About Conway Missouri
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 1,407 ft (429 m).Population 788 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Conway is small town in the southwestern corner of Laclede County, in south central Missouri. (Map of Conway).
There are Two Conway's on Route 66
The second one is located in Texas: Conway.
View of Old Service Station in Conway
History of Conway
Read about the region's history in our Lebanon page (County seat, 15 mi. north of Conway).
The name: Conway
Named after the first store keeper back in the 1870s. It is an Irish surname which was converted from different gaelic names into this English variant "Conway": such as Mac Connbhuidhe (Mac: "son" of Connbhuidhe: "Yellow Hound") or Mac Connmhaigh (son of "Conmhaigh" which meant "Head Smasher").
Laclede County was established in 1849 and was named after Pierre Laclède, the Frenchman who founded St. Louis. The town was platted in 1869 just before the arrival of the South Pacific Railroad. That same year the railroad built its station half a mail away, naming it "New Conway". The two towns merged into one. The post office opened in 1871.
There were canning factories in the area which processed tomatoes. They went out of business in the 1940s.
Route 66 was created in 1926, and passed throught the western part of the town and brought a flow of tourists which were served by the locals. When The highway was aligned to the west and widened into a four lane expressway, Marshfield focused on it and kept on making a living from travellers, as it does today with I-44.
Where to Lodge in Conway, Missouri
Lodging close to Conway: in neighboring Marshfield...
> > Book your hotel in Marshfield
More Lodging near Conway along Route 66
Motels and Hotels close to Conway
Hotels, Westwards in Missouri
Heading West... Hotels & Motels in Kansas...
- 129 mi. Baxter Springs
Further West... Hotels & Motels on Route 66 in Oklahoma...
Heading East in Missouri, more accommodation
>> Check out the RV campgrounds in Marshfield close to Conway
Weather in Conway
Conway has clearly defined seasons. Its position on the northern limit of U.S.'s humid subtropical climate gives itvery 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 Conway receives about 17 in. of snow (43 cm) every year.
Conway is located in the "Tornado Alley" and Laclede County has around 8 tornado strikes per year.
Tornado Risk:read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Conway
You can reach Conwayalong 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 through Conway Missouri
Display Conway Route 66 Map
Click Map will appear below
Below is the color key for Route 66’s alignment in Conway:
(for the other parts of Missouri, check the color key in the corresponding city's web page)
Pale Blue: The 1926 to 1953 andlater alignments of Route 66
The alignments after 1953 became part of what is now I-44.
Route 66's alignment in Missouri: the Historic Route 66 through Conway
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 Conway
Landmarks and Places to See
Small town in the Route 66 Ozarks
Conway and its Route 66 attractions
Conway is a ghost town located on the 1926 to 1953 Route 66 alignment; visit the old Conway Service Station and Ghost Sign in downtown and further afield, the Route 66 Commemorative Rest Area site of the US 66 Solar Road project. Just north of town is the famous Meramec Caves Barn Sign
Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Conway
In 1946, Jack DeVere Rittenhouse published his "A Guide Book to Highway 66" in which he mentions Conway during Route 66's heyday: "Conway. (Pop. 516)... gas; garage; cafe; few cabins). A small business district is off US 66".
He added that there was a Gas station and cafe 2 mi. west and another gas station one mile further ahead. But these have gone.
Tour the route 66 landmarks in Conway
Begin your tour at the Railroad crossing in the downtown district of Conway. At 105 W Jefferson Ave. is the Conway Senior Center, in a brick building formerly Wilkerson Bros. auto dealership with the words "Ford", "Lincoln" and "Fordson" in stained glass on its facade ( See view
The two story brick building on the left dates back to 1880.
Route 66 commemorative Rest Area, www.modot.org
Just south, along S. Main St. is the City Hall building. Notice the "ghost sign" (A ghost sign is an old hand-painted advertisment that has survived on a building for a long time and not been removed or painted over) on the wall, proclaiming "King of them all - Magnetic Soda Water in bottles 5 cents. 'Its in the water". Lebanon", Lebanon was famous for its magnetic water and even had a spa hotel in the 1890s. See view.
Head west and stop at the SE corner of Jefferson and Myrtle St.:
Vintage Gas Station
Myrtle and Jefferson St. Conway
An old unbranded service station with two old fashioned 1970s pumps, an office next to a one-bay garage. The flat canopy covers both pumps. A relic. See its Photo at the top of this page.
Tours & Itineraries near Conway
Route 66 memorial Rest Area
3.3 mi. drive. SW of town on I-44.
Drive from Conway's Downtown, west alongJefferson (State Hwy. J) to the freeway, get onto it, westbound at Exit 113 and head west, leave it at the rest area (Map with directions.
The rest stop is dedicated to historic Route 66, as you can see in this Street View, the picnic tables are place in buildings resembling classic Route 66 motels, garages, gas stations and stores. The sign in front of the main building is a virtual copy of Lebanon's Munger Moss Motel neon sign.
Solar Road, www.solarroadways.com
The Missouri Department of Transportation is implementing a pilot solar project here: they will use solar panels from Idaho based Solar Roadways that are strong enough to be used as a road surface and driven on. They are hexagonal panels which will be used on the footpaths and sidewalks during a first stage.
The power will feed the rest area and also keep the ice and snow off the walkways.
Meramec Caves Barn Sign
12555 Martingale Dr. Conway
Barn with the Meramec Caverns advert, Click on image for Street View
To your left, on the NW side of the highway is a barn which is painted with an advertisment promoting the "Meramec Caverns". It is the last one in Missouri, and there is a similar one far to the west on Route 66 in Chandler, Oklahoma.
Meramec Caverns were actively promoted by Lester B. Dill, who actually invented the bumper sticker as a means of advertising them. He erected billboards along Route 66, and also, the painted barns on a grand scale.
The 4.6 mi (7.4 km) of the cavern system are located near Stanton, Missouri; read all about the Meramec Caverns. It began to be promoted to the public as a tourist attraction in 1935 and became one of themain attractions along the old US Highway 66. Today it is visited by over 150,000 tourists every year.
Old Route 66 in Conway
Missouri State Highway 14 was built through the area in the 1910s and in 1926 it became Route 66's alignment.
Old Route 66: 1926-1953 Alignment in Conway
The original alignment is shown in the Map above in Pale Blue, and was a winding course between Strafford and Lebanon, just west of Conway's downtown area.
In 1952 the Missouri Highway Department started work to improve Route 66 to make it safer and shorter. It built a completely new road to the west of the original one that was upgraded into a four lane highway with overpasses, after 1958 it coexisted with I-44 until it was finally decertified around 1979. There was an exit close to Conway which saved it from the fate of neighboring Sampson, now a ghost town.
Detail of a 1957 Missouri DOT Map.
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, passing by Conway.
> > See this segment Lebanon to Springfield (east)
> > See the next segment Springfield to Halltown (west)
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.
Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.