About Jerome Missouri
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 694 ft (212 m). Population n⁄a (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Jerome, or better said, the part of Jerome along Old Route 66 consists of some scattered remains of US 66 resorts. The town itself is not on Route 66, it is about 1 mile west of it, on the western side of the Gasconade River. It is located in Phelps County, in the Ozarks of central Missouri. (Map of Jerome).
Trail of Tears memorial in Jerome, Missouri
History of Jerome
Check our page with the History of Rolla and Phelps County to learn about its early history.
The state legislature created the county in 1857 and named it after John S. Phelps (1814-1866) congressman and state governor (1876).
The "Wire Road" was built in the 1860s next to the telegraph line that linked St. Louis with Fort Smith in Arkansas and passed close to what would become Jerome. In 1867, the St. Louis and San Francisco railroad built a line west of Rolla through Arlington and across the Gasconade River into Jerome.
A town was platted around the station and initially named "Fremont" by W. Greeley (who was directed by General John Fremont). But later, when settled by Catholics, it became Jerome.
The name: Jerome
Saint Jerome (Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus); ca347 – 420 AD. Priest, confessor and theologian born on what is the border of Italy and Croatia in Emona. He translated the Bible into Latin.
It was a summer resort on the river and remained an unincorporated community until today, facing Arlington.
In the 1910s, State Highway 14 was created because cars had become more popular and required better roads. The highway crossed the Little Piney River next to Arlington over a bridge built in 1923. MO-14 was made part of U.S. 66 in 1926 and paved by 1931. Route 66 does not go through Jerome itself, only a fringe of the village's southeastern unpopulated area.
During the early 1950s, Route 66 was upgraded into a four-lane freeway and later it was improved to Interstate standards this impacted on the business that catered to traffic on the older alignment.
Where to Lodge in Jerome, Missouri
Accommodation and hotels near Jerome...
> > Book your hotel in neighboring Rolla
More Lodging near Jerome along Route 66
Motels and Hotels close to Jerome
Hotels, Westwards in Missouri
- 14 miles St. Robert
- 15 miles Waynesville
- 49 miles Lebanon
- 79 miles Marshfield
- 92 miles Strafford
- 101 miles Springfield
- 162 miles Carthage
- 180 miles Joplin
Heading West... Hotels & Motels in Kansas...
- 195 miles Baxter Springs
Further West... Hotels & Motels on Route 66 in Oklahoma...
Heading East in Missouri, more accommodation
- 14 miles Rolla
- 24 miles Saint James
- 36 miles Cuba
- 53 miles Sullivan
- 71 miles Saint Clair
- 81 miles Villa Ridge
- 87 miles Pacific
- 94 miles Eureka
- 122 miles St. Louis
Hotels further East, in Illinois
>> Check out the RV campgrounds in neighboring Rolla
Weather in Jerome
Jerome has warm summers: the average summer high (Jul) is 88°F (31.2°C), while the average low in 67°F (19.2°C). Winters are cool: the (Jan) average high is 42°F (5.6°C) and the average low is 20°F (-7°C), below freezing .
Rainfall is around 44.5 in (1.131 mm) yearly and snowfall averages 9 in. (23 cm), falling from Dec. to Mar.
Jerome is in the "Tornado Alley" and Phelps County, Missouri has around 8 tornado hits per year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Jerome
Get to Jerome along historic Route 66 and Interstate I-44 that links it with Waynesville, Lebanon, Springfield and Carthage in the west and with Rolla, Cuba and St. Louis in the east.
Map of Route 66 through Jerome Missouri
Display Jerome Route 66 Map
Click Map will appear below
Below is the color key for Route 66’s alignment in Jerome:
(for the other parts of Missouri, check the color key in the corresponding city's web page)
Pale Blue is the original 1926 to 1950s Route 66. (in Black the segments that no longer exist, razed by later alignments).
Route 66's alignment in Missouri: the Historic Route 66 through Jerome
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 Jerome
Landmarks and Places to See
Ruins in the forest
Jerome and its Route 66 attractions
The southeastern fringe of Jerome lies on the Old Route 66, there you can see the following attractions: the remains of once popular Stony Dell Resort and the Happy Hill Cafe and Larry Baggett's Trail of Tears Memorial.
Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Jerome
The 1941 book, "Missouri, a guide to the "Show Me" state" published by the WPA tells us that 0.5 mi west of Arlington was "... County D, a graveled road... crossing the clear, gravelly Gascoade River to Jerome... a sprawling fishing resort". Followed 0.3 mi. west by "STONY DELL (Cabins, picnicking, swimming)... typical of many privately operated resorts that have sprung up beside Ozark Highways".
"A Guide Book to Highway 66" published in 1946 by Jack DeVere Rittenhouse also tells us that 1 mile west of Arlington was: "STONY DELL, a popular Ozark resort, has several stone buildings, including a gas station and the office of its Justice of Peace. Store and several cabins, also a swimming pool" it was followed by a 1 mile-long climb and after another mile, a "Cafe and a few cabins".
Now only ruins remain of these buildings, they died when Route 66 was replaced by a faster moving freeway in the 1950s and by the realignment of I-44 after 1967:
A drive through Jerome on Route 66
Leave I-44 at Exit 172, and take a right along N. Outer Rd. drive 0.4 miles to visit Stony Dell. Map with directions.
Route 66 (Hwy. D) mile marker 172, Jerome. Location map.
Layout of Stony Dell resort in Jerome on Route 66. A. Whittall
As mentioned above, even in 1946 Stony Dell was a popular resort. It was built next to an artesian well that provided fresh water for its pools (it was also bottled and sold at the resort's gift shop.
Apart from the swimming pool, there was dancing, tennis, and outdoor activities like fishing and boating. The site had a restaurant, service station, bus stop, and even a Justice of the Peace.
It is located on a hillside on both sides of Route 66, but only those on the western side have survived, those to the east, which included the swimming pool and park were razed when I-44 was built in 1966-67.
George Prewett and his son Vernon owned and ran the place in the 1930s, during its heyday. And from 1954 to -1967 by Fred Widener, but by the 1960s it was already ageing. Traffic still drove by, but its best days had passed. I-44's realignment in 1967 doomed it.
The remains of Bear's Den at Stony Dell Resort in Jerome on Route 66. Click on image to enlarge
The following buildings survived (see the Stony Dell layout sketch above)
- Stonydell Bus Station
- Bear's Den or Bushwhacker
- Stonydell Cabins - Arlington Schoolhouse
Stonydell Bus Station or Granny's Vittles
Street View. The building is a wood frame with stucco; stone walls and gabled roof with concrete stoop along its facade. There was a fish pond on its western tip. It was built in two phases ca 1935. It served as a restaurant, curio shop and also as a Trailways bus station during the 1930s. It is the westernmost building in the complex.
Stonydelll Bushwacker's or Bear Den
Street View. This building combined two separate buildings under one single roof. Built with a wood frame and gabled roof it has a full porch overhang. It dates back to 1935. It is shown in the image above.
Stony Dell in a vintage postcard in Jerome, Missouri
Stonydell Cabins, Arlington Schoolhouse
Street View. Wood frame and log buildings with tin gabled roofs. Also built ca. 1935. There are four cabins in poor condition, facing a grassy lot. They run perpendicular to US 66 with trees behind them. The largest building is said to be Arlington's school.
Turn around and Head west towards Exit 172, and just ahead, to your right is a Former Café:
Happy Hill Cafe
On Rte 66 (Hwy.D), 0.2 mi. west of Stonydell, Jerome (Location Map).
It is pictured below:
Remains of Happy Hill Café in Jerome, Missouri
Also known as the "Happy Hill Restaurant" and much later as the "Honey & Hot Biscuit Cafe". It is a long and narrow building in very poor shape. It has a gabled roof and is built into a hillside ca. 1945. it served as a rstaurant and served those visiting Stonydell. Ruth Laws owned it in the 1950s.
Next to it is the Larry Baggett Trail of Tears Memorial:
Larry Baggett Trail of Tears Memorial
>On Rte 66 (Hwy.D), 0.3 mi. of Stony Dell. Location Map.
Some History on the Trail of Tears
The Indian Removal Act of 1830, signed by President Andrew Jackson defined the fate of five Indian Nations: The Seminole, Creek, Choctaw, Cherokee and Chickasaw. They were forced to relocate from their territories in the east to a new home in the "Indian Territory" (which later became Oklahoma) where they had been assigned reservations.
This forced migration with little support caused the death of thousands due to illness and starvation. The route these ill-fated Indians followed is now known as the "Trail of Tears".
The worst hit were the Cherokee who had contested the measure in court. But in 1838 they too had to march west and suffered the trek.
The Trail is protected by the National Park Service, and you can Read More at the NPS website.
Larry Baggett (1925 -2003 ) purchased a plot of land on Route 66 to build a campsite but he ended up building his tribute to the Trail of Tears. Today, to your right is a statue of Baggett; there are many stone walls and rock gardens and a rough rock archway with the sign that reads "Trail of Tears", which is pictured here, at the top of this page.
This marks the end of the tour through Jerome.
Tours & Itineraries
Old Route 66 in Jerome
From Jerome to Powellville
At one time an Indian trail named by explorers and trappers as the "Great Osage Trail" (after the Osage Indians) was the only track in the area. Later a road was built along it to service the military telegraph line in the 1860s, it later became the main road between Springfield and St. Louis.
During the 1910s cars became more common in the Ozarks, but the dirt roads were in terrible conditions. The Inter-Ozarks Highway Association lobbied for better roads and managed to get Missouri State Highway 14 created. It ran from St. Louis, through the outskirts of Jerome all the way to Springfield. It had a steel bridge built in 1923 across the railroad in Arlington and the Little Piney River next to it. In 1926 Route 66 was aligned along it. It was in those days a gravel surfaced road.
Old Route 66: 1926-1950s Alignment in Jerome
The original of Route 66 alignment is shown in the Map above in Pale Blue (the sections marked in Black are those which no longer exist, after the different realignments of the Highway over the years). But originally it was a regular two-lane highway, paved by 1931.
A 1951 map by USGS of Route 66 in Arlington and Jerome MO , by the USGS
1950s: Four Lane Freeway
In 1954 a new road, with two lanes was built north from Clementine, through Powellville and Jerome. These became the new Eastbound lanes south of the Little Piney River. They crossed it using the 1923 bridge and then continued north through Arlington along the old 1926 alignment into Newburg (the old alignment had become the eastbound lanes. New westbound lanes were built next to the old road and crossed the Little Piney using a brand new bridge. South of Arlington, it linked with the old Route 66, which became the new westbound lanes through Jerome.
See the 1951 USGS map: The new lanes are marked with red arrows and the old road is marked with blue arrows.
1966 New roadbed
Beginning in 1967 the old US-66 ⁄ I-44 Freeway was improved again. The winding westbound lanes (which were the original 1926 Route 66) running through Jerome were inadequate. So, a new set of westbound lanes, straighter and safer, were built between Newburg and Powellville, through Arlington and Jerome.
The new lanes bypassed the former ones (the old 1926 alignment) which became the frontage road (N. Outer Rd.) in Jerome. The 1923 bridge was replaced by a new one in 1926 and the old eastbound lanes of Route 66 north of Arlington were also replaced by the fomer westbound ones.
Interactive Map of US 66 from Jerome to Newburg (1926 to 1966)
See how the road and its alignments evolved over time....
Check out our interactive Jerome to Newburg alignments Map from 1926 to 1966.
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 next to Jerome: in Powellville (1981).
> > See the previous segment Arlington to Jerome (east)
> > Check all the Jerome to Newburg alignments (1926 to 1966)
> > See the next segment Powellville to Clementine (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.