At the close of travel through Illinois across the state border lies St. Louis, Missouri, a major United States port on the eastern border of Missouri. With a population of 318,172 as of July 2012, making it the 58th largest U.S. city at the time of the 2010 U.S. Census. The metropolitan St. Louis area, known as Greater St. Louis, is the 19th largest metropolitan area in the United States with a population of 2,795,794 and a major port on the Mississippi River. The population of this city mushroomed after the American Civil War

and it became the fourth largest city in the United States in the late 19th century. It seceded from St. Louis County in March of 1877, which allowed it to become an independent city and limited its political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the 1904 Summer Olympics were held there. The city’s population peaked in 1950, then began a long decline that continues into the 21st century. The city is commonly identified with the Gateway Arch, part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in downtown St. Louis.

St. Louis is a major center of Roman Catholicism in the United States. St. Louis also boasts the largest Ethical Culture Society in the United States. Several places of worship in the city also are noteworthy, such as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis – home of the world’s largest mosaic installation. Other locally notable churches include the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral west of the Mississippi River and the oldest church in St. Louis, the St. Louis Abbey, whose distinctive architectural style garnered multiple awards at the time of its completion in 1962, and St. Francis de Sales Oratory, a neo-Gothic church completed in 1908 and the second largest church in the city. The city is also defined by music and the performing arts, especially its association with blues, jazz, and ragtime. St. Louis is home to the St. Louis Symphony, the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, and until 2010, it was also home to KFUO-FM, one of the oldest classical music FM radio stations west of the Mississippi River. Traveling Route 66 it is a good idea to move on after seeing any destinations of interest in St. Louis and staying in accommodation further on down the highway. St. Louis has a high crime rate and many travelers to the city don’t always feel safe staying overnight.

Further along is the town of Sullivan, which is a city that sits on the border of Franklin County and Crawford County. Stephen Sullivan founded the city in the late 1850s and cleared brush, which allowed building of a railway depot and in turn the railroad named the town and station after him in 1860. Among notable residents of the town are William S. Harney, a 19th Century General of the Mexican-American War and the Civil War as well as George Hearst, U.S.

Senator from California and father of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. Located in Sullivan is the Major General William S. Harney Summer Home that was placed on the Nation Register of Historic Places in 1984. Known as the Harney Mansion, this historic home stands on South Mansion Street, and is owned by the Harney Mansion Foundation, a private organization which is seeking funds for the restoration of the structure. The Sullivan Chamber of Commerce cooperates with the foundation and arranges visits to the home.

This historic building, listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, was built in 1856 by Dr. A. Leffingwell. This portion is now the South Wing as in 1872 General William S. Harney used the same material and design to further add on to the existing building in 1872. The General used this building as his summer residence up until 1884 when he moved to Florida. In 1896 the building was purchased by Theodore Hinchcliff and it stayed in the Hinchcliff Family until 1960 when his daughter sold it to a man named Leo Hollander and his wife. After lying vacant for a number of years, the Hollander family gave it to the William S. Harney Historical Society in the early part of 1980. In April of 1984 is was placed on the national Register of Historic Places as the Major General William S. Harney Summer Home. After that Historical Society disbanded in the early 90’s, the building was given to the City of Sullivan. In one final effort to save it, the city then deeded the property to The Friends of General Harney House, Inc. which then changed their name to the Harney Mansion Foundation in 1998.

The next town of any signifigance is Waynesville, a city in Pulaski County, Missouri. It is the county seat of Pulaski County and is located in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks as well as being one of the communities served by historic Route 66. Waynesville Regional Airport at Forney Field serves the community with air services and is available for civilian use by private pilots and scheduled commercial passenger service. The major east-west freeway is Interstate 44, but before the main highway was U.S.

Route 66, which still exists as a scenic route through the area and passes through Devil’s Elbow, St. Robert, Waynesville, Buckhorn, and Hazelgreen. Names for the historical Route 66 vary at different locations – being called Teardrop Road, Highway Z, Old Route 66, Historic Route 66, and Highway 17. State maintained sign posts mark most of the remaining road. Buildings of historical import are Old Stagecoach Stop, also known as Black Hotel or Pulaski House and the Pulaski County Courthouse.

The Old Stagecoach Stop in Waynesville is located on Interstate 44 in the southcentral region of Missouri on the original road of Route 66. Visitors can take either Exit 156 from the west or Exit 159 from the east. You will be on Bypass 44 and Historic Route 66. As you enter downtown Waynesville, you will pass the historic courthouse square – Waynesville is the County Seat of Pulaski County. On the east side of the square, in the middle of the block on Linn Street, sits the white two-story Old Stagecoach Stop.

Close by is Lebanon, Missouri. It is the location of the Munger Moss Motel, which originally was a barbecue place located on the Big Piney River at Devil’s Elbow, just east of Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri started in the late 30’s or early 40’s. When the 4-lane road opened up, the business at the Munger Moss Barbecue pretty much died and the owners started looking for a suitable place to relocate to. Highway 66 was booming because of the war and all the travelers on Route 66. Just east of Lebanon was a 4 acre plot of land with a restaurant and gas station. In 1946 the motel was added with 14 cabins with garages in between the rooms.

The next major town on the route is Springfield, which is the third largest city in Missouri and the county seat of Greene County. Springfield’s nickname is the Queen City of the Ozarks and is known as the birthplace of Route 66 as well as the home of several universities including Missouri State University. Recognized by convention as the birthplace of US Route 66, it was in Springfield on April 30th, 1926 that officials first proposed the name of the new Chicago to Los Angeles highway. John T.

Woodruff of Springfield was elected as the first president of the U.S. Highway 66 Association, organized in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1927. Its purpose was to get U.S. Highway 66 paved from end to end and to promote tourism on the highway. In 1938, Route 66 became the first completely paved highway of the numbered highways in America. Often referred to as the Mother Road, a placard placed in Park Central Square was dedicated to the city by the Route 66 Association of Missouri, and traces of the Mother Road are still visible in downtown Springfield along Kearney Street, Glenstone Avenue, College and St. Louis streets and on Missouri 266 to Halltown. Many parts of Route 66 are still visible in Springfield, along with other sites and sights that were at their heyday when Route 66 was the primary east-west route through the country.

“It is important that people realize the significance of Route 66 in the history of the city and the country, and that it was born here,” says David Eslick, a member of the Route 66 Association of Missouri and co-chair of the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival. “This festival will be a fun way to achieve that recognition.”

The Birthplace of Route 66 Festival was designed to celebrate and remember the role Springfield played in the Route 66 era. College Street, where the festival took place in 2011, is on the original Route 66 byway and the 2012 site of the festival was in Park Central Square and featured 200 classic cars, live music, food, and Mother’s Beer.

There are 92 parks including the Botanical Center at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, three golf courses, a zoo and other facilities owned or managed by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. These facilities have been host to state, local and national tournaments in softball, soccer, hockey and tennis. Six recreational lakes are within 100 miles or 160 kilometers of Springfield. Table Rock Lake and the Branson entertainment area are within 45 miles or 72 kilometers. Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) serves the city with direct flights to 12 cities with 33 daily flights. It is the main airline gateway into the Springfield area. Direct connections from Springfield are available to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Memphis, Minneapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, St. Louis, Tampa and Los Angeles. No international flights currently have regular service into Springfield-Branson, but it does serve international charters. Springfield is home to the Abou Ben Adhem Shrine Mosque, often known locally as “the Shrine Mosque” or simply “the Shrine”, is a building of arabesque design located in downtown Springfield. It is owned by the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine – more commonly known as the Shriners, and is the site of the annual Shrine Circus. The five-story building includes a large auditorium with seating for over 4,000 and has often been used for concerts. It was built in 1923 for a cost of $600,000 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The name derives from Ibrahim ibn Adham, taken from the poem Abou Ben Adhem by James Henry Leigh Hunt.

Before passing out of Missouri Route 66 takes you through Joplin, a city in southern Jasper County and northern Newton County in the southwestern corner of Missouri. Often believed to have been named for the ragtime music composer Scott Joplin, who lived in Sedalia, Missouri, the town is actually named after the Reverend Harris Joplin, an early settler and the founder of the first Methodist congregation in the area. The town was established in 1873 and expanded significantly from the wealth created by the mining of zinc, but its growth slowed after World War II when the price of the mineral collapsed. The city benefitted

from travelers on Route 66 which passed through it and Joplin, Missouri is among the lyrics to the famous Route 66 song written by Bobby Troup that immortalizes the city among other cities on the famous highway. On May 22nd, 2011, Joplin was struck by an extremely powerful Class EF-5 tornado, which resulted in at least 161 deaths and more than 900 injuries. It caused the total destruction of thousands of houses, and inflicted severe damage to St. John’s Medical Center, numerous apartments, businesses and multiple school buildings. Due to its location near two major highways and its many event and sports facilities, Joplin attracts travelers and is a destination for conferences and group events. Joplin offers nearly 2,500 hotel rooms, the majority located within a quarter mile area of Range Line and I-44. It has the 30,000-square-foot or 2,800 m2 John Q. Hammons Convention and Trade Center, which serves as the primary event facility for conventions, associations, and large events. Each June, Joplin hosts the Boomtown Run, a half marathon, 5k. and children’s run. The event attracts runners from across the country, and features USTA certified courses which start and end in the historic downtown area.

Joplin is served by the mainline of the Kansas City Southern (KCS) railroad, as well as by branch lines of the BNSF Railway and Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad (MNA). The city was once a beehive of railroad activity; however, many of the original railroad lines serving Joplin were abandoned after the demise of the mining and industrial enterprises. Passenger trains have not served the city since the 1960s. The city’s Union Depot is still intact along the KCS mainline and efforts are underway to restore it. In addition, the Joplin Regional Airport provides multiple daily roundtrip flights to Dallas/Fort Worth operated by American Eagle Airlines.