The Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba Missouri is both one of the oldest historic motels along Route 66, and of them the only one to have been continuously operating since its opening. From the outside is actually pretty idyllic. It is built in the Tudor Revival style out of Ozark sandstone. It opened initially as a cafe and filling station in 1936, and then expanded into a motel in 1938; and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The motel consists of a collection of very cute looking homes with stone exteriors, that sits behind a larger main house
In front of which are some historic gas pumps (but gas is no longer sold here.
When I arrived, the main building was undergoing some regular maintenance/cosmetic upkeep repairs, which is in keeping with the whole “Viva Cuba” project that I discussed in my recent post about the town of Cuba itself. Inside the main building was a check in counter, and an unusually large gift store — taking up the area that I’m guessing originally housed the cafe.
The Motel was apparently fully renovated in 2010, but looking on-line I found some very mixed reviews… A lot of folks love the place, but those who didn’t were vitriolic, saying that it is one of those motels that looks a hell of a lot better on the outside than supposedly it looks on the inside. But like I said, MIXED reviews, and I haven’t stayed here so I can’t comment personally.
I asked the woman who seemed to be the owner “are you renovating the interiors too or just the exteriors?”, and she said “yes, you can go inside and shop” …. On the upside, the gift store was selling route 66 T-shirts that were specific to the location, rather than the generic crap that has annoyed me for most of the my route 66 Trek