About Clementine Missouri
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 1,039 ft (317 m). Population n⁄a (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Clementine is located on the 1926-1981 alignment of Route 66 in Phelps County in the central Missouri Ozarks. (Map of Clementine).
Bennett’s Catfish Café in Clementine, Missouri
History of Clementine
For the general history of the area check our page with the History of Rolla and Phelps County.
The state legislature created the county in 1857 and named it after John S. Phelps (1814-1866) congressman and state governor (1876).
Shortly after, the "Wire Road" was built as a service road for the telegraph line that linked St. Louis with Fort Smith in Arkansas and passed close to Clementine. The stage coach line passed by here and in 1867, after the Civil War, the railroad extended through Newburg, Arlington and Jerome north of Clementine, bypassing it.
A small community formed and the post office opened in 1891 (it closed in 1926).
The name: Clementine
The name is that of a girl, and comes from the Latin word "clemens": mild or mercy. i.e. Clementine = merciful. The post office was given this name for unknown reasons. It was also known as "Basketville".
The use of cars led to the creation of State Highway 14 and a bridge across the Little Piney River in 1923. This highway became Route 66 in 1926, which by 1931 was completely paved. During WW II, the route was upgraded to a four lane highway west of Clementine into Ft. Wood and, during the 1950s, Route 66 was turned into a four-lane freeway. These changes bypassed some of the town's stores and when I-44 was created, it bypassed the town.
Where to Lodge in Clementine, Missouri
Accommodation and hotels near Clementine...
> > Book your hotel nearby: Waynesville
More Lodging near Clementine along Route 66
Motels and Hotels close to Clementine
Hotels, Westwards in Missouri
- 11 miles St. Robert
- 12 miles Waynesville
- 46 miles Lebanon
- 76 miles Marshfield
- 89 miles Strafford
- 98 miles Springfield
- 159 miles Carthage
- 177 miles Joplin
Heading West... Hotels & Motels in Kansas...
- 192 miles Baxter Springs
Further West... Hotels & Motels on Route 66 in Oklahoma...
Heading East in Missouri, more accommodation
- 17 miles Rolla
- 27 miles Saint James
- 39 miles Cuba
- 56 miles Sullivan
- 74 miles Saint Clair
- 84 miles Villa Ridge
- 90 miles Pacific
- 97 miles Eureka
- 125 miles St. Louis
Hotels further East, in Illinois
>> Check out the RV campground in neighboring Waynesville
Weather in Clementine
There are clearly defined seasons in Clementine. During summer, the average high (Jul) is 88°F (31.2°C), while the average low in 67°F (19.2°C). During winter (Jan) the average high is 42°F (5.6°C) and the average low is below freezing at 20°F (-7°C).
Rainfall averages 44.5 in (1.131 mm) per year and falls regularly each month in roughly the same amount). Snowfall is around 9 in. (23 cm), and falls between Dec. and Mar.
Clementine is located in the "Tornado Alley" and Phelps County is hit by some 8 tornado strikes every year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Weather widget for Jerome the town nearest Clementine to the east
Getting to Clementine
Drive to Clementine along the historic Route 66 or Interstate I-44 . they link the area westwards with with Lebanon, Springfield and Joplin, and to the east with Rolla and St. Louis.
Map of Route 66 through Clementine Missouri
See the alignment of US 66 in this location, on our Missouri Route 66 Map, it has the complete alignment across the state with all the towns along it.
Route 66's alignment in Missouri: the Historic Route 66 through Clementine
Route 66 across Missouri
Historic U.S. highway 66, "Route 66" has been designated as an All-American Road and National Scenic Byway in the state of Missouri.
Click on the following link for a Full description of Route 66 across the state of Missouri.
Route 66 Sights in Clementine
Landmarks and Places to See
Clementine and its Route 66 attractions
Clementine has only one Route 66 attraction: the former Bennett’s Catfish Café
Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Clementine
The village of "Clementine" appeared in the 1926 MO DOT map of US highway 66 with a "gravel" surface; it was and paved in the 1933 MO DOT map. It appears in the 1942 and later USGS Maps.
The WPA wrote in the 1941 "Missouri, a guide to the "Show Me" state" about a community 3.3 mi. east of Hooker known as "the Ozark Basket Weavers", located on the left (west) side of the road, here the baskets were strung on wires next to the highway. The town consisted of "drab, listing shacks". The baskets were woven with cane and hickory splits and handmade. These were made by farmers who abandoned their plots and moved to Route 66 to sell their handicrafts.
In his 1946 "A Guide Book to Highway 66" Jack DeVere Rittenhouse also mentioned it: It was one mile south (west) of Powellville and described as follows: "Clementine. Hardly a town, but chiefly devoted to small roadside stands selling handmade hickory baskets and turned wood objects made by native craftsmen" they were said to be the best in the region. He also added that the divided highway began here (the four lane road westwards to Ft. Wood).
The "village" is barely a few scattered houses. The old Fisher's Filling Station from 1935 which was on the south (eastern) side of the road is gone. It was here just north of the station that Thompson and the Childers had a shop (on the western side of the higway) that sold baskets. They also had some cabins on their site.
The only Route 66 landmark that survived is Bennett’s Catfish Cafe:
Bennett's Catfish Café
24899 Clementine South Outer Rd. just north of Exit 169 on the eastern side of I-44.
It was also known as Surplus City. Built in 1948 in the typical Ozark "giraffe rock" style, it was a café once, part of which burned in 1969.
It originally opened in Doolittle in 1942 and was run by Paul and Gladys Bennett. The year after Paul's death in 1951, Route 66 bypassed their store so Gladys moved it to this new location where she operated it until 1966. At that time I-44 cut off the old U.S. 66 again, so she closed it.
Tours & Itineraries
Head west to drive the old road through Hooker Cut and Devil's Elbow.
Old Route 66 in Clementine
From Clementine to Hooker
The original trail along the divide in the Ozarks was most likely made by deer and buffalo, and much later used by the Indians. The first trappers and explorers used it too and named it after the Osage Natives: the "Great Osage Trail". During the Civil war period (1860s), a telegraph line was laid from St. Louis MO to Ft. Smith in Arkansas, winding near Clementine.
During the 1900s cars became more common in the Ozarks but the earth tracks used by carts were unsuitable for cars. This led to the creation of the Inter-Ozarks Highway Association which lobbied for better highways and finally obtained the creation of Missouri State Highway 14 which ran from St. Louis, through Clementine and into Springfield. In 1926 Route 66 was aligned along it -by then it was a gravel surfaced road.
Old Route 66: 1926-1942 Alignment in Clementine
The original alignment north of Clementine towards Powellville and Arlington is shown in the Map above in Pale Blue. South of the town it is buried under the freeway's roadbed by Exit 169, so we show it in Black. You have to take the Green route to link the original alignments north and south of Clementine, which is shown in Pale Blue as it approaches eastern Hooker. Then it is shown in Blue through Hooker and Devil's Elbow.
1943 Alignment South of Clementine
It is described in The 1943 Four Lane Highway through Hooker Cut, and shown in Pale Blue through Hooker and Grandview.
1950s US 66
By 1951 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. It extended the 1943 four-lane road north from the eastern tip of Hooker (shown in Black in the map) to Clementine, and from there, northwards, two new lanes, eastbound were built towards Powellville. The original road became the westbound lanes, and are shown in Pale Blue north, towards Powellville, the eastbound ones ran separately in a straighter course, and are now under I-44. Both met and ran together as a four lane highway just south of Powellville, but split again after Goodall Cemetery. See our Route 66 in Jerome for information on the old road north of Goodall.
1960s US 66
In 1967 a new set of westbound lanes were added to the freeway next to the 1950s eastbound ones. They were built from a point just south of Powellville into Clementine. And the former westbound lanes became the North Outer Road -in other words the original Route 66 became again a two lane higway named N. Outer Rd.
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).
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 las segment of the old Route 66 to be bypassed was the section in Powellville, in 1981.
> > See the previous segment Powellville to Clementine (east)
> > See the next segment Hooker to Devil's Elbow (west)
Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.
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.