 Google Map from Hooker to Grandview through Devil's Elbow. Which is also shown in Blue in the Map above.

The 1943 to 1977 alignment

The opening of Fort Leonard Wood close to Waynesville brought a large workforce to the area and while a railroad spur was being built all the materials and men that were to be trained at the new Army base moved in along Route 66. This road was narrow and winding it also had the 1923 narrow Bridge at Devil's Elbow with a dog leg on it.

Traffic had tripled and the road became congested. Accidents increased (53 dead and 454 injured during the first nine months of 1941).

This had to be solved and quickly: the War Department had a four-lane highway built through this dangerous area. Instead of winding around the hills coasting the Big Piney River, the new road would cut a straight line from Clementine to Grandview.

This "freeway" became with the Pennsylvania Turnpike the only two highways with four lanes in the U.S. at that time.

Hooker and Devil's Elbow were both bypassed by the new road. This new alignment is shown in Pale Blue above (west of Clementine and east of St. Robert) and this in this 1943-1977 Google Map.

It remained in use until I-44 replaced its signs in 1977. It was later bypassed in 1981 by a newer alignment of I-44 which eliminated a section of the old 1926 road (shown in Black in the map above) in old Hooker.

US 66 after 1952

In 1952 the Missouri Highway Department started work to improve Route 66 to make it safer and shorter, this meant eliminating the winding course in many sections.

1953 and 1958 roadmaps of US 66 near Devils Elbow

Missouri D.O.T. 1953 and 1958 Roadmaps, Route 66 from Rolla to Hazelgreen

The 1953 (bottom) and 1958 (top) roadmaps show the section from Hazelgreen to Rolla. Notice how it all became a four lane freeway (but still named US 66) it went through Hooker (this was the highway built in 1943) but bypassed Devil's Elbow, now located (see both maps) on what was then called Highway "V".

Eventually the whole of US 66 in this area was upgraded into a four lane highway with overpasses, and after 1958 it coexisted with the new interstate I-44 (a state petition in 1962 to name the highway I-66 was denied by the AASHTO). Finally in 1972 the whole of Route 66 had been replaced by the freeway and in 1974 it was decided that the whole of US 66 from Chicago to Joplin would be eliminated. However this was delayed until I-55 in Illinois was completely brought up to Interstate standards. The signs were removed in 1977 but the last segment of the old Route 66 to be bypassed was the section in Powellville and, here, in Hooker, in 1981: Map showing I-44 1981 realignment.

> > See the previous segment Clementine to Hooker (east)

> > See the next segment Devil's Elbow to Morgan Heights (west)

Sources

The Ramsay Place Names File

Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.

Maura Johnson and John F. Bradbury, Route 66 Association of Missouri. 1993, Architectural ⁄ Historical Inventory Survey. Route 66 in Missouri

Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.

Image by Vítězslav Válka adapted under its CC BY-SA 3.0 CZ License

Maura Johnson and John F. Bradbury, Route 66 Association of Missouri. 1993, Architectural ⁄ Historical Inventory Survey. Route 66 in Missouri

Map Icons by Nicolas Mollet under its CC BY SA 3.0 License