Sunday, September 30, 2012

Route 66 - Day 8 - St. Louis, MO to St. Clair, MO

Route 66 - Part 1
Day 8 - St. Louis, MO to St. Clair, MO

55 Actua; Miles / 2323 Actual Evelation
Stuff that should have been in yesterday's blog post.....and would have been if I hadn't hit delete instead of post!
Route 66 in Missouri

Old Route 66 travels diagonally through the state, following the course of the Osage Trail, the Kickapoo Trace, and later the Federal Wire Road. Perhaps more than any other state through which Route 66 passes, Missouri is a region of great contrasts. Something of the spirit of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Harold Bell Wright’s The Shepherd of the Hills is still present here, along with the torment of civil and border wars. Yet there is also a lingering sense of willing endurance as once embodied in Pony Express riders and the redoubtable Charles Lindberg.

Federal Wire Road

The Old Wire Road is a historic road in Missouri and Arkansas. Several local roads are still known by this name. It followed an old Native American route, the Great Osage Trail across the Ozarks and became a road along telegraph lines from St. Louis, M to Fort Smith, Arkansas.This route was also used by the Butterfield Overland Mail. It was known as the "Wire Road" while the telegraph line was up, but when the line was later removed, it simply became known as the "Old Wire Road". In St. Louis, where the road begins at Jefferson Barraks, it is called Telegraph Road. From St. Louis to Springfield, MO, where it became designated Route 14 (which, in turn, later became US Route 66 and still later I-44.
At Springfield, it turned southwest and passed through what is now Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. From the Battlefield it meandered southwest through Christian and Stone Counties in Missouri towards the Arkansas state line. It passed near Pea Ridge, AK to Fayetteville, AK, on its way to Fort Smith, Arkansas.
It was used as part of the Trail of Tears and during the Civil War, when Confederate soldiers often cut the telegraph line.
St. Louis
            Chain of Rocks Bridge - [314-741-1211] Originally a toll bridge constructed in 1929, this bridge later carried Route 66 traffic over the Mississippi River at St. Louis, functioning as a bypass route that avoided downtown congestion. Its Route 66 phase lasted from the late 1930s until 1967, after which it was closed to traffic, its fate remaining uncertain for decades. In the 1990s it was finally saved from demolition and converted into a pedestrian recreation trail. The bridge is distinctive for its 22-degree bend in the middle, which allows the bridge to offer stronger resistance to the river currents, while also facilitating river navigation. The Chain of Rocks Bridge was repaved for its part in John Carpenter’s film Escape from New York. It was in fact the bridge over which the patch-eyed Kurt Russell made good his escape and upon which Adrienne Barbeau breathed her bosomy last.
Coral Court Motel - This motel was constructed in the early 1940s on Watson Road in Greater St. Louis, MO, and had several distinguishing features. It was designed in the Streamline-Moderne style--well after that style's peak in the 1930a; construction was of buff-colored ceramic brick with glass-block accents and curved corners; each of the more than 70 units included an attached garage; the motel was built as a "village" of discrete units rather than as one structure; and, it was named for marine fauna in spite of its Mid-America location. Despite preservationists' efforts to the contrary, the Coral Court was demolishes in 1995. However, part of one of the motel's units was retained for display at the Museum of Transportation, not far from where the Coral Court stood for 50-plus years. The site of the motel is now occupied by a housing subdivision named Oak Knoll Manor.
A Ted Drewes “Concrete” frozen custard treat, St. Louis Missouri (courtesy dillydallying at flickr CC)
            Ted Drewes Frozen Custard - 6726 Chippewa Since 1930, the Drewes family has been offering their frozen custard confections to St. Louisans at just a handful of locations. The Route 66 location, on Chippewa, opened in 1941. The specialty of the house is the "concrete," served so thick that it can be turned upside down with nary a drip or spill.
            Scott Joplin House State Historic Site - 2658 Delmar Scott Joplin [1868-1917] Self-taught American ragtime composer and pianist and his wife kept a modest flat circa 1902. There is a music room with an operating player piano.
Gateway Arch edit1.jpg
            Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Gateway Arch - 11 N. 4th Street – built to commemorate the Louisian Purchase and the subsequent westward movement of American explorers and pioneers; the first civil government west of the Mississippi River and the debate over slavery raised by the Dred Scot case. You can ride an internal tram car to the tip-top of the 630-foot monument for a panoramic view of the area. Under the Arch lies the Museum of Westward Expansion.
            Missouri History Museum - A replica of The Spirit of St. Louis, manufactured by the same firm that made the original, and used in the Jimmy Stewart movie, The Spirit of St. Louis is located here.

The Old Courthouse, Saint Louis, Missouri.JPG
             Old Courthouse dates back to 1839, and was the site of the early trials of the Dred Scott case, which was ultimately decided by the US Supreme Court in 1857.
             The Donut Drive-In – A renovated neon sign in the Route 66 tradition
            Giant Farmer and Son at Sappington Farmers Market in General Grant Center
Bellefontaine Cemetery - William Clark (Lewis and Clark Expedition) is buried here.
Ulysses S. Grant Historic Site - 7400 Grant Street – was the Grant family residence form 1854 to 1858, known as White Haven. At 10501 Gravois is Grant’s Farm, a ranch with free roaming animals, and 1856 log cabin, breeding Clydesdales, and a fence made from Civil War rifle barrels.

And now on to today's route information....

 Museum of Transportation, St. Louis, Missouri
Museum of Transportation - 3015 Barrett Station Road. This museum in suburban St. Louis has many, many exhibits of interest to roadies, but the most important one for Route 66 pilgrims is a partial motel room from the Coral Court Motel, a large 1940s-era motel complex that was demolished to make room for a housing subdivision. Dating from the late 1800s to the final day of steam after WWII, the locomotives range from early pufferbellies to a giant Santa Fe 2-10-4, which once offered Route 66 drivers the chance to race against a truly fast freight highballing through the West. There is a custom-built aluminum car made in 1960 and used in the Bobby Darin movie Too Cool Blues.

Oak Knoll Manor - The housing subdivision that was built on the site of the Coral Court Motel in suburban St. Louis. The development's entry on Watson Road features the original gates to the motel.
            Frank Lloyd Wright residence - 120 N. Ballas – One of only five Wright-designed structures in the state of Missouri. The house is particularly notable in that it is virtually 100 percent authentic.

            Route 66 State Park - [636-938-7198] The park's address is Eureka, but it's actually situated on what was once the community of Times Beach. Times Beach was started in the 1920s as a resort and/or bedroom community for St. Louis, it being just far enough away to be considered rural. Unfortunately, residents learned that during the 1970, the recycled oil sprayed on their streets for dust control was highly contaminated with dioxins. The community was evacuated in the 1980s, later to be cleaned up and converted to the park you see today. The park's main interpretive center is in a building that formerly served as a roadhouse named the Bridgehead Inn, dating from 1935. Bridgehead Inn (Times Beach, MO) Former Route 66 roadhouse west of St. Louis, MO that now serves as the headquarters and visitors' center for Route 66 State Park.
            Black Madonna Shrine and Grottos - 100 St. Joseph’s Road – Built by a Franciscan brother by hand, the grottoes are “dedicated to the Black Madonna, Our Lady of Czestochowa, Queen of Peace and Mercy.”


Gray Summit
            Shaw Nature Reserve (formerly the Shaw Arboretum) [636-451-3512] Since 1925 Gray Summit has been home to 2,500 acres of natural Ozark landscape and plant collections.
Their 1879 Joseph H. Bascom Manor House contains exhibits entitled “People on the Land” covering conservation issues.
Remnants of The Gardenway Motel sign
 Gardenway Motel – Classic neon sign

Villa Ridge
Tri-County Truck Stop, Villa Ridge, Missouri
            Tri-County Truck Stop - A large restaurant sited where an earlier restaurant had burned.  The Diamonds - The present site is actually the restaurant's second location. The original building--once billed as the world's largest restaurant--burned in the 1940s, and the Tri-County Truck Stop now sits on the old site. Later, the Diamonds was reestablished at the location you see today.


            Red Cedar Inn - Family-run eatery that has been in business since the 1930s, and whose dominant physical feature consists of the hand-cut logs used in its construction.

Sunset Motel, Villa Ridge, Missouri
            Sunset Motel – dating from 1946 with a stunning neon sign relit in 2009 after being dark for many years.

St. Clair - established in 1849 as a railroad community for the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway, it was first called Traveler's Repose by one of its initial settlers. In 1855, it was changed to St. Clair. It began to grow as zinc and lead mining developed the area.
Hot and cold water towers in St. Clair, Missouri
Hot and cold water towers

.Lewis Cafe 17677146 1000305508
Lewis Café - 145 S. Main
I  had a wonderful lunch here with Bill K and Rich G. /////it was just a short ride from the hotel to the charming downtown area of St. Clair, MO.
            St Clair Historical Museum - 280 Hibbard Street – Contains exhibits including Indian artifacts, mining-related items and a Victorian parlor, doctor’s office, and a general store.
Tomorrow we are off to St. James, MO.

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