Springfield


The Kentwood Arms Hotel .
By 1923, there were 148 miles of street in the city, 60 of which were paved. So, when John T. Woodruff, of Springfield, along with Cyrus Avery of Tulsa, Oklahoma began to suggest a transcontinental highway, Springfield was a logical choice along the path of what would soon become Route 66. Both Woodruff and Avery worked tirelessly for a highway that would carry America's new "Mobility Nobility" from Chicago, Illinois all the way to Los Angeles, California. Persistence prevailed and Route 66 finally became a reality in 1926. Springfield became an important transportation hub, which further aided its population and economic growth.
 
John Thomas Woodruff, was not only the Missouri partner promoting Route 66, but an infallible businessman and promoter of all types of transportation throughout Missouri.
 
An attorney for the Frisco Railroad in Springfield, he was largely responsible for the development of other businesses in the burgeoning city, as well as the hospital, fairgrounds, and golf course. He also influenced the developments of Powersite, Norfork, and Bagnell Dams. Ever the builder he also constructed the Woodruff business building which still stands today, as well as the Sansone, Colonial, and Kentwood Arms hotels. Only the Kentwood Arms and the Woodruff Building, built in 1926 and 1910, remain. Today the Kentwood building is owned by Southwest Missouri State University and used as a dormitory called Kentwood Hall.



Springfield, Missouri The Official Birthplace of Route 66!
This black-and-white photograph is dated March of 1959 on the front, but according to C.H. "Skip" Curtis the photograph dates to 1953. The orientation is looking west toward the Public Square. The Greyhound Bus Depot, the St. Louis Street Coffee Shop and the Tinkle Bar (where the sign says "Liquor") are on the left. These buildings were razed in 1986. The next building is the Martin Chrysler-Plymouth building, which currently houses the Discovery Center. The Colonial Hotel is the six-story structure on the left, sitting at the southwest corner of St. Louis and Jefferson. Across from it, at the northwest corner, is the taller 10-story Woodruff Building.

The Woodruff Building   is still standing but the Colonial Hotel (above) was razed in 1997. On the right side of the street is Crosly Auto Parts, Dee's Liquor and a Texaco station. The sign for the Hotel Moran can be seen near the Woodruff building.



Springfield's cashew chicken roots date back to the end of World War II,
when Pensacola, Fla., chef David Leong moved to Springfield, which is known as
the Queen City of the Ozarks. In the early 1960s Leong was a chef on Route 66 at Grove Supper Club, which slices through Springfield. The Grove was a cool place, with low ceilings and comfy booths embedded with flamingo prints.

Route 66 starts in Chicago, goes South to St. Louis then turns westward through Missouri and Oklahoma continuing Southwest to Los Angeles. One could hardly make the trip on the portion of the road across Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma without seeing a Campbell “66” truck and it’s running camel logo. For many years, an employee by the name of Bill Boyd, hand painted the camel logo more than 12,000 times. Careful observation of Bill’s work would reveal that he seemed to give each camel a different personality in its face and one day he added a puff of white in front of the camel’s nose, stepped back and called him “ Snortin’ Norton”. Many a traveler upon seeing the familiar logo would either break out with a smile or a sarcastic smirk. A fifth grade girl attending an elementary school in Birmingham, Alabama once wrote a letter to the Springfield General Office pointing out that the camel on the trucks was incorrect. She knew that a camel does not run with its legs stretched out. A camel runs with its front legs together and its back legs at the same time. She was correct but Bill Boyd, being the true Ozark artist he was, knew how to make a camel logo work. - Reprint from J. Bruce Crim


Red's
The building just stands there. The ivy and vines climbing over the boarded-up windows. Inside, “mothballed,” the old hamburger stand looks just as it did when it was left over ten years ago – ready for business. Owners Red & Julia still live next door. The dream of experiencing the aroma and taste of just one more “sooper” and fries is tantalizingly close. The dream will not be realized. Red’s Giant Hamburg has closed, and with its passing went a significant piece of fast-food folklore, a nostalgic chunk of the fabled Main Street of America, Route 66. For nearly forty years, Julia and Sheldon “Red” Chaney had operated one of the first, and last, hamburger stands on Historic US 66. Right after serving in the army in World War II, Red and Julia (along with his parents) were returning from California to St. Charles, Illinois, where Red’s dad owned and operated a restaurant and cocktail lounge. “Dad said, 'I kinda like this area,' as we passed through Springfield on 66,” Red recalls. “When we saw this old wooded H.C. Sinclair gas station, which also had a lunch counter in a corner, it was love at first sight.” The Chaneys sold their restaurant in Illinois, moved to Springfield, Missouri, and bought the Sinclair station on Route 66. In addition to the station/cafĂ©, there was a 1930s tourist court in back that they operated under the name “66” Motel.
bbbb Red’s, home of the first drive-up window, was a hamburger joint that assumed almost mythic qualities. It was featured on two television specials, countless magazine and newspaper articles from coast-to-coast, memorialized in song by the Morells in their "Red’s" and even featured in Rolling Stone magazine twice: as an important part of a 1984 article “The End of the Road” about Route 66, and in a review of the Morells’ tribute to Red’s:

“Hamburger, cheeseburger, lettuce and tomato/
Brown beans, root beer, French-fried potato/
It’s a crazy little place on the west side of town/
A five-five Buick knee-deep in the ground.”




Red had put the ’55 Buick there to keep people from backing into his elaborate homemade sign, which read GIANT on the horizontal crossbar and only HAMBURG on the vertical pole, because there wasn’t room for the ER at the bottom – the sign almost hit the power lines above. (Red says maybe he should have re-measured prior to painting.) The Buick was topped off with two globes of tin foil dealies the size of footballs (actually empty bleach bottles wrapped in foil) that rotated slowly. These tin foil dealies sometimes defied certain laws of nature by blowing in the opposite direction of the wind. There were two stories surrounding these tin foil globes. The first was circulated by the man himself, who said that they blew clockwise when he wanted customers, and counter-clockwise when he didn’t. The second story was that these things actually …. Reprint from Skip Curtis

Ozarks Jubilee
Ozark Jubilee is the first U.S. network television program to feature country music's top stars, and the centerpiece of a strategy for Springfield, Missouri to challenge Nashville, Tennessee as America's country music capital. The weekly live stage show premiered on ABC-TV on January 22, 1955, was renamed Country Music Jubilee on July 6, 1957, and was finally named Jubilee USA on August 2, 1958. Originating "from the heart of the Ozarks," the Saturday night variety series helped popularize country music in America's cities and suburbs, drawing more than nine million viewers. The ABC Radio version was heard by millions more starting in August 1954.

A typical program included a mix of vocal and instrumental performances, comedy routines, square dancing and an occasional novelty act. The host was Red Foley, the nation's top country music personality. Big names such as Patsy Cline, Eddy Arnold, Johnny Cash and Faron Young were interspersed with a regular cast, including a group of young talent the Jubilee brought to national fame: 11-year-old Brenda Lee, Porter Wagoner, Wanda Jackson, Sonny James, Jean Shepard and The Browns. Other featured cast members were Webb Pierce, Bobby Lord, Leroy Van Dyke, Norma Jean and Carl Smith.

Carl Perkins, singing "Blue Suede Shoes", made his TV debut on the series, which showcased hundreds of popular artists performing everything from rockabilly, country and Western, bluegrass and honky tonk to the Nashville sound, gospel and folk. Several now-legendary session musicians provided accompaniment at times during the show's run, including Grady Martin, Hank Garland, Charlie Haden, Cecil Brower and Bob Moore. The genial Foley closed each show from the Jewell Theatre in downtown Springfield with a "song of inspiration" or a recitation from his Keepsake Album; and his sign-off was "Goodnight mama, goodnight papa," before walking into the audience to shake hands as the credits rolled.


The Jubilee was canceled after almost six years as rock and roll grew in popularity, and in part because of publicity surrounding tax evasion charges against Foley, who was later acquitted. On September 24, 1960, the final telecast, like the first in 1955, opened with Foley singing "Hearts Of Stone". The program concluded with him performing "May The Good Lord Bless And Keep You". The series was voted Best Country Music Show by Fame magazine's annual TV critics poll in 1957 and 1960. In 1961, NBC-TV carried a spin-off, Five Star Jubilee.




Fassnight Park was the place to be in the Route 66 heyday!


Sunset Drive-In 4205 West Chestnut Expressway (Route 66) Springfield, MO. Opened in 1950 and closed in the mid 1980s.