While on a recent Route 66 road trip, we made reservations to stay at the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri. We had read about this iconic motel and gotten some recommendations from some of you who follow us on social media, so how could would not? Besides, these classic accommodations are a national treasure and we were looking for that authentic Route 66 feel and we sure found it at the Wagon Wheel.

Image: Stuckey’s Corp / Stephanie Stuckey

The Wagon Wheel Motel was originally built by Robert W. and Margaret Martin who named it “The Wagon Wheel Cabins, Cafe and Station”.  The café and filling station were actually built first, opening in 1936. They were soon followed by the cabins in 1938. Initially there were only nine cabins, each built out of Ozark sandstone and each having three rooms and an attached garage.

In 1947, the Martin’s sold the motel to John and Winifred Mathis who renovated the cabins, converting each garage into another room. After selling the gas station and café and adding another concrete lodging building and a laundry facility to the rear of the property, the couple changed the name to the Wagon Wheel Motel. That same year, they also added the landmark neon signs that still beckon road weary drivers to spend the night along Route 66.

Image: Stuckey’s Corp / Stephanie Stuckey

Pauline and Halle Roberts bought the Wagon Wheel Motel in 1963 and ran it for 40 years. Unfortunately, after Pauline’s death in 2003 (the same year that the motel would be placed on the National Register of Historical Places), the place really started falling into disrepair but still remained in operation.

In 2009, current owner Connie Echols bought the Wagon Wheel. She would spend the next two years lovingly restoring each motel room, updating the plumbing and electric, adding more comfortable bedding and offering more modern amenities such as free wifi and a flat screen TV in every room.

The quaint rooms, complete with original hardwood floors and retro decor, come in different sizes and offer and really give you a retro feel without having to give up all the comforts of modern life that we’ve become accustomed to.

Image: Stuckey’s Corp / Stephanie Stuckey

As the longest continuously operating motel on Route 66, The Wagon Wheel Motel continues to provide nightly accommodations. The cafe and gas station are currently used as a “Connie’s Shoppe” – a gift shop where you “can sit a spell and have a glass of wine in the evening or a cup of hot fresh coffee in the morning”. You’ll also find some awesome t-shirts and Route 66 souvenirs to remember your stay.

The Wagon Wheel Motel is located on the eastern edge of Cuba, Missouri, on the legendary Route 66. For information call 573-885-3411 or visit their website.

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