Devil’s Elbow Bridge facelift progressing

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Devil’s Elbow Bridge facelift progressing
Apr 092014

Construction is progressing on a project to rehabilitate the aging, historic Devil’s Elbow Bridge in rural Pulaski County.

“This is a project that began 10 or 11 years ago, and we are finally seeing the construction phase, so its very exciting,” Pulaski County Presiding Commissioner Gene Newkirk said. “It’s moving right along, and, so far, it’s been very smooth.”

The Pulaski County Commission took note of the bridge’s deteriorating condition—including severe rusting, cracked substructure and considerable soil loss near the south abutment—several years ago and began working to secure funding for a $1.3 million restoration project.

The funding for the project was found last year when the county commission was able to combine Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Bridge Replacement Off-System (BRO) and MoDOT’s Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds with a mixture of grant funds awarded.

MoDOT BRO and STP funds are covering 80 percent of the project, and the Missouri Department of Economic Development Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program along with a small grant from the National Parks Service and a local match from Pulaski County make up the remaining project funding.

The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) helped prepare the CDBG, STP and National Park Service grant applications and is serving as the administrator for the $250,000 CDBG grant awarded.
Not only will the rehabilitation of the project address safety issues, but it also maintains the historic significance of the structure.

“We have so many people from all over the country who come down to the bridge while traveling Route 66 because it is historic,” Newkirk said. “Many pictures have been taken of that bridge, and many people in our local communities, too, have pictures taken on that bridge from many, many years ago.”

The pages of the nearby Elbow Inn guestbook indicate that the picturesque place not only draws travelers from other states but from several other countries as well. Entries have included guests from France, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Canada and Australia to name a few.

“We are very fortunate here in Pulaski County to have 33 original miles of Route 66, and we are internationally known for that,” Pulaski County Tourism Bureau Director Beth Wiles said, noting that the stretch is also known as one of the most beautiful in the country.

“They look at Route 66 as that key component of America,” Wiles said of the international travelers.
The influx of tourists seeking a part of American history is greatest from April through October, and brings tourism dollars not just to businesses near the bridge like the Elbow Inn, but also into the cities of Waynesville and St. Robert.

Built in 1923, the bridge was part of the original Route 66. The portion of the nostalgic highway that passes through Devil’s Elbow, however, proved to be dangerous and soon came to be called “Bloody 66.”

As a result, the Hooker Cut realignment took place in 1940, bypassing the bridge. At that time, it was the deepest rock cut in the country.
According to the HAER Bridge Inventory, a list of historic bridges in Missouri, the Devil’s Elbow Bridge may be eligible for a place on the National Register of Historic Places. It is believed to be one of the earliest examples of Missouri State Highway Department long-span truss design still in existence.

Additionally, Newkirk noted it is also one of only two remaining bridges in the state containing a curve. The second is the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis, which was recently converted to a pedestrian bridge. Wiles added that it is the only curved bridge on the original Route 66 still open to traffic.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the rehabilitation project was held in October, and, by the end of March, the 400-foot deck of the bridge began to retake its original shape.

The framing of the new deck is in place and half of the decking concrete has been poured with the remaining half expected to be poured by mid to late April. Once the remaining portion of the deck has been poured, the bridge will be painted and additional structural work will be completed.

Engineering services for the project have been provided by Great River Engineering out of Springfield, Mo. The engineer currently supervising the project, Steve Brown, expects it to be re-opened to traffic by August at the latest. Phillips Hardy, Inc., out of Columbia, is the general contractor for the project. The contractor was selected through a competitive bid process.

For individuals interested in touring the 33-mile stretch of Route 66 in Pulaski County, a turn-by-turn brochure is available for download at Alternately, the brochure is available in audio format for listening as you drive the route.

By Rolla Daily News

Historic Route 66 to Be Full of Treasure Hunters

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Historic Route 66 to Be Full of Treasure Hunters
Aug 252012

St. Clair and other chambers of commerce along Interstate 44 from Eureka to Rolla are preparing for the ninth annual Route 66 Treasure Hunt set for Labor Day weekend.

This year’s event is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 30-Sept. 1, in each city along the route.

The treasure hunt was the brainchild of the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce and its executive director at the time, Terry Triphahn, in 2004. The idea behind it is to promote the historic Route 66 and the regional cities that dot the map by serving as hosts to a giant rummage sale. The distance between Eureka and Rolla is about 70 miles.

“This year’s event is going to be great,” current St. Clair Chamber Executive Director Angela Crawford said. “Vendors will have an awesome opportunity to sell their wares and make some extra cash, and shoppers will surely find some great treasures.”

In 2012, Eureka, Pacific, Sullivan, Cuba, St. James and Rolla are participating as well as St. Clair.

Travelers and others are invited to stop in each city during the three-day period to see what kind of bargains will be sold in garage-sale style. In St. Clair, vendors can set up shop at several locations, including Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Dace Excavating, the Old Country Fresh Market, the St. Clair Building Center and the Gratzer Construction Building. Individuals also may set up an outside booth at their personal residence or business.

“Don’t miss out,” Crawford said.

In St. Clair, Route 66 is Commercial Avenue.

During Monday’s St. Clair Board of Aldermen meeting, city officials unanimously voted to allow merchant sidewalk sales during the event. City Administrator Rick Childers said the motion was required under city ordinance.

Maps and other information are available on the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce website by clicking HERE. For more information, contact the Chamber at 636-629-6000, extension 3.

By Keith E. Domke, St. Clair Missourian Editor The Missourian

Annual ‘Route 66 Race to the Rocker’ to be bigger and better

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Annual ‘Route 66 Race to the Rocker’ to be bigger and better
Jan 242012

Rolla, Mo. — CUBA — Race director Brad Austin promises the Route 66 Race to the Rocker on March 31 will be bigger and better this year.

This is the fourth year for the 4-mile race that starts at the Mizell Funeral Home and continues on Route 66 to the Outpost US 66 General Store’s Guinness Book of World Records Largest Rocking Chair.

The Cuba 4-H groups will be offering a spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 5-8 p.m. March 30 at the Business and Fitness Expo so runners can get their carbs in before the big race the next day.

The race begins at 9 a.m., rain or shine. Participants can pick up race packets and t-shirts at the Business and Fitness Expo or the day of the race. Participants are asked to bring a canned food item for the food bank or personal hygiene items for the Friday Backpack for Kids program.

On race day, the Cuba High School parking lot will be available for parking before the race, with shuttle buses taking runners to the race registration area starting at 7:30 a.m. More buses will be available this year for both pre- and post-race shuttles. Bag drops are available at the beginning of the race with pickup at the rocker finish area.

This year there are plans for music and other events along the course to inspire runners. As well as an orange Race to the Rocker t-shirt, runners will all receive Cuba’s signature treat of two baby cakes from the Route 66 Fudge Shop, and Route 66 Race to the Rocker candy bars will go to the race division winners.

Big River Running from St. Louis will provide race numbers with chip timing and will post times and results online. Both lanes of Route 66 will be closed from Kinder Cemetery to the rocker from 8:45-11 a.m. The Missouri Highway Patrol as well as local fire, EMT, and police officials will help with the course management.

Almost $35,000 for kids’ fitness/health projects was raised over the last three years. This year’s funds will go to the Friday Backpacks for Kids Program, two scholarships for track and cross country students, to purchase or rehabilitation of weight room equipment, and for ongoing investigation of the Rails to Trails program.

Jessica Harrison of Captured by Jessica will be available to take individual and team photos with the Rocker in the background. Race director Brad Austin said, “We are signing up volunteers and sponsors to make it all happen and run smoothly. This race is a community event and effort, and Cuba’s wonderful support has allowed the race to grow each year and raise so much for our kids and their health and fitness.”

Race organizers have set a goal of 1,000 run/walkers to make it the largest race to date. The race is open to all ability levels and age groups.

Faster runners will be placed in the front of the pack to insure the safety of all. Feel free to costume up to make it a colorful race. Bring your cameras and spend some time in the “Route 66 Mural City” after the race.

The Rolla Daily News

Civil War Murals on Route 66 in Cuba, Mo.

 Missouri  Comments Off on Civil War Murals on Route 66 in Cuba, Mo.
May 102011

People usually don’t think of Route 66 in conjunction with the Civil War, but as the U.S. commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Cuba, Missouri, known as the “Route 66 Mural City” can boast a Civil War attraction.

As part of its outdoor mural project, Viva Cuba, a community betterment organization, commissioned 12 outdoor murals along the Route 66 corridor. One of these is actually a series of Civil War scenes of the Battle of Pilot Knob a Missouri battle that began when Confederate General Sterling Price attacked Fort Davidson, under the charge of Union General Thomas Ewing.

When the clever Union soldiers snuck out of the Fort under cover of darkness rather than surrender, the chase was on. After blowing up the fort so that ammunition and supplies that were left behind would not fall into Confederate hands, Union troops fled cross-country.

The Confederates chased the Union soldiers across the Huzzah River near Steelville, to Leasburg, where the Union soldiers planned on escaping by train. However, Confederate troops burned train tracks in the nearby towns of Bourbon and Cuba, thus trapping the soldiers in Leasburg. With Confederate troops bearing down on them, the Union soldiers once more thought that the end was near. Leasburg and Bourbon are also Route 66 towns that have played their roles in the Civil War.

Then Union troops from Rolla arrived to save the day, and the troops were able to get to Rolla and safety. It is said that the grateful troops danced and sang, “Rally round the Flag Boys” when the rescuing troops arrived.

It is the Battle of Pilot Knob and the following events that the Viva Cuba organization hired Oregon artist Don Gray to depict in its series of Civil War murals on Buchanan Street, just off Route 66 in Cuba.

The striking murals are a great attraction for Route 66 travelers to visit during the 2011 Sesquicentennial Anniversary of America’s Civil War. The Crawford County Historical Society Museum in Cuba is located on N. Smith Street off Route 66 to provide more information on the Civil War and Route 66.

So, this summer you can get your history, and your kicks, on Route 66.

Written by Jane Reed, media coordinator for theViva Cuba Mural Project.

“Route 66” Summerfest in Rolla, Missouri

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on “Route 66” Summerfest in Rolla, Missouri
Feb 152011

June 3rd, 4th, and 5th are the dates for this year’s “Route 66” Summerfest in Rolla, Missouri.

This is the 16th year for this event, which is held on the first weekend in June each year. It was originally started to promote downtown Rolla but it has evolved into an area wide celebration for all ages to promote old Route 66 and the beginning of summer. The weekend begins on Thursday evening where eligible ladies compete at the Rolla Middle School Auditorium for the honor of being crowned “Miss Route 66”. All single girls from Phelps or any of the surrounding counties, currently enrolled in school, and between the ages of 15 and 18 are encouraged to participate. You must have your registration in however no later than May 10th.

Friday morning portions of downtown are closed as food vendors and musicians set up for the evening’s festivities. At 4:00 Friday afternoon hundreds of classic cars and motorcycles arrive at the St. James Visitor Center to show off their cars and prepare to “Cruise Route 66”. At the same time, back in downtown Rolla, the cooks for the annual Association of United States Army (AUSA) picnic will be working hard to prepare the evening meal for AUSA members and anyone else who supports the military. Tickets are $8 which covers all food and drinks.

At 6:00 Friday evening the classic cars gathered in St. James will begin their cruise down old Route 66. They will bring with them all of the queen candidates, one of which will be crowned the 2010 Miss Route 66. Bring your lawn chairs for the 7:00 crowning ceremony and stay for the “drive-in” movie that evening. Also, on Friday is the charity poker run for all you motorcycle enthusiasts and skateboarding events for the kids.

Saturday morning you’ll find coffee and doughnuts in the food court, the craft festival on 9th Street, the classic car show on Pine Street and the motorcycle show on 8th Street. In addition, there are a ton of things to do for the kids. There will be bouncy games, pony rides, barrel train, face painting, commercial games, and as always, the giant sand pile. And don’t forget all of the great food all day.

Again this year we’ll have the traveling interactive display from SCOPE Science Exhibits, which has been a big hit for the curious of all ages. They will also be bringing several Seqways which can be rented for those willing to take a chance on this new mode of transportation.

As always, there are several sporting events throughout the day. Beginning at 8:00am at Oak Meadow Country Club is the TOUR-de-PHELPS BICYCLE RIDE to St. James and back. This is a scenic and relatively easy 12 mile round trip ride for the whole family with plenty of stops and water along the way. Also beginning in the morning is the annual DOUBLES TENNIS TOURNAMENT at Ber Juan Park. For the younger ones, there are BICYCLE AND TRICYCLE RACES in front of Meeks Lumber. Again we’ll have the DOWNHILL DERBY at 8th and Pine and the FIRE TRUCK PULL at in front of Meeks Lumber and MFA. You’ll want to start right away with your kids or grandkids building your cars for this non-motorized race, similar to a soap box derby. Both Friday and Saturday we will have the skateboard park open with many games and prizes and a professional exhibition Saturday at 3:00.

As the day wanders into evening, the festival kicks into high gear again. At 5:00pm the classic cars and motorcycles drive into the festival grounds to be a part of the evening’s activities. At 6:00pm there is the ever popular “burn out contest” where drivers compete to see who can generate the most smoke and crowd appeal. At 8:00pm the Saturday musical entertainment begins with the St. Louis band, Fanfare. This is one of those shows that you definitely don’t want to miss.

This is just a preview of some of the events which make up the annual “Route 66” Summerfest. Even if you go through the entire web page,, you won’t grasp all that goes on during this weekend. You just have to be there!! For information not on the web page you may call 573-341-2562.