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Marshfield

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Marshfield, Missouri

Highest Town

Marshfield has a few Route 66 attractions, like the Fair Oaks Motel and the former Skyline Cafe. It also has some "Americana", like the scale model Replica of the Hubble Space Telescope and an old Building from 1880

Marshfield has the highest elevation (1,493 ft - 455 m) of any town on Interstate 44 east of the Rocky Mountains.

Marshfield MO

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About Marshfield Missouri

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation: 1,493 ft (455 m). Population 6,633 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).

Marshfield is the county seat of Webster County, in southwestern Missouri. (Map of Marshfield).

A 1980 building in Marshfield, as it appears today

View of 1880 building in Marshfield MO
View of 1880 building (left: "Smokey’s") in Marshfield, Missouri, by
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

History of Marshfield

The first humans settled in southern Missouri some 10,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age some 10,000 years ago. More recenly, around 700 BC the Osage peple settled here after being expelled from their homeland on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers by the warmongering Iroquois.

The French reached the area in 1682. The named it "Louisiana" after their king Louis XIV. In 1803 Napoleon sold it to the U.S. Government. The Missouri Territory was organized in 1812 and statehood reached in 1821.

A series of treaties removed the Ossage and other natives that had been relocated in Missouri by the U.S. Government so by the early 1830s, the first white settlers arrived.

The Flannagan family arrived in the 1830s and Webster county was established in 1855. One year later Marshfield was founded.

The name: Marshfield

The county was named after a prominent 19th century politician: Daniel Webster and the town was named after the place he had lived in: Marshfield Massachusetts.

The Atlantic & Pacific Railroad reached Marshfield in 1872. In 1880 an F4 strength tornado struck the town killing 99 people, one tenth of its population.

Route 66 was created in 1926, and passed through the town. When the road was improved after 1955 it was realigned to the west of the old road, bypassing the town.

Where to Lodge in Marshfield, Missouri

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>> Check out the RV campgrounds in Marshfield

Weather in Marshfield

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

Marshfield has clearly defined seasons. Its position on the northern limit of U.S.'s humid subtropical climate gives it very humid weather during late summer.

The July average temperatures (summer) temperatures are: (high) 89°F (31.6°C); (low) 68° (19.8°C). The aerage January (winter) high temperature is 43°F (6.1°C) while the average low is below freezing: 22°F (-5.3°C).

Annual rainfall averages 45.6 in. (1.160 mm), and Marshfield receives about 17 in. of snow (43 cm) every year.

Tornado risk

Marshfield is located in the "Tornado Alley" and Webster County has around 9 tornado strikes per year.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
 

Getting to Marshfield

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

Map of Route 66 in Marshfield

in Missouri.

Pale Blue: The 1926 to 1953 and later alignments of Route 66
The alignments after 1953 became part of what is now I-44.

See Route 66's alignment in Missouri Map

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

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Google Maps. Terms. Icons.

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

Route 66 logo

Route 66 across Missouri

U.S. Route 66 is a State Historic Scenic Byway in Missouri and this includes Webster 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 Marshfield

Sights and Attractions in Marshfield, Missouri

What to Do, Places to See

Hubble's birth place

Marshfield and its Route 66 attractions

Marshfield is a town on the 1926 to 1953 Route 66 alignment and has the Skyline Cafe, a Replica of the Hubble Space Telescope, a Central Square with a Building from 1880 and the Fair Oaks Motel from the 1950s.

Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Marshfield

After driving the whole of US 66 in 1946, Jack DeVere Rittenhouse published his "A Guide Book to Highway 66" which gives us a good description of the Mother Road during its heyday. Here is what he says about Marshfield:
"... Tarr's garage; Webster hotel; stores; few cabins.) The town of Marshfield is a short distance off US 66. At the intersection of US 66 and the road into town, there are several small cafes, gas stations and a few tourist cabins." he called it "The village of Marshfield" which was "Little touched by the rush of the highway traffic".

Tour the route 66 landmarks in Marshfield

The cafes, cabins and gas stations mentioned by Rittehnhouse have all gone, razed by new developments and the loss of business after U.S. 66 moved west of town in 1955. However the former Skyline Cafe building still stands, at that intersection mentioned by him, north of town, here you can begin your tour of Marshfield:

Skyline Cafe

Route 66 (SW corner of Elm and Hubble)

Also known as Trask's Place the The one-story building with a side-gabled roof (once it was very steep -see photo below, but it was reformed and lowered), constructed in concrete blocks was built around 1930.

It was a café and a DX brand gasoline filling station known as Trask's Place located on Route 66 and next to the local airport. It was renamed due to this as the Skyline Cafe. In 1962 the Marshfield Country Club acquired the building.

Skyline Cafe Marshfield MO

Skyline Cafe nowadays, Marshfield MO, by Google
Click for Street View

Vintage photo of the Skyline Cafe in Marshfield MO

Vintage photo of the Skyline Cafe in Marshfield MO, by Webster County Citizen
Click to enlarge

Head south into the city and visit its Central Square:

Replica of the Hubble Space Telescope

Central Square, SW corner at W Madison and S. Clay St. by the courthouse

Hubble Space Telescope located at the county courthouse in Marshfield MO

Scale Model of the Hubble Space Telescope, Dual Freq.

The 1⁄4 scale model is a replica of the Hubble Space Telescope located at the county courthouse in Marshfield, Missouri. It has a Marker, and was dedicated by the Hubbell Family Historical Society on June 12, 1999.

Edwin Powell Hubble (1889 - 1953) was an American astronomer born in Marshfield. He discovered that the galaxies are moving away from each other at a speed that is proportional to its distance from us. Therefore the Universe is expanding as laid out by what is known as "Hubble's law".

The stretch of I-44 freeway at Marshfield is named after him. And the space telescope launched by NASA into space to study the universe was also named in his honor.

Old 1880 Building

111 S Clay St, Marshfield, NW corner of S Clay and W Madison.

The two-story brick building that now is Smokey J's restaurant, was built in 1880 and in the past has been a furniture store, a funeral parlor, an auto parts shop and a laundromat. It is located across the street from the replica of the space telescope.

The Missouri Walk of Fame honors famous Missourians and is similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the stars in the sidewalk are added during the local "Cherry Blossom Festival".

Drive out of town, westwards along W. Jackson St., reach the southern junction of Old Route 66 (which bypasses the town in a wide arch along its western side) and head west along Spur Dr. towards Interstate 44, cross over it at Exit 100's overpass and to your right is the Fair Oaks Motel:

Fair Oaks Motel

113 Missouri W, Marshfield. NW side of I-44 Exit 100

During the mid 1950s, U.S. 66 was upgraded and improved. It was turned into a safer and straighter four-lane highway that bypassed the towns and stopped using the the old 1926 to 1950s alignment. This became a frontage road or a Missouri State Highway. After 1958 I-44 was aligned alongside US-66 and used the new freeway. It was here, next to the Exit that led into Marshfield, that the Fair Oaks Motel was built. It is stil there, but now it is the Plaza Motel:

View of the former Fair Oaks Motel, today the Plaza Motel

View of the former Fair Oaks Motel, today the Plaza Motel
Street view of former the Fair Oaks Motel, today the Plaza Motel Marshfield, Missouri, by
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Vintage postcard of the Fair Oaks Motel, today the Plaza Motel

Vintage postcard of the Fair Oaks Motel, today the Plaza Motel
Vintage postcard of the Fair Oaks Motel, today the Plaza Motel Marshfield, Missouri, by
Click to enlarge

Tours & Itineraries

Old Route 66 in Marshfield, Missouri

Cars became more popular and by 1910 they had expanded to the countryside but the dirt tracks suitable for carts were not adequate for cars. The public demanded improved roads and this led to John Woodruff and the Inter-Ozarks Highway Association tate he presided to lobby for good highways.

Missouri State Highway 14 was built through the area and in 1926 it became Route 66's alignment. Woodruff's office in Springfield was the Birthplace of Route 66.

Old Route 66: 1926-1953 Alignment through Marshfield

The original alignment is shown in the Map above in Pale Blue, and was a winding course between Strafford and Lebanon.

After 1953

In 1952 the Missouri Highway Department began improving Route 66 to make it safer, and it built a straighter alignment to the west of the original one, upgrading it gradually to a four lane highway that coexisted with I-44 until it was finally decertified around 1979.

Detail of a 1957 Missouri DOT Map.

Detail of a 1957 Missouri DOT Map
Detail of a 1957 Missouri DOT Map near Marshfield, Missouri, by

The map above shows Route 66 between Lebanon and Springfield in 1957. I-44 had not yet been built and US 66 was a divided highway that almost reached Strafford. The older alignment of Route 66 had been redsignated as MO-CC between Conway and Marshfield.

> > See this segment Lebanon to Springfield (east)

> > See the next segment Springfield to Halltown (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

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