Lebanon, Missouri Celebrates Its Route 66 LegacyLebanon invites all motorcycle riders to cruise back into Ozarks history.
Yes, it is true: Route 66 quit running through this mid-Missouri town in the northern edge of the Ozarks six decades ago. But that hasn't stopped Lebanon, MO from continuing to celebrate its connection to "The Mother Road" in a big way.
This community sits right on the busy Interstate 44 route, where tens of thousands of cars and trucks whiz past everyday. But that would be a mistake for you. This friendly city once welcomed travelers who arrived, stayed and passed through town, as they traversed the original Route 66 Highway. As one reviewer noted, even though Route 66 ran through Lebanon for just 32 years (its been gone from the city since 1957), Lebanon citizens and business leaders continue to tout original and restored landmarks honoring its Route 66 legacy, as well as some new monuments that have been introduced recently.
The town is in the beginning stages of building local walled monuments to honor its Route 66 "Mother Road" legacy with a new mural in a city park, right in the middle of town, alongside original Historic Route 66 roadway. In fact, you can drive your motorcycle through the park, right up in front of the first mural introduced this year, and take all the 'selfies' you want to with you and your bike to share with your riding buddies as you go about cruising through Ozarks history.
Here are some of the photos we captured while exploring around Lebanon:
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You can find more information and directions to the museum via their website: http://www.lebanon-laclede.lib.mo.us/MuseumPage.htm
Lebanon landmarks include the Munger Moss Motel, operated since 1971 by Ramona and Bob Lehman. Staying in this neat, clean vintage motel harkens back to days gone by when motels like this dotted the entire Route 66 landscape. The Lehman's friendly attention to detail in every aspect of making your stay comfortable is why visitors from both the U.S. and overseas countries keep coming back during he past 46 years that they have run the motel together.
There are plenty of places to pick up local Route 66 souvenirs in town, from Route 66 and Harley-Davidson souvenir items at Ozark Harley-Davidson on the south side of I-44, to the wide selection of Case Knives at the Shepherd Hills Factory Outlet across the interstate to the north. You can also check out the new Fort Awesome motorcycle shop which sits just down the road from Ozark H-D, along the same access road that runs parallel with I-44. You'll see the signs.
Good eats are on tap at a wide variety of restaurants in this city. One of our favorites is T's Redneck Steakhouse BBQ & Distillery. As their name suggests, they make their own smooth moonshine and serve up cold adult beverages, delicious BBQ, great steaks and super lunch specials. The food is delicious. The prices are reasonable. The service is excellent.
Lebanon boasts an amazing Route 66 Museum which is housed inside the Lebanon-Laclede County Library. To get there, take Jefferson Ave north for one-quarter mile from the I-44 Exit 129, turn left at the stoplight. The museum is open from 8 am to 8 pm Mondays through Thursdays, and 8 am to 5 pm Fridays and Saturdays. They have a big parking lot with plenty of free level bike parking waiting for you.
No matter how busy you are when you get to Lebanon, MO, all we can say is that you’ve got to make time to explore this free museum tour. Bring your camera to capture original photos, documents, plus displays of how life looked in the heyday of Route 66. Yes, the museum admission is free; but if you have some spare change in your pocket, please kick in a small donation to help them keep this museum going and growing.
The city plans a new Route 66 festival this summer, sometime around Fathers Day in June, and hope to make this annual event, so that residents can show off their Route 66 legacy to area motorcycle riders and vintage car owners. If you miss it this year make plans to be in Lebanon for the festival mid-June 2018. The festival is aimed at showing off the new murals in the city park. While you’re there consider making a small contribution to 'buy a brick' on the back of the murals. The city is selling the bricks to help fund the murals' construction and maintenance.
Once you have been here it is easy to see why Lebanon, MO stands as a lasting celebration of Route 66 heritage, with both restored landmarks in this mid-Missouri, must-stop destination, and original Rt.66 places where you can put your kickstand down and wander around a bit. To explore more on what to see and do in Lebanon, Missouri, go to this website: http://lebanonmissouri.org
It is clearly obvious folks in Lebanon love their city. And, they love their ties to an American classic: Historic Route 66.