Many visitors to this weekend's Birthplace of Route 66 Festival plan to stop in Spencer, Missouri. A series of businesses sit on a nearly forgotten stretch of the original highway there. It's about 30 miles west of Springfield. KY3's Paul Adler met one of the men who restored it and made it a must see for people around the world.
Cross the old bridge over the quiet creek and you'll roll into Spencer, Missouri. These days you'll find turtles crossing this stretch of Route 66 and the occasional French tourist.
You'll also find Quentin Stockham. He's a volunteer, caretaker and the owner's best friend.
Quentin explains, "It was all boarded up.. No windows... roofs were caved in..."
Quentin Stockham retired from a job and found work here. He joined the restoration effort.
Quentin says, "We tried to put it all back like it used to be. We did that by looking at old photographs."
They used photos like these (see video) from the hey-day. A bustling business here before traffic dried up.
Quentin spent 2 years volunteering on the restoration, "Labor of love would be the best thing I could say... because trust me... there's a lot of labor and a lot of love in this place."
Quentin points out the individual businesses(see video), "The end building was a repair garage.The next building is a cafe which also doubled as a grocery store. The far building is a feed store"
If he''s here, which is often, you can get and inside tour.
Quentin helped re-stock the depleted interior of the buildings. The Barbicide and barber chairs from Lamar, Missouri. In the feed store, they even have Prince Albert on a can.
Quentin says, "It is so original. There's a lot of things on the route that are not very original or not original at all.. people have built. These are all original buildings and we've tried to keep everything authentic."
Paul Adler reports, "These buildings sit off the original route 66.. This concrete out here... poured in the 1920's."
There's no plan to make money here. it's a sharing thing. Just share a story about the route or about Spencer.
Quentin reminisces, "It's fun when you hear some of the older people that talk about when they used to stop in here with their dad or grandpa and get a candy bar and a bottle of pop."
Of course, Quentin's love of history isn't limited to buildings. He's on the route with a classic 1961 Chevy Bel-Air.
Quentin says, "We both love old things.. nostalgia things and we love cars so, it just seemed to be a good fit for both of us... "
Spencer is a good deal for the rest of us too. It's a free look at history just a short trip down 66.
Quentin also tells us the cafe never had running water or a stove. If you ordered food, they made it at a house behind the cafe. Then, they brought it to you.