Historic U.S. Route 66 in Lebanon
"The Mother Road" was established on November 11, 1926, and ultimately stretched 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. Starting in Chicago, westbound travelers traversed a series of towns in Illinois before arriving in St. Louis.
Heading westbound in Missouri, the route traveled through these cites and towns:
Historic U.S. Route 66 Byway in Missouri
Route 66 across Missouri stretched 317 miles and connected a variety of large cities and small towns, traversing rolling hills and valleys.
The Mother Road followed much of the Kickapoo, or Osage, Trail, an Indian trail that later became the Old Wire Road.
Like other Route 66 segments, the actual alignment varied over the years as engineering improvements were constructed.
We've driven much of Route 66, including multiple segments across Missouri, and visits to Lebanon.
Lebanon Missouri Background
A popular stop on Route 66 today is the town of Lebanon, situated roughly half-way between St. Louis and Joplin. It features numerous Route 66 attractions and other things to do, and offers a large variety of overnight lodging options for travelers. It is county seat of Laclede County.
Founded on the site of the Wyota Indian village, Lebanon began developing around the time Laclede County was established in 1849.
In the late 1920s, Route 66 was born and followed that same path the Indians had marked, running through Lebanon’s south side. Archways proclaiming “Lebanon – Drive In – Our Town, Your Town” were placed over roads leading into town off of the Mother Road.
Route 66 served Lebanon and Laclede County from 1926 until December 4, 1957. Now I-44 follows roughly the same path as Route 66.
Lebanon Missouri Today
Today Lebanon is an energetic, thriving town of over 14,000 residents. Lebanon has continued to thrive as a small community, catering to travelers along the edge of the Ozarks. A number of these travelers come to the area because of Lebanon’s storied connection with Route 66 and its proximity to Bennett Spring State Park.
In addition to Route 66 attractions such as the Route 66 Museum, a number of other places are popular with residents and visitors, including these:
- Atchley Park
- Fallen Warriors & American Veterans Memorial
- Themed after the route in which it's located on, Boswell Park is home to 3 larger than life murals depicting facts and historical details about Laclede County's section of the Mother Road.
- Boswell Park Aquatic Center
- Gunter Farms
- Ozark Visions
- Bennett Spring State Park Hatchery & Nature Center
Laclede County Missouri ... surrounding Lebanon
Route 66 Museum in Lebanon
Shown here is the Route 66 Museum located in the Laclede County Library in Lebanon, Missouri. The museum features a large-scale display of an old Texaco gas station as well as displays of vintage motel rooms and diners.
It also features a large display of Route 66 maps and collectibles. Admission is free to the museum, located at 915 S. Jefferson Avenue.
Texaco gas station display inside the Route 66 Museum in Lebanon
|Sign at the famous Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon
||Neon at night at the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon
Route 66 mural with a 1957 Chevrolet, in Lebanon, Missouri ... "Drive our town"
Lodging Options in Lebanon
Lebanon offers Route 66 travelers a wide variety of lodging options including Hampton Inn, Munger Moss Motel, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Super 8 and others ...
More Information and Resources about Lebanon
Interactive Map of Lebanon, Missouri
Earlier Times: Vintage Views along Route 66 in Lebanon
We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards dealing with Lebanon and Route 66.
What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove around and through Lebanon? What did all the service stations, motels and public buildings look like when they were new?
What did the traveling public experience on the Mother Road? We wonder such things when we travel Route 66 today.
Those earlier times in the 1930s, 40s and 50s were not always captured on film. But the use of colorful postcards was common in those decades.
These portray the historic road in its prime and help us to visualize, and appreciate, "earlier times" as we drive Route 66 today around Lebanon.