Route 66 in the Ozarks
Index to this page
- About Phillipsburg
- Hotels close to Phillipsburg
- Map of US 66
- What to see and do in Phillipsburg
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About Phillipsburg Missouri
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 1,411 ft (430 m). Population 202 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Phillipsburg is small village in southwestern Laclede County, in south central Missouri.
History of Phillipsburg
Read about the region's history in our Lebanon page (County seat, north of Phillipsburg).
Laclede County was established in 1849 and was named after Pierre Laclède, who founded St. Louis. The South Pacific Railroad surveyed the area and built the railway, setting up a station there. A post office opened in 1871 and was named Phillipsburg.
The name: Phillipsburg
Named after a local merchant, Rufus Phillips it combines his surname with "burg": town, village.
The surname "Phillips" comes from "Phillip", a Greek word "Philippos" (from "philein": to love, and "hippos": horse)
The main road from St. Louis to Sprignfield passed near the town (Wire Road), and many years later it became Route 66 (created in 1926) which ran 0.4 miles west of the railway station. The traffic along the road was served by gas stations and cafes ran by the locals. In the early 1950s the highway was realigned and widened into a four lane expressway that bypassed the village completely.
Bigfoot sighting in Phillipsburg
The mythical Bigfoot (also known as Sasquatch), the ape-man was reported here during Christmas 2014. Does this simian creature live in the forests near Route 66? Read the Bigfoot sighting article.
The Wire Road & Route 66
Rittenhouse mentions the "Wire Road" in his 1946 book on Route 66, named so "... because the military telegraph line which ran along it..." in his time, some remains of the old poles remained standing.
The original trail along the divide in the Ozarks was probably created by roaming buffalo. Later the natives used it and after them the trappers and explorers, who named it the "Great Osage Trail" (after the Osage natives). During the Civil war period, a telegraph line was laid from St. Louis Missouri to Fort Smith in Arkansas and here it overlaps old Route 66. From Lebanon to Phillipsburg, to the west, the telegraph drifted away from Route 66.
The old "Wire Road" kept its name even after the line was removed.
Find your Hotel near Phillipsburg MO
There are no hotels in this town, but there are plenty of logding options nearby, in neighboring Marshfield.
> > Book your hotel in Marshfield
More accommodation close to Phillipsburg along U.S. 66
Below we list towns along the Mother Road with lodging options. Click on any of the links to find your accommodation in each of these towns.
Hotels West, in Missouri
- 18 mi. Marshfield
- 31 mi. Strafford
- 43 mi. Springfield
- 103 mi. Carthage
- 118 mi. Joplin
- 135 mi. Baxter Springs
- 151 mi. Miami
- 167 mi. Afton
- 182 mi. Vinita
- 219 mi. Claremore
- 229 mi. Catoosa
- 242 mi. Tulsa
Heading East in Missouri, more accommodation
- 10 mi. Lebanon
- 43 mi. Waynesville
- 47 mi. Saint Robert
- 73 mi. Rolla
- 84 mi. Saint James
- 98 mi. Cuba
- 116 mi. Sullivan
- 131 mi. Saint Clair
- 143 mi. Villa Ridge
- 149 mi. Pacific
- 159 mi. Eureka
- 177 mi. St. Louis
>> Check out the RV campground in Phillipsburg
Weather in Phillipsburg
Location of Phillipsburg on U.S. Hwy. 66
Phillipsburg has marked seasons: The summer (Jul) average high is 88°F (31.2°C) and the average low is 67°F (19.2°C). The winter (Jan) average high is 42°F (5.6°C) with a below freezing average low of 21°F (-6°C).
Rainfall averages 45.3 in (1151 mm) yeary fairly stable across the year. snowfall is around 9 in. (23 cm), and falls between Dec. and Mar.
Phillipsburg 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 Phillipsburg
You can reach Phillipsburg along 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.
Route 66 map in Phillipsburg
Route 66 in Phillipsburg
Route 66 Map and its alignment
The highway coming from Lebanon and Caffeyville reaches Phillipsburg, where it is cut by I-44 (black line in map). It continues on the south side of the freeway after what is now Exit 118. See this map into town.
The original 1926-53 Route 66 bypassed the "downtown" area of Phillipsburg, and headed west along what is now the freeway's South Frontage Road (County Rd. CC) into Conway as shown in this Map into Conway.
In the early 1950s the highway was realigned along a 4-lane highway that is now beneath the roadway of I-44. This led to a realignment of the roads and streets, and also Route 66. Further down we describe this Route 66 1950s realignment with another map.
The alignment in Phillipsburg
Visit our pages, with old maps and plenty of information about US 66's alignments.
- Springfield to Joplin (next)
- Rolla to Springfield (Phillipsburg's)
- Gray Summit to Rolla (previous)
Route 66 Road Trip: Sights in Phillipsburg
Places to See along Route 66 in the Ozarks
Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Phillipsburg
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse published his "A Guide Book to Highway 66" in 1946 but in it, he does not mention Phillipsburg, instead, after Caffeyville he does tell us about "Gas and Cabins" 1 mile north of Phillipsburg, which must surely be the
Carter & Lawson’s Underpass Cafe and Service
Station. He also mentions, 2 miles north, "Gas and Cabins" that must be the old Hi-Lite Cabin Court and station.
One mile west is a "Roadside park [to the left], with tables and fireplaces for picnicking" this is the Route 66 Roadside Park, with a "Gas station nearby" (Twin Oaks?).
Tour the route 66 landmarks in Phillipsburg
We will tour the area from east to west, driving from Caffeyville towards Phillipsburg and then westwards to Conway.
The tour begins at the point where the original 1926-53 Route 66 reappears on the North side of I-44 (see this map of Route 66 in Cafeyville
the alignment is maked with a Blue line) after going through Caffeyville.
Drive west for 0.4 mi. and to your left is an old tourist cabin site.
Former Hi-Lite Cabin Court
The cabin court was built in 1932 by Lee Fenton. Later T.L Greear and his son operated it (1948). There was a store and an old Phillips 66 gas station on the property.
They were mentioned by Rittenhouse as being 1 mi. west of Cafferyville ("Gas and Cabins.")
Some of the buildings have been torn down. The gas station (?) shown in the image below in 2014, by 2019 had been torn down.
A couple of stone cabins have survived (picture above, red arrow). Next door, at 17232 Highway W. is an antique shop with a nicely decorated store, licence plates add a touch of color to the building's facade. See its picture below.
Meramec Caves Barns Signs
Drive west for 2.6 mi., to your right you will spot two barns painted with Meramec Caverns advertisements. This eye-catching way to promote the caverns was the brainchild of Lester B. Dill, who also 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. There is another barn further west (see Conway's barn) and also in Chandler Oklahoma.
Meramec Caverns are located on Route 66 further east, near Stanton MO, they are a vast complex spanning 4.6 miles of caves. Read all about the Meramec Caverns in our Stanton page.
The Caverns are one of the main attractions on US Highway 66. Over 150,000 tourists visit them every year.
Frisco Railroad Underpass
Just ahead is the "underpass" at the BNSF railroad; when it was built, it carried the Frisco Railroad across Route 66 avoiding a dangerous grade crossing.
It was known as the "subway", a narrow and low clearance underpass (only 13’ 5"). The story goes that many trucks had to let air out of their tires to be able to pass under it.
Just ahead, is the appropriately named "Underpass Café".
Carter & Lawson’s Underpass Cafe and Service Station
Just ahead, after the uderpass is "Carter & Lawson’s Underpass Cafe and Service Station". Edward Lawson and O. E. Carter opened this gas station in 1941. They chose a spot just past the Frisco railway overpass. Them they added a café which can still be seen and is pictured below in the "Then and Now" sequence.
One half mile ahead is the junction with Pine St. located at the freeway's Exit 118. This is where you have to cross the interstate because I-44 cuts off Route 66 further west. But first drive to the "end" of Route 66 on the norhtern side of the freeway to see the remains of some classic landmarks. So keep straight along State Hwy W. Just ahead (0.3 mi), to your right is an old gas station.
Stan Adams service station
To your right, the old gravel drive, is Stan Adams station that opened in 1950-51, Don Robinson and his father owned it. At one time it was a Skelly. In the 1990s it was the clubhouse of a golf course. It has a single bay garage and a small office, now roofless, faces what used to be Route 66. Two entrances on the wall behind the office mark the rest rooms.
Just ahead is the site of "Midway Cafe", it has changed a lot recently.
Midway Cafe and Standard Station
There was a Skelly gas station here, together with a campground called "Midway Camp", named that way because it was the midpoint between Lebanon and Marshfield. It belonged to Howard Whitten. In 1929 John and Blanche Shank bought it, added a cafe and five cabins, three of them with locked garages. The cabins were lined up next to the filling station along Route 66 and two of them have survived on the western tip of the property as houses. See the "Then and Now" images below.
1920s postcard Midway Camp. Credits
Route 66 1950s realignment
Until the 1950s Birch Rd met US 66 and Co. Rd. A at a junction next to Midway Camp, but, the new four-lane Route 66 and its later upgrade to divided highway with no grade crosssings altered the roads and streets on the western side of Phillipsburg. As you can see in the map below, the segments marked in Red were eliminated, and new roads (Green) were built to reconnect both sides of the freeway. The Blue star marks the spot where Midway Camp once stood.
Ed and Rita Hamilton managed the property and converted it into Midway Motel in the 1950s, with a Standard station. There was a building there until recently but it has been torn down (red arrow). Below is another "Then and Now" set of pictures.
1950s postcard Midway Motel. Credits
Ole 66 Bins in Phillipsburg. Credits
In May 2020, Andy and Brandy Triplett added two grain bins to the property and refurbished them into unique overnight accommodations with a Route 66 theme. They rent them on airbnb.
Retrace your steps and head back to the overpass at Pine St. cross to the eastern side of the freeway. To your left is "The largest gift shop in the world".
Proclaimed as "World's largest gift store" this is an example US 66 Americana next to Route 66. Candy kitchen with chocolate and homemade fudge.
Head towards Phillipsburg, you can visit the downtown district, two blocks east along Pine St.
Old Phillipsburg General Store
On NW corner of Pine St. and N. Front St. This two-story brick building is next to where the railway depot was located.
It was built around 1880. It was also the lodge hall of the I.O.O.F. (The Independent Order of Odd Fellows), a secret society without any political or sectarian orientation. It was founded by Thomas Wildey in Baltimore, USA in 1819.
There is a "Ghost sign" of an ancient soda water advertisement on its eastern facade, and at the northeastern tip of the old building the former offices of the "Farmers State Bank" that opened in 1906 and closed during the Crash of 1929 next to the sign.
Head back to Pine and "Route 66". Just ahead, to your left are the ruins of the old school gymnasium built in 1937 and destroyed by a fire in 1985 (street view).
Ahead the road turns to the left when it reaches the freeway, and rejoins the original alignment of Route 66, now on the southern side of I-44.
Timber Hill service station
To your left, you will see a long building with two garage doors. It also has the former office to the right and one garage door facing south. In front of the office is the outline of the concrete gas-pumps foundation.
Head 0.2 mi. further west to see the "Old Roadside Park" mentioned by Rittenhouse in 1946.
Title Route 66 Roadside Park
0.2 mi. west of the service station. To your left. This former roadside according to Rittenhouse had tables and fireplaces for picnicking. In the late 1950s as you can see in the following map published in 1957, it was still a park (marked by a green pine tree icon), nowadays only a concrete marker remains; it mentions that the land was donated by Maud G. Snyder for that purpose.
Across the highway, almost facing the park, is another cabins and gas station complex.
Twin Oaks cabins and Texaco
This Texaco gas station and cabins complex was built in 1930. The pumps area under the hipped roof of the gas station was enclosed (red arrow). It is a typical craftsman-style gas station of that period. The steel pole of the station's sign stands on the left side of the canopy. Behind it, to the left are some of the old cabins (street view). The "tower" was built to house and conceal the water tank.
Top O' Th' Ozarks Final site
The original Top O' Th' Ozarks was a gas station and Cafe located in Conway, it burned down in 1950 and a "new" cafe and station with the same name was built further east, here in Phillipsburg.
It was run by Raymond Eaton. See the black and white 1950s picture of this "last" building. It was located on the right side of the highway. This is the current street view of the site.
Ahead (0.2 mi) to your left is the site (street view) of "Kenneth Alexander's Ice Cream Shop", a gray single-story gable roof building.
Your city tour of Phillipsburg ends here. You can continue your Route 66 road trip by heading west to visit Conway.
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> > Book your hotel in Marshfield
Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66