About Pacific Missouri
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 466 ft (142 m). Population 7,002 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Pacific is a town located on the northwestern tip of Franklin County, on the 1932-1977 alignment of Route 66 in the central-eastern Missouri. (Map of Pacific).
Historic Red Cedar Inn, Route 66 in Pacific Missouri
History of Pacific
For a general history of the area (Franklin County) visit our St. Clair History. First settled in 1820, a covered bridge was built over the Meramec River in 1838, south of where present Pacific is located (destroyed by a flood in 1895).
It was platted in 1852 and named "Franklin" after the county, but there already was a town with that name in Howard County so it changed to Pacific when it incorporated in 1859. Post office opened in 1854. During the Civil War, Confederate troops led by Gen. Price fought and lost against Union forces, and had to retreat (1864).
The Name: Pacific
After the Missouri-Pacific Railroad or MoPac which was one of the first railroads in the United States west of the Mississippi River, laying its tracks in 1851 and reaching Kansas City in 1865. Its original goal was to reach the Pacific Ocean, hence its name.
The town thrived on silica mining and it was also a main stop on both the "Frisco" railroad (towards Springfield) and the MoPac.
The new alignment for Route 66 was built through Pacific and in 1933 the paved highway linked it with St. Louis in the East and Villa Ridge in the West. Route 50 was realigned on the original 1926-32 alignment of Route 66. And many cafes, motels and gas stations opened in town to cater to the travelers.
Where to Lodge in Pacific, Missouri
Accommodation and hotels in Pacific
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Heading West... Hotels & Motels in Kansas...
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Heading East in Missouri, more accommodation
Hotels further East, in Illinois
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>> Check out the nearby RV campground in Pacific
Weather in Pacific
Pacific has well defined seasons, because it combines wet continental and humid subtropical climates.
The winter (Jan), the average high is around 39°F (4°C) and the aveage low is a freezing 21.8°F (-5.7°C). The summer (Jul) average high is 88°F (31°C) with an average low of 68°F (20°C). Rainfall averages 43 in. (1.092 mm) yearly and takes place during some 90 days each year. There are around 205 sunny days yearly. Snowfall is around 12.8 in. (32.5 cm), which falls from Dec. to Mar.
Pacific is located in Missouri's "Tornado Alley" and Franklin County is struck by some 7 tornados every year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Pacific
Get there driving historic Route 66 and then MO-100, and also via Interstate I-44 that links it with St. Clair, Cuba, Rolla and Springfield to the west and with Eureka and St. Louis in the east. US 63 runs through Rolla to the west and US 50 passes just to the north of the town (with I-44).
Map of Route 66 through Pacific
Static Map showing Route 66 alignment through Pacific MO - CLICK ON MAP TO ENLARGE
You can always check out our Route 66 Map of Missouri, with the complete alignment and all the towns.
Color Key to the Map of Route 66 in Pacific is:
Orange marks the 1926 to 1932 alignment of Route 66 from St. Louis to Gray Summit, north of Pacific.
Pale Blue, west of neighboring Gray Summit, it marks the 1926 - 1953 US 66, and east of it, through Pacific, it is the 1932 to 1953 Route 66 that bypassed the previous Orange alignment located north of it.
A Map showing Pacific
Route 66's alignment in Missouri: the Historic Route 66 through Pacific
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 Pacific
Landmarks and Places to See
Under sandstone bluffs
Pacific and its Route 66 attractions
Pacific has many Route 66 attractions: Motels: Al-Pac Motel and Beacon Motel (don't miss the
Restaurants and diners: the historic Red Cedar Inn, Monroes Cafe and Cave Cafe.
Classic sights: Jensen Point Overlook and Blackburn Park on its Sandstone Bluffs. The Route 66 Model Railroad Museum and the Historic Opera House.
Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Pacific
The WPA travel guide "Missouri, a guide to the "Show Me" state" published in 1941 mentions the origin of its name, and the importance of silica mining to the local economy.
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse in his "A Guide Book to Highway 66" published in 1946 wrote: "Pacific... gas; garage; stores." He also added that the "Pioneer Silica Products Co" had a mine producing "silica for fine glassware.
Some lost icons
The Mule Tobacco Barn was once located in Pacific, but relocated to Rolla when the Freeway bypassed the shop. Parrets restaurant is also gone.
Sights in Pacific
Begin you tour on the eastern side of Pacific, on Old Route 66 (here it is BL-44). This is the Tour's map with directions. To your right, on the north side of the highway is a classic 1940s motel:
18652 Historic Rte 66, Pacific. Location map.
Dating back to 1942, the motel was located on a straight stretch of US 66 east of Pacific and west of Allenton. It had an attractive arrow-shaped sign with white letters on a red background, but now its gone. The main building has changed, but has kept some of its 1970s appearance. However, back in the 1940s and 50s it consisted of a one-floor building which later expanded into the present building. It advertised itself as "The Alpac home of great food HWY.66 - 3 mi east of Pacific, MO - Jean and Fred Miller". Later it became the Al-Pac Restaurant, Lodge and Motel as you can see in this 1950s postcard.
Al-Pac Motel in Pacific, Missouri
Al-Pac Motel in Pacific, Missouri
Just 0.15 mi. west is a concrete block building with two bays on your right, on the north side of the road, it is surely a Service Station; this is its Street View. Now go west and the highway will curve to the west, becoming E Osage St. as it meets the Meramec River. Here, to your right, in eastern Pacific, on the north side of the road is the Historic Red Cedar, 1.8 mi. west of Al-Pac:
Red Cedar Inn
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
1047 East Osage St.
Two brothers, James and "Bill" Smith owned it. They had been bootleggers, selling their moonshine liquor but opened the Red Cedar Inn opened in 1933 just when Prohibition ended; it served plenty of booze. They added a restaurant in 1935. And also sold Mobile Gas. It is Pictured above at the top of this page
It was built by Dutch Wehrle from Eureka in peeled cedar posts from their farm in Villa Ridge, with wide white chinking between them the idea was to create an atmosphere of Missouri pioneer days. The bricks were made in Pacific. James Smith Jr. and his wife, and then his son (grandson of the original owner) ran it until 1972, when it closed until 1987, but closed again in 2005, permanently.
Next to it, 360 feet away, also on your right is the parking lot for those who want to walk up to Jensen Point Overlook on the sandstone bluff:
This Scenic Overlook (This is a Street View on the upper central part of the image) is a small limestone building with a hipped pyramidal roof. It sits on the top of a bluff overlooking Route 66 and Pacific. It can be reached by two paths coming from the paved parking lot next to the highway at the base of th hill. Stone steps lead to it. It closed in 1991 and was acquired by the city of Pacific in 2014, restored and reopened to the public in 2016.
Built in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps it was part of the Henry Shaw Gardenway, a beautification project of the National Park Service and the Missouri State Highway Commission. Little remains of it (this overlook, and the Allenton Bus Shelter, now in Gray Summit). This overlook was dedicated to Lars Peter Jenen, the first president of the Henry Shaw Gardenway Association and manger of the Shaw Arboretum.
Sandstone Bluffs in Pacific Missouri
Sandstone Bluff in Pacific, Route 66, Missouri
Sand Mountain is the most prominent element in the local topography. The front of the cliff was sheared away by the Missoury Highway Department in the early 1920s and widened in 1932 to make space for Route 66.
They consist of St. Peter sandstone capped by Joachim dolomite. They have been tunnelled with mines -unsafe to go inside though- to obtain sand (silica) for glass making. Mining does continue on the northeast side of town (U.S. Silica Company started mining here in 1924) in open pit mine which yields 98.8% whole grain silica sand used in flat glass, glass containers and in many other industrial uses.
The road runs next to the bluffs and the river with a winding course, passes the mine and mineral silos of US Silica Co., and reaches the Beacon Car Wash (0.6 mi. west of Red Cedar):
Neon sign of the old Beacon Motel, Route 66, Pacific Missouri. Click on image for street view
Started as "Beacon Court" in 1946, it closed in 1980, it was demolished and only the sign survives, at this car wash. It advertised as "16 Modern, Inviting, Tastefully Decorated Cottages... Automatic Hot Water Heat, FREE Television... Restaurant next Door. You can see what it looked like in this Vintage postacard.
Beacon Neon Sign
Eye catching, it was built on an old windmill tower obtained from a farm. It had a flashing light ("beacon") on its top and a vertical layout with yellow letters on a blue backgroung with its name.
Keep on straight for 0.3 mi., and to your right is an Old service station:
Gas station from the 1940s, Pacific. NCPTT.
Click on image for street view
SW corner of Neosho St. and E. Osage St. (Map showing location).
This is a stone building with a gabled roof and a canopy projecting over the area where the pumps once stood. Now it is closed. Maybe dates back to the 1940s. See its photo above.
Continue west for 0.1 mi. and on your right is a Classic Diner:
DJ's Cafe or Monroe Diner
412 E Osage St.
It was built around 1950 as a prefabricated galvanized steel quonset hut (invented by the US during WW II) it has a false-front facade with permastone facing. It was named after its owners, Delisa and Joye. Later it became Monroe Diner, now it is closed.
Head west, and after 0.4 mi. the bluffs approach the road (they were cut away when the highway was built in the 1920s) here are several attractions:
At the foot of the bluff, to your left, on the south side of US 66 is an old cafe and filling station:
304 W. Osage
Named after the caves that were used to mine silica from the bluffs. It is directly facing them. Built ca. 1928 by Jim Dailey, it was owned by Ralph Martin from 1943 onwards. The Ozark Rock building with a two bay garage had four pumps of Gulf gasoline in front of it. It was also known as Dittmer Motor, Landmark Motor Company and Cave Station and there was a motel next door, which has gone. It is pictured above.
You can visit a park right there, on the top of the bluff:
On Walnut St. 0.1 mi. from US 66 (take a right on N 2nd St.) Map with directions.
Free admission and parking. Open year round. It has a Civil War Replica Canon and a good view of the town from the top of the bluff.
Turn back and head east, to N. First St. take a right and head towards the downtown area. Here are two intesting attractions:
Route 66 Model Railroad Museum
First and St. Louis St.
It is on the SE corner of the junction. Free admission to see model railroads, more information at their website.
Historic Opera House
220 south First St. -on the NE corner of Orleans St.
The 1904 McHugh-Dailey Building had the Opera House on its third floor. Restaurant on First Floor (visit their website).
And this is the end of your city tour in Pacific Missouri.
Tours & Itineraries
Old Route 66 in Pacific
Wild animals opened the first trail through the woods along the Meramec hills, and then headed towards the southwest into the Ozark highlands thousands of years ago. Later they were used by Illinois and Osage Natives and by the French, Spanish and English explorers. During the 1850s there were cart trails linking St. Louis with Springfield, like the one crossing the Meramec River on a wood bridge. The state higway from St. Louis to Jefferson City ran along what is now MO-100 just north of Pacific and then west along what is now US-50.
With automobiles becoming popular in the 1910s, roads had to be improved, they were suitable for carts, but not for cars. The State of Missouri improved those roads and created State Higways (#14 and#100), building bridges and improving them by paving them or placing gravel on the roadbed. Route 66 was aligned along both of these highways in 1926, and was paved between St. Louis and Gray Summit -just west of Pacific- and was being paved west of Gray Summit, towards St. Clair and Stanton.
From Pacific to Gray Summit Junction
A short 4.5 mile drive along Route 66, this is its Map with Directions.
As you can see in the Map above, we have colored the different segments of the old alignment as follows: the original alignment from 1926 to 1932 from St. Louis to Gray Summit runs north of Pacific, and is shown in Orange. The original 1926 - 1950s alignment west of Pacific and the 1932 to 1950s alignment east of the town are shown in Pale Blue.
1933 Map of Route 66 from Villa Ridge to St. Louis, Missouri, notice that US 50 runs along the former 1926-32 US 66 alignment which is now MO-100 and Route 66 runs along its present course, through Pacific which is in the lower left part of the map.
1933 Map of Route 66 from Villa Ridge to St. Louis, Missouri, Missouri Highway Map Archive
1950s: Four Lane Freeway
By the early 1940s Route 66 was congested and the heavy traffic made it unsafe. Rittenhouse mentions in 1946: "From here (Gray Summit) into St. Louis, US 66 has three or more lanes.". In the early 1950 most of the original road was bypassed by a new four-lane divided dual carriageway highway which replaced the old US 66. And the 1954 USGS Map shows US66 and US50 going through town as a four lane road but narrowing to 3 lanes at the mines at its eastern tip up to Clear Creek, then it alternates as four and three lanes as it curves to the northeast. In the late 1950s US 66 was also numbered as I-44.
The state petitioned in 1962 to have the Interstate renamed as I-66 instead of I-44, but this was denied by the AASHTO because the number "66" had already been used elsewhere.
1965 New roadbed
The old four lane US-66 ⁄ I-44 Freeway was improved again in Missouri after 1965, and the old US 66 was upgraded to Interstate standards as attested by the USGS 1963 Map revised in 1969, the four lane divided I-44 carried US-66 and US-50 and bypassed the original road in Pacific. By 1972 the whole of Route 66 had been replaced by the Interstate system. In 1974 it was decided that US Hwy 66 between Joplin and Chicago be eliminated, but his was delayed until I-55 in Illinois was completely brought up to Interstate standards. In 1977 the US 66 shields and signs were removed.
> > See the previous segment Allenton to Pacific (east)
> > See the next segment Gray Summit to Villa Ridge (west)
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