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Springfield, Missouri

"Birthplace of Route 66"

Springfield is the "Birthplace of Route 66" and has plenty of U.S. 66 attractions, landmarks and historic places. We list them below: classic motels, service stations, diners and other must-see sights.

Springfield Missouri, and its Classic Route 66 motels, signs and Landmarks

Springfield MO

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About Springfield Missouri

Facts, Trivia and useful information

"Queen City of the Ozarks"

Elevation: 1,299 ft (396 m). Population 159,498 (2010) and its Metro area 456,456 (112th in the U.S.)
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).

Springfield is a large city on Old Route 66, and seat of Greene County. Located in south-central Missouri. (Map of Springfield).

Danny’s Service Station on Route 66, Springfiled MO street view

Danny’s Service Station on Route 66, Springfiled MO
Danny’s Service Station on Route 66, Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

History of Springfield

Southwestern Missouri has been inhabited since the last Ice Age, around ten thousand years ago; more recently around 700 BC the native Osage migrated here from their homeland on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers after being expelled by the warmongering Iroquois.

French explorers who came from Canada claimed the area in 1682 and named it "Louisiana" after their king Louis XIV. France sold it to the U.S. in 1803 and in 1812 it was organized as the Missouri Territory , becoming a state in 1821.

At that time there were Delaware and Kickapoo natives in Springfield. The Kickapoo natives originally lived in Indiana and Illinois, but after rising pressure from white settlers and the Tecumseh War against the US in 1811, they were removed west of the Mississippi River into Missouri, south of the Osage River. They lived in lodges with an oblong shape, built with saplings, roofed and faced with bark or reed-mats known as "wickiups".

Thomas Patterson settled in Springfield in 1821 after buying John Pettijohn's claim. However the Kickapoo Indians claimed the land as theirs under a treaty signed with the government. White settlers were forced to leave, except James Wilson, who married into the tribe (see the Kickapoo Indian Village historic marker). After the natives were moved again, in 1832 into Reservation land in Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma, John Polk Campbell and his brother settled there in Kickapoo Prairie next to a spring.

In 1833 when Greene County was created, Campbell and his wife deeded 50 acres of land for a townsite which incorporated in 1838.

The name: Springfield

One version is that Campbell named the town after the spring next to his homestead, another that one of the early settlers, James Wilson came from Springfield Massachusetts (in turn named by William Pyncheon in 1636 after his home town in Essex, England.

The Cherokee Tribe was also relocated in Oklahoma, in 1839, their march is known as the "Trail of Tears" during which thousands of natives perished. Route 66 follows the ancient trail used by the Cherokee.

Located at a strategic crossroad, settlers began arriving in 1850 and by 1859 it had 2,500 residents. The Butterfield Stage Line set up a station there for its route to San Francisco.

During the Civl War, after the bloody battle of Wilson's Creek, in 1861, the Confederates held the area until the Union forces drove them out in 1862 and held the town until the end of the war.

The railway (Atlantic and Pacific Railroad) reached Springfield in 1870 and set up a station 1.5 mi. north of the town, prompting the creation of North Springfield. The Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railroad reached the town in 1881, and both communities merged in 1887.

Springfield played an important role in the creation of Route 66, and is known as The Birthplace of Route 66, which was aligned through the city in 1926 and realigned in 1936 around its northern and western sides. The city provided lodging and services to those travelling along Route 66.

After 1958, I-44 which at that time overlapped US-66 was built and bypassed the city. Route 66 traffic was drawn to the freeway.

Where to Lodge in Springfield, Missouri

Lodging in Springfield...

>> Book your hotel in town: Springfield Hotels

More Lodging near Springfield along Route 66

Motels and Hotels close to Springfield

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

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

>> Check out the RV campgrounds in Springfield

Weather in Springfield

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

Springfield has clearly defined seasons. The city is located on the northern border of U.S.'s humid subtropical climate, this gives it very wet weather in late summer.

The average summer (Jul) temperatures are: high 89°F (31.6°C) and low 68° (19.8°C); the average winter (Jan) high is 43°F (6.1°C) and low is well below freezing with 22°F (-5.3°C).

Annual rainfall is around 45.6 in. (1.160 mm), and it experiences 17 in. of snow (43 cm) yearly.

Springfield is said to be the city with the most varied weather in the United States.

Tornado risk

Springfield is located within the "Tornado Alley" and Greene County has an average of 9 tornado strikes per year.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
 

Getting to Springfield

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

Map of Route 66 in Springfield

in Missouri.

Black the 1926 alignment from Strafford, through Springfield and west of that city.
Pale Blue: The 1926 alignment west of Springfield and the later alignments of Route 66 around the city ("Bypass 66") and into the town, from the east.

See Route 66's alignment in Missouri Map

  Click to See the Springfield 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 Springfield

Route 66 logo

Route 66 across Missouri

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

Sights and Attractions in Springfield, Missouri

What to Do, Places to See

Birthplace of Route 66

Springfield and its Route 66 attractions

Springfield, where Route 66 was born has many classic Route 66 attractions and sights: motels, diners, drive-in theater, historic sites, neon signs and service stations. The sights are listed above, but don't miss Steak ’n Shake, Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park, Gillioz Theatre, Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Mosque, Historic Rock Fountain Tourist Court and Danny's Service Station.

Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Springfield

In his 1946 book "A Guide Book to Highway 66" Jack DeVere Rittenhouse describes the "classic" Route 66 during its heyday. He says the following:

"... all types of accommodations.... There are plenty of courts on all approaches to the city, and several hotels in town.
Largest hotels are: Colonial, Kentwood Arms, Seville and Metropolitan; also Milner, State and Sterling Hotels. Tourist Courts include: Cordova, Lone Star, Baldridge, Black's, Camp-On-A-Way, Curtis, DeLuxe, Eagle, Lone Pine, Mack's, New Haven, Otto's, Ozark, Rail Haven, Red Bird, Rock Village, Royal, Snow White, Springfield and White Haven...
"

He also mentions a "a small community" just on the western part of Springfield.

Tour the route 66 landmarks in Springfield

Into Springfield along "City 66"

City 66 was the road that went through Springfield's downtown area. Begin your trip at MO-744 and turn along Glenstone southwards. To your left is an original Route 66 roadbed:

Original 1930s Route 66 Roadbed

On the SE corner of the intersection of Kearney and Glenstone, you can see an Original Section of Route 66. Here is where the road from Strafford curved southwards towards Springfield. This is a map of the segment, 0.2 miles long.

Site of Rock Village Court

On the SW corner of Kearney and Glenstone.

The old Rock Village Court stood here in 1946 and was mentioned by Rittenhouse. Now it is an American Inn. Street View.

White City Tourist Park - later Flagship Motel

2209 North Glenstone Avenue

Originally the White City Tourist Park, built in 1927 it was replaced in 1959 by a more modern building ran by the Lurvey's: The Americana Motel. The motel was later renamed Flagship Motel (1981) and remains open under this name until today.

The Flagship Motel as time passes

The Flagship Motel as time passes
The Flagship Motel as time passes Springfield, Missouri
Click on image to see the postcard

The image combines a vintage postcard of the Americana Motel (www.route66university.com), a photo of the Flamingo sign (Roadsidepeek) and Google Street View. You can see the present appearance of the motel in (1), with the same office and units as shown in the 1960s postcard (2). But the sign has changed. The original sign with the name "Americana" in (2) can be seen with the name "Flagship" in (3). The modern sign lacks the Route 66 charm of the old one.

Glenstone Cottage Court

2023 North Glenstone Avenue

This auto court opened in 1947 with 14 units. It is virtually unchanged as you can see in the images below:

Glenstone Cottage Court, present street view

Glenstone Cottage Court
Glenstone Cottage Court Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Glenstone Cottage Court in a vintage postcard

Glenstone Cottage Court
Glenstone Cottage Court Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image to see the postcard

Dogwood Inn former Silver Saddle and Baldridge

815 N Glenstone Ave, Springfield

Built in 1939 it was owned by John and Hazel Baldridge as the Baldridge Motor Court. The place was reformed in 1957 and renamed as Silver Saddle Motel. It has been the Dogwood Inn since 1997.

Dogwood Inn, former Silver Saddle Motel street view

View of  Dogwood Inn, former Silver Saddle Motel
View of Dogwood Inn, former Silver Saddle Motel Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Dogwood Inn, former Silver Saddle Motel in a vintage postcard

Dogwood In postcard, former Silver Saddle Motel
Postcard of former Silver Saddle Motel Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image to see the postcard

Rail Haven

203 S Glenstone Ave, Springfield (SW corner of E. St. Louis and S. Glenstone

The place is now the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Hotel - Springfield. But it opened in 1938 with eight stone cottages as the Rail Haven Motor Court on a strategic crossroad just east of downtown Springfield.

It was enclosed by a rail fence, which gave it its name. Its owner, Lawrence Lippman joined the Best Western hotels association in 1948. The old sign has been restored and set up just west of the intersection (See a street view of the sign).

Rail Haven Motel street view

Rail Haven Motel
Rail Haven Motel Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Rail Haven Motel in a vintage postcard

Rail Haven Motel postcard
Rail Haven Motel postcard Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image to see the postcard

Side Trip south along US 65

At E. St. Louis you can go south for 2.3 mi. to see two more classic motels:

Lamplighter Motel

1772 S Glenstone Ave, Springfield (NE corner of Glenstone and Sunshine).

The motel is still operating, it dates back to the 1960s. It's postacard pictured below tells us that it had "150 units, the newest and finest in Hotel Comfort. Two cocktail lounges - dining room - coffee shop open 24 hours a day - banquet room seating capacity - 450, direct dial phones, swimming pool. Automatic elevator to all floors. James L. Pelle General Manager".

You can Book a Room in the Lamplighter Motel

Lamplighter Motel, Springfield MO

Lamplighter Motel nowadays, Springfield MO, by Google
Click for Street View

vintage postcard of the Lamplighter Motel Springfield MO

Vintage postcard of the Lamplighter Motel Springfield MO, by ebay.com
Click to enlarge

Battlefield Inn, former Empire Inn

2114 South Glenstone Ave.

You can Book a Room in the Battlefield Inn

The former Empire Inn had, according to their postcard, "51 unit -air conditioned - electric heat- TV - swimming pool ... carpeted wall-to-wall - Baby sitting service available - "Magic Fingers" beds optional" (what were "Magic Fingers"?) it seems unchanged (yes, the old neon sign has been "modernized"):

Battlefield Inn former Empire Inn, Springfield MO

Battlefield Inn former Empire Inn nowadays, Springfield MO, by Google
Click for Street View

vintage postcard of Empire Inn now Battlefield Inn, Springfield MO

Vintage postcard of Empire Inn now Battlefield Inn, Springfield MO, by ebay.com
Click to enlarge

Into Downtown Springfield

Turn right along E. St. Louis towards the downtown district.

Steak 'n Shake

1158 E St Louis St and N. National Ave.

This restaurant opened in 1962 on Route 66 and is one of the few original buildings that remains.

This is a classic restaurant chain founded in 1934, despite the name there is no steak on the menu. They are "Famous for Steakburgers" originally made from ground T-bone, sirloin, and round steaks. The sign on the corner is great.

Steak 'n Shake drive through street view

Steak ’n Shake drive through
Steak ’n Shake drive through Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View
Kentwood Arms Hotel in Springfield MO

Kentwood Arms Hotel in Springfield MO, Google
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Kentwood Arms Motor Hotel

Address: 700 E St. Louis

The six-story Kentwood Arms Hotel, built in brick and sandstone was built in 1926 by John T. Woodruff. It was the site of many National Highway 66 Association meetings.

Now owned by the Southwest Missouri State University and used as student housing. Woodruff built it as a luxury hotel for Route 66 travellers. It had 100 rooms, rooftop garden, ballroom and beauty parlor.

The Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Mosque

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

601 E St Louis St.

The Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Mosque, Springfield MO

The Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Mosque, Springfield MO, by Abe Ezekowitz.

The "Shrine Mosque" was built in 1923 and belongs to the Abou Ben Adhem Shriners. The five-story building is not a religious building, it is an auditorium that seats 4,000 spectators. It was named after the poem "Abou Ben Adhem" (May his tribe increase!) by Leigh Hunt. See its Street View.

The fraternal organization of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.), was founded in New York City in 1872 by Billy Florence and Walter Fleming, a physician.

Shriners are also a philantropic organization and the Shrine Center is used to host events and weddings.

Historic Woodruff Building in Springfield MO

Historic Woodruff Building in Springfield MO, Google
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Woodruff Building

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

318 Park Central East

This 10-story building dates back to 1910, Springfield's first skyscraper. It was the home to Missouri Court of Appeals and many law firms. It was originally built in red bricks with ornate marble in its interior. After World War II it received a face lift (the blue porcelain panels date back to then). In 2014 it was renamed "Sky Eleven" and is now an appartment building. See a vintage postcard.

Birthplace of Route 66

John Thomas Woodruff, (1868-1949), attorney, businessman and promoter fo the Ozarks highways. He coined the expression "The crossroads of America" for Springfield, as both U.S. 65 and 66 intersected here. He built the Woodruff's Arms Hotel (1925) to cater to those travelling in cars (until then hotels seved rail travelers).

Gov. Fredercick Gardner reformed the state constitution to include a tax on gasoline to improve the roads and "Lift Missouri out of the Mud." Woodruff presided the Inter-Ozarks Highway Association which helped the ammendment get approved and later lobbied to get state highway 14 (later US 66) and highway 5 (now US 65) laid through Springfield. In 1926, Woodruff and Cyrus Avery founded the U.S. Highway 66 Association, Woodruff became its president.

The federal government had to number the new highway and the rule was that "the main transcontinental routes would be multiples of 10", so Avery wanted it to be Route 60, and initially it was named so. But the number was disputed by a highway following the historical National Roosevelt Midland Trail. The feds proposed Route 62 as an alternative, but Woodruff and Avery came up with number "66" and sent a telegram from Springfield to Washington: "Regarding Chicago Los Angeles road if California Arizona New Mexico and Illinois accept sixty six instead of sixty we are inclined to agree to this change. We prefer sixty six to sixty two." and it was approved; this is how Springfield became the birthplace of Route 66.

Historic Gillioz Theatre in Springfield MO

Historic Gillioz Theatre in Springfield MO, Google
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Gillioz Theatre

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

325 Park Central E Springfield

Next to Woodruff building. It was built by M.E. Gillioz in Spanish style in 1926. Restored it reopened in 2006 (Visit their website).

It originally targeted Route 66 travellers driving right passed its front door. Built in an elaborate Spanish style on a very narrow property next to Woodruff Building.

Park Central Square

There is a plaque just to the right of the fountain, where Park Central E. meets the square (Map showing marker's position. It reads: "Springfield, Missouri. To commemorate the official birthplace of U.S. Highway 66 "The Main Street of America" 66th Anniversary 1926 - 1992. Placed by the Route 66 Association of Missouri".

The Historic Fox Theatre is on the NE corner of the square, part of the Springfield History Museum located next to it. Street View.

A quick-draw shootout

Charles Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok former Union scout and spy got into a row over a gambling debt with Dave Tutt, a professional gambler which ended on July 21, 1865 in a shootout in which Hickok shot Tutt through the heart from a distance of 75 yards. He was tried and acquitted.

There is a marker at the southeast corner of the square, on the street; watch out for the traffic. Map showing marker's position.

Calaboose Old Jail

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

409 W. College St. South side of the road.

The old Jail is the oldest building owned by the city. Built in 1891, it was restored and now is a Springfield Police Department substation and museum. See its Street View from W. College.

Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park

1200 W College St. To you right, just past the intersection of S. New Ave.

Red's Giant Hamburg sign

The park was dedicated in 2014, and has a replica of Red's Giant Hamburg sign. This was a hamburger shop located on West Chestnut Expressway in Springfield (it closed in 1984). Said to be the first drive-through joint in the U.S. where customers picked the order at the kitchen window and did not have to wait for car-hops (waitresses).

The sign originally said "hamurger" but Red cut off the bottom letters "er", to mount it and avoid touching power lines. (View of the Giant Hamburg sign).

Get your kicks on Route 66, mural in Springfield

"Get Your Kicks on Route 66" mural in Springfield. Google
Click for Street View

Across the street, is the Mural,

Mural on Route 66

South side of 1200 W College St.

Dedicated in 2001, it is the work of local artist Christine Schilling, it has naive styled mosaics that commemorate Route 66

Route 66 Car Museum

1624 W. College Street

A collection of 67 classic cars including the 1926 Hudson used in the movie "The Grapes of Wrath", full details on the book and the movie. visit their website.

Former Rockwood Court

2204 College Street

The place opened in 1931 as Rockwood Court and later was Ginny Lee's Restaurant, Motel and Pub. Now it is Tubby's Diner. See the rock cottages in the rear part of the property. See its photo below.

Shamrock Square Motel

2300 College Street

The motel was built in 1935 as the Shamrock Square Motel, it is still open (Shamrock Place), the neon sign is gorgeous, also has stone cottages. It is pictured below.

Former Rockwood Court, Springfield MO

Former Rockwood Court in Springfield MO, by Google
Click for Street View

Former Shamrock Square Motel, Springfield MO

Former Shamrock Square Motel, Springfield MO, by Google
Click for Street View

Historic Rock Fountain Tourist Court

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

2400 College Street

Below are its current appearance and a classic postcard:

Historic Rock Fountain Tourist Court street view

Historic Rock Fountain Tourist Court
Historic Rock Fountain Tourist Court Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Historic Rock Fountain Tourist Court in a vintage postcard

Historic Rock Fountain Tourist Court postcard
Historic Rock Fountain Tourist Court in a postcardSpringfield, Missouri, by
Click on image to see the postcard

The nine rock cabins were built in 1945 by "Mac" MacCandless in the typical individual cottage style common during the 1930s. The Ozark sandstone faced the buildings giving them a stately appearance. At one time it had a real rock fountain now gone, which gave it its name -you can see it in the postcard.

Now it is an apartment complex named Melinda Court Apartments. Private property and not open to the public.

Other Sights in the City

Kickapoo Indian Village

Historic Marker

NE corner of E. Madison and South Ave. (Map with marker's location).

See it on the south wall of the apartment building. The text says: "Kickapoo Indian Village. From approximately 1812 to 1832 a Kickapoo Indian Village occupied the site bounded on the north by Madison, west by Campbell, south by Grand and east by Jefferson. 100 wigwams clustered around a spring formerly situated 250 feet southwest of this point. The Indians are believed to have planted on this site the first orchard of the Indian peach. Springfield University Club. 1925".

Pythian Castle

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

1451 E. Pythian Street

It was built in 1913 by the Knights of Pythias -a fraternal organization. Later owned by the U.S. Army. Said to be a POW camp during WW II.

Along Bypass 66

From Kearney and Glenstone, head west along what was the 1936-58 Bypass Route 66 that avoided the congested downtown area of Springfield:

The Rancho Motel

1720 E Kearney St.

On the old Bypass 66, on Kearney St. was the Rancho Motel dating back to 1955. Previously it was an Allied Service Travel Court. The office has changed, but the units to the west are unchanged. The sign has of course been "modernized" losing its 50's charm.

The Rancho Motel, Springfield MO

The Rancho Motel nowadays, Springfield MO, by Google
Click for Street View

vintage postcard of The Rancho Motel Springfield MO

Vintage postcard of The Rancho Motel Springfield MO, by www.66postcards.com
Click to enlarge

Rest Haven Court

2000 E. Kearney St.

The motel began as a service station in 1945 owned by the Brightwells. The first four stone cottages were added in 1947, each with two rooms. In 1952 they added 10 more rooms and ten more in 1953. The neon sign with a large yellow curved arrow is a classic; it was erected in 1955.

A vintage postcard proclaimed "... Free T.V. in all rooms 100% Refrigerated Air-Conditioning - Steam Heat - Telephones - Beauty Rest MAttresses Free Radios - Ice - Newspapers - Well Equipped Playground...". In 1958 Route 66 was realigned to the north, (along what is now I-44), that was when the pool was added. The couple retired in 1978, and the motel is still in operation.

Rest Haven Motel today, Route 66, Springfield Mo street view

Rest Haven Motel, Route 66, Springfield Mo
Rest Haven Motel Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Rest Haven Motel, Route 66, Springfield Mo in a vintage postcard

Rest Haven Motel, Route 66, Springfield Mo
Postcard showing the Rest Haven Motel Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image to see the postcard

Holiday Drive-in Theater

2857 E. Kearney St. North side see map with location.

Holiday Drive-in Theater on Route 66, Springfield MO street view

Holiday Drive-in Theater on Route 66, Springfield MO
Holiday Drive-in Theater on Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri, by
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

The image shows the sign, and its location (red circle) in the satellite view and, to the north the old circular section with the now gone screen at its apex (yellow square).

It opened in the lat 60's and closed in the 1990s. The screen is gone, but the sign next to Route 66 still stands.

Many of the motels that lined the highway have been torn down to make space for modern buildings. At West Bypass (US 160), take a left and head south. There, to your right, on the SW corner is the Rex Smith Gas Station:

Rex Smith Gas Station & Cabins

2321 NW Bypass, Springfield

On the SW corner of Kearney St. and U.S. 160 in NW Springfield

Rex Smith Gas Station & Cabins in Springfield

Rex Smith Gas Station & Cabins in Springfield. Google
Click for Street View

The side-gabled gas station which sold Flying A brand gas, was built by Otto Young in 1933, in a Craftsman ⁄ bungalow style on what would become the new bypass alignment of Route 66 north of Springfield.

The place also had a restaurant plus two cabins (behind the gas station, to the north and south of it. Street View of the Cabins. Each stone cabin had two units and the entrance doors were under a gabled canopy.

The service station sold Flying A gasoline.

Danny's Service Station

On the NW corner of NW Bypass and EE Rd.

This service station has a great sign and is an icebox sytle building, perhaps from the 1930s. The service station is pictured at the top of this page.

City and Bypass Route 66 meet and head west

At W Chestnut Expressway both City 66 and Bypass 66 meet. Turn westwards (right), and to your left, on the south side of the highway is a classic motel:

Wishing Well Motor Inn

3550 W Chestnut Expy

Built in 1947 to lure in the eastbound travellers, it is still open, though now as monthly or weekly rental units.

The building is relatively unchanged and the neon sign is almost untouched.

Wishing Well Motor Inn Route 66, Springfiled MO

Wishing Well Motor Inn Route 66, Springfiled MO, by Google
Click for Street View

vintage postcard of the Wishing Well Motor Inn Route 66, Springfiled MO

Vintage postcard of The Wishing Well Motor Inn Route 66, Springfiled MO. www.hippostcard.com
Click to enlarge

Continue west along MO-266, and to your right is a Route 66 diner:

Alli's Family Restaurant

4525 W Chestnut Expy, Springfield,

Formerly the Seven Gables Restaurant and Truck Stop. This restaurant and Café offers American classics and specials. See its street view.

Here you can turn back or head to visit some more attractions in western part of Springfield, described below in "Tours".

Tours & Itineraries

West of Springfield, towards Halltown

Keep westbound along Chestnut Expressway which becomes MO 266 (old Route 66) after crossing I-44:

Rittenhouse's 1946 book describes the western outskirts of Springfield: " 6 mi Andy's Court. Next gas station at 8 mi... 9 mi. A small community here, with a custom grinding mill (Left), gas station, grocery and general store".

Those landmarks are still there on Route 66:

Former Andy’s Court motel in Springfield Missouri

Former Andy's Court Motel, Google
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Andy's Court

5957 W State Highway 266, Springfield. Map with location.

After crossing I-44 and just past the Deerlake Golf Course (see the old stretch of Route 66 to the south), is Homer's Body Shop, which still preserves what once was Andy’s Modern Rock Cottages. See what it looked like in the 1940s (see a vintage postcard of it).

Just ahead, to the west on MO-266 is the "Small community" mentioned by Rittenhouse:

Barnes General Store

Greene County Historic Site

8240 W. Highway 266. Map with location.

To your left, on the south side of Route 66. Now it is the Barnes town & Country, it was built in 1934, photo below.

O'Dell Gas Station and Café

Across the road, north side

The buildings facing Barnes General Store were in the past, the O'Dell Gas Station and Cafe. You can see their Street View here.

Main Street Feeds

Greene County Historic Site

8240 W. Highway 266.

This is a feed mill, with silos and 1930s buildings. Just west of the General Store. It is pictured below:

Main Street Feed Springfield

Main Street Feed, Springfield, by Google
Click for Street View

Barnes General Store Springfield MO

View of Barnes General Store Springfield MO, by Google
Click for Street View

You can head west from here towards Plano and Halltown along MO-266.

Old Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri

By 1910, the use of cars had grown considerably and the dirt roads and trails used in the countryside were in very bad shape and turned into muddy traps when it rained. This led W. H. "Coin" Harvey (1851-1936) to conceive and create the Ozark Trails Association in 1913 to provide a good road from New Mexico to St. Louis MO.

John Thomas Woodruff, (1868-1949) also lobbied for better roads in the Ozarks and they managed to get not only the Ozark trail through Springfield but to have State Highways built along it in the early 1920s. West of Springfield, the trail followed the old highway that linked Springfield with Carthage and east, it followed the railroad towards Lebanon.

In 1926, Route 66 was created (its birthplace was actually Springfield, where the number "66" was chosen"), and it followed the Ozark Trail all the way to Romeroville in New Mexico. It passed through the downtown of Springfield.

There were several alignments of US 66 through Springfield, these were:

The 1926 map of the Missouri State Highway Commission shows what then was Route 60 (yes, 60 and not 66 because they had taken the original planned numbering and not the one that was later agreed upon and which prevailed: U.S. 66). The paved surface ended at Springfield and the road from there to Avilla it was already being paved with concrete, after Avilla it was again paved all the way to Kansas. By 1929 it was completely paved.

1926 Road into Springfield

shown in Black in the Map above.

East of Springfield, at Strafford, the original 1926 road turned south along what is now MO-125 and then right (west) along State Hwy. YY, which became E. Divison St. At Glenstone it turned south, and then west along E. St. Louis through downtown Springfield and then west along College St. and what is now W. Chestnut Expressway. Heading onwards towards Halltown on present MO-266.

Realigned in the east

The eastern access into Springfield was realigned (Pale Blue) and from 1930 to 1958, Route 66 reached Springfield from Strafford along what is now State Highway MO-744. At Glenstone Ave. it followed what was named the "City Route" which ovelapped with US-166 met the former 1926 alignment, and followed it.

New 1936 Alignment: "Bypass 66"

As Rittenhouse pointed out in 1946: "There are two routes: through the town on City 66 or around it on Bypass 66" the bypass was created in 1936.

The traffic congested the center of Springfield (it also carried Route 65) so a bypass was approved and buit linking NE Springfield with the western exit along College St. This was known as Bypass 66. Rittenhouse wrote in 1946 that for those driving "Straight through in a hurry" should take the bypass because it "avoid[ed] city traffic".

This road ran westbound along Kearney until reaching what is now US 160, and there took a left, southbound to what is now I-44 Business loop, where it met the other alignment, turned right and headed west. This is shown in Pale Blue in the map above.

Old Alignment West of Springfield

The 1926 -1960 alignment was modified just west of I-44's exit 72. To fit the western access ramps, former US-66 (now MO-266) was moved north and then south again, bypassing Trail View Rd. next to Deer Lake Golf Course.

After 1958 (the MO DOT map shows it in the early 1960s) Route 66 was realigned to the north, (along what is now I-44, both highways overlapped). The former alignment along Kearney St. became BR-66. And I-44 ⁄ US-66 headed around town and then west where just south of Halltown they split, I-44 to the southwest, and US-66 west towards Carthage.

Route 66 and Interstate I-44

Route 66 and Interstate 44 lived along together for many years (like many U.S. Higwhays do today), From Springfield west, to Halltown, they overlapped and at this point US 66 went northwards to Spencer and west to Carthage along its original alignment (now MO-96) while I-44 turned southwest and then west to Oklahoma. The same happened east of Springfield, towards Lebanon. They coexisted until the federal government officially decommissioned Route 66 in 1985.

> > See the previous 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.

The WPA Guide to Missouri: The Show-Me State, 1939.

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