Cuba, MO

The historic Hotel Cuba back in its day was ready for customers traveling by train or driving down Route 66

CJ Coombs
Hotel Cuba in Cuba, Missouri is now an apartment building.Photo byLarry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Hotel Cuba located at 600 East Main Street in Cuba, Missouri (Crawford County) is a historic hotel building. This rectangular one-story red brick building was constructed in 1915. In 1926, another one-story addition was constructed. It has a parapet roof in front and a flat roof porch extending across the whole width.

On October 29, 2014, this building was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Once a hotel, it has been repurposed as an apartment building which is good news. The architectural design is Late 19th and Early 20th Century: American Movements. The foundation is concrete and the walls are brick. 

Originally, this hotel was called the Palace Hotel in 1915. The entrance faces south toward the railroad tracks and includes a roofed porch supported by brick piers. At the top of the front of the building, you can barely read the sign that used to reads Hotel Cuba. Today, there are rental apartments inside the building. 

The Hotel Cuba occupies the southeast corner of East Main Avenue (fka Street according to Google Maps) and McClay Street. The lot surrounding the property is grass and gravel and not landscaped. 

There are three windows on each side of the main entrance with two on each side boarded up. The porch wraps around to the east side stopping at the fourth column. The original hotel rooms have been converted into apartments with some expansion; two hotel rooms were converted into one apartment. 

At the time the building was nominated for the NRHP, the floors were vinyl and the walls were plaster and gypsum wallboard. When the hotel was initially built, it was intended to serve those traveling by railroad. In 1926, what was State Highway 14 going through Cuba was designated as Route 66. With the addition on the north side of the building, it could attract more people traveling by car and it did. 

After the 1960s, the building was still a hotel but was later converted to apartments. The building is also included and listed in the multiple property listing document, Historic and Architectural Resources of the City of Cuba, Missouri, 1821- 1963

Cuba, Missouri

Cuba was settled in 1837. It was surveyed for a potential railroad line 20 years later. An official plat was filed for Cuba City. It included 32 blocks that were divided in half for the railroad line. North Main and South Main were by the tracks. 

Cuba was basically a railroad town with businesses facing the tracks separate from the residential areas. By 1859, the Southwest Branch of the Pacific Railroad had made it through Cuba. By 1861, it had reached Rolla. On May 12, 1877, Cuba was incorporated as a village.

With some people riding the train to Cuba and staying over to catch another train, hotels started going up next to the railroad. Between 1915 and 1922, more hotels were getting established along with shops and restaurants. 

Hotel Cuba started out as the Palace Hotel and it was built for railroad travelers. The hotel was more modern and larger. However, once the railroad passenger trains started to lessen, the business going well for the hotels started to decline. Another reason some of the hotels didn’t fair well was because of poor road conditions.

The Palace Hotel and others started to close. In 1926, State Highway 14 running through Cuba was designated as Route 66 pursuant to the Federal Highway Interstate Highway System Act. The birth of Route 66 influenced the hotel owner to have another entrance facing the new roadway. The Palace Hotel then became Hotel Cuba. 

On one side, Hotel Cuba had the railroad and on the other side, it had a major highway.
Old vintage postcard of Hotel Cuba facing Route 66.Photo byDadandme2017 / eBay.

Hotel Cuba was ready to meet new travelers coming by automobile. Building another entrance facing Route 66 was a great plan. The owners also added a new sign and a parking lot. Interestingly, this hotel could serve two methods of transportation, railroad and automobile travelers. 

For several decades, business for Hotel Cuba was doing well. The hotel had a historic role in the growth of Cuba. The building still has the original side facing the railroad, and the side facing what used to be Route 66. This new roadway brought so much business growth in its path.

According to World Population Review, the current population of Cuba, Missouri is 3,143.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms, and I retired early so I could be a writer all day. You could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri because I was born into the Air Force life. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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