About Strafford Missouri
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 1,490 ft (454 m). Population 2,358 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Strafford is a small town on Old Route 66 in western Greene County, in southwestern Missouri. (Map of Strafford).
Former Crawford Cafe in Strafford, as it appears today
Crawford cafe in Strafford MO next to Baumgartners Store ca1940s
History of Strafford
This part of southern Missouri was peopled at the end of the last Ice Age some 10,000 years ago. Later, ca.700 BC the Osage peple were expelled from their homeland on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers by the bellicose Iroquois.
In 1682 French explorers coming from Canada named the region "Louisiana" after their king Louis XIV. Napoleon sold it to the U.S. in 1803, and it became the Missouri Territory in 1812 and a state in 1821.
At that time there were Delaware and Kickapoo natives in Strafford. The Kickapoo natives were from Indiana and Illinois, but were removed west of the Mississippi River into Missouri, south of the Osage River around 1812. The Delaware natives were also moved there at that time.
The first white settler in the area was Mr. Davis in 1822, but he was killed by the Indians. Jeremiah Peterson arrived that same year, and as the land belonged to the Delaware tribe he moved elsewhere. Only after the natives were relocated in 1829 did white settlement begin. Greene County was formed in 1833 and formal land sales began in 1839; at that time the first post office opened in Walnut Forest, 2 mi. northeast of present Strafford.
The original road that linked St. Louis with Springfield passed 1.5 mi. south of the present day town and it was used by the Cherokee in their "Trail of Tears" migration to Oklahoma in the late 1830s. The telegraph linked St. Louis, Springfield and Fort Smith in Arkansas in 1859, and a road (the "Wire Road" -modern State Hwy. DD) followed it.
After the Civil War, the railroad that had already reached Rolla continued south and reached Strafford area in 1870. The town was platted by the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad in 1871 on land donated by Mrs. Sarah Lane. A post office was established and named Strafford.
The name: Strafford
One version says that the town was developed by J. Strafford from Stratford Connecticut. (notice one is spelled "ff" the other "tf").
The name comes from England where the Old English words "staithe" (landing place) and "ford" (river crossing) so it was a ford by a landing place.
As you can see in the old map of Strafford further down, the 1884 map shows the town as "Stafford" while the later map marks it as "Strafford". Somewhere along the way it lost an "r".
The town grew as a small agricultural community on the main railroad. Route 66 was aligned through town in 1926 and kept it alive during the Great Depression in the 1930s. The road would later bypass the town (1952) and become a freeway (1958). Strafford incorporated in 1961.
Where to Lodge in Strafford, Missouri
Lodging in Strafford...
> > Book your hotel in neighboring Strafford
More Lodging near Strafford along Route 66
Motels and Hotels close to Strafford
Hotels, Westwards in Missouri
Heading West... Hotels & Motels in Kansas...
- 115 miles Baxter Springs
Further West... Hotels & Motels on Route 66 in Oklahoma...
Heading East in Missouri, more accommodation
- 11 miles Marshfield
- 42 miles Lebanon
- 76 miles Waynesville
- 77 miles Saint Robert
- 105 miles Rolla
- 115 miles Saint James
- 129 miles Cuba
- 145 miles Sullivan
- 164 miles Saint Clair
- 173 miles Motels and Hotels in Villa Ridge
- 179 miles Motels and Hotels in Pacific
- 186 miles Motels and Hotels in Eureka
- 214 miles Motels and Hotels in St. Louis
>> Check out the RV campgrounds in nearby Springfield
Weather in Strafford
There are clearly defined seasons in Strafford and as it is located on the northern limint of U.S.'s humid subtropical climate, it has very wet weather in late summer.
The average summer (Jul) temperatures are: high 89°F (31.6°C) and low 68° (19.8°C); the average winter (Jan) high is 43°F (6.1°C) and low is well below freezing with 22°F (-5.3°C).
Annual rainfall is around 45.6 in. (1.160 mm), and it experiences 17 in. of snow (43 cm) yearly.
Strafford is located within the infamous "Tornado Alley" and Greene County has around 9 tornado strikes per year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Strafford
Get to Strafford via historic U.S. 66 or the I-44 freeway, both link it with Joplin in the west and with St. Louis in the east.
Map of Route 66 through Strafford Missouri
Display Strafford Route 66 Map
Click Map will appear below
Below is the color key for Route 66’s alignment in Strafford:
(for the other parts of Missouri, check the color key in the corresponding city's web page)
Blue the 1926 alignment from Strafford to Springfield and westwards.
Pale Blue: The 1926 and later alignments in Strafford.
Route 66's alignment in Missouri: the Historic Route 66 through Strafford
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 Strafford
Landmarks and Places to See
Small Town with Two Main Streets
Strafford and its Route 66 attractions
Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Strafford
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse described Route 66 during its "classic days" in his 1946 book "A Guide Book to Highway 66". In it he describes the town as follows: "STRAFFORD... McDowell garage; gas; no courts), a community whose peak has been passed, now only a suburb of Springfield.". He mentioned now gone gas stations 3 and 5 miles west of the town.
Tour the route 66 landmarks in Strafford
There are almost no remains of Route 66 in Strafford, head from east to west along Main Street and visit its Two Main Streets:
The Two Main Streets
The famous "Ripley's Believe it or Not" column, published worldwide, in the 1950s published a comment on Strafford: it was said to bet the only town in the U.S. that had two main streets and not a single alley. The fact is that its main street (Pine Street) became a secondary street when Route 66 was aligned along a vacant strip of land between the railroad and the back part of the buildings that lined Main St., thus becoming a new Main Street. Read more below in our Route 66 in Strafford section.
Go down Old Route 66 and visit the former Crawford cafe:
Old Crawford Café
119 E. Old Rt 66
Baumgartners Store and filling station was razed and now a vacant lot stands next to the former cafe. The old cafe is pictured above at the top of this page.
And continue westbound to drive the old 1926-28 alignment of Route 66 into Springfield:
Tours & Itineraries
Old Route 66 in Strafford, Missouri
Two Old Maps: USGS 1946 and (inset) 1884 of Strafford Mo.
The two maps shown in the image, show Strafford in 1884 (written "Stafford" without the "r"). You can see that it was originally platted on the south side of the railroad. The map also shows two roads -thin black lines. One north of town which was the road that ran next to the telegraph -which was built in 1959 and linked St. Louis with Fort Smith in Arkansas. This road was known as the "Wire Road" it became the main road from Springfield through Strafford to Rolla (now it is State Highway DD).
There was another road from Springfield to St. Louis, shown in the map south of Strafford and it was the main road until the 1860s. The Trail of Tears migration of Indians into Oklahoma followed this road.
Later, the town moved to the north side of the railroad (built in 1870), as shown in the USGS map of 1946.
The town's main street was Pine Street and it became part of a newer highway that ran close to the tracks, from Strafford to Rolla.
By the early 1900s the use of cars increased and expanded to the countryside. The dirt tracks used by carts were unsuitable for automobiles, as they became muddy traps after it rained. There was a public demand for better roads, and John Woodruff lobbied for them with the Inter-Ozarks Highway Association he presided. Missouri State Highway 14 was built through Strafford, and improved. Later, in 1926 Route 66 would be aligned along it. Woodruff's office in Springfield was the Birthplace of Route 66.
Old Route 66: 1926-1928 Alignment in Strafford
shown in Black in the Map above.
The road went along Pine St. and south of town took a right along present MO-125 heading south. At State Hwy. OO, it turned west (right) heading into Springfield. This alignment is marked with Route 66 Byway blue colored signs (See sign).
In 1928 the road was realigned (See blue road sign) and took a Southwesterly course towards Springfield, (Pale Blue in the map above).
1940s Two Main Streets
As traffic increased (Trains stopped passenger service in 1930), during the early 1940s, US 66 was moved south, one block, between the tracks and the buildings facing Pine St. This led the owners to turn their business premises around, opening the back part of their buildings to the new highway (See above Two Main Streets).
In 1952 the Missouri Highway Department was improving Route 66 to make it safer, and built a by-pass for Route 66 around Strafford to the north. As traffic fell off through town so did business. After 1958, US-66 was upgraded to a four-lane highway and I-44 coexisted with Route 66 until it was finally decertified.
> > 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.