"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.
Route 66 across Missouri stretched 317 miles and connected a variety of large cities and small towns, traversing rolling hills and valleys.
We've driven much of Route 66, including multiple segments across Missouri and stops in Sullivan, about 70 miles west of St. Louis.
Sullivan, Missouri ... On Historic U.S. Route 66
The City of Sullivan straddles the border of Franklin and Crawford counties in Missouri. It has a population of about 7,000 residents. The Meramec River flows through Meramec State Park just to the east of the city. It is located along Interstate I-44 and Historic U.S. Route 66.
Historic Route 66 Mural in Sullivan, Missouri
The Shamrock Court in Sullivan, Missouri
The Shamrock Court in Sullivan was built in 1947-1948, and was owned and operated by one family for much of its 73 years on Route 66. With very few alterations, the motel retains most of its original design and appearance, including native stone construction known as the “giraffe rock” style. The original "U-shaped" configuration included 10 guest rooms, a check-in area, a dining room with a fireplace for guests, and an owner/manager apartment with a kitchen, bath and bedroom.
After the passing of its owners, the property became vacant and underwent significant deterioration. With demolition on the horizon, a new owner stepped in to rescue and stabilize the buildings, with plans to bring the Shamrock Court back to life as a functioning motel.
The new owner is Rich Dinkela, who is the president of the Route 66 Association of Missouri. Also known as "Roamin’ Rich", he has been a strong advocate and publicist for any and all things about the community of Route 66 and other old US highways. Read more about Rich at HookedOnRoute66.com
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 28, 2022. Grant funds will assist stabilizing the building through restoration of the subfloors, dormers, roof, gutters, HVAC system, electrical system, and plumbing system. On March 19, 2022, the Shamrock's neon sign was relit for the first time in years after restoration (see photo below).
|Vintage postcard of the Shamrock Court
|Present-day neon sign at the Shamrock Court
Beneath the fertile rolling hills of the Meramec Valley near Sullivan, Missouri, lies a complex of mineral formations and color as rare and unique as they are beautiful. These jewels of nature which took thousands of years to grow, are preserved in the spectacular sights of Meramec Caverns. Guided tours by trained rangers are conducted along well-lighted walkways. Take Exit 230 on Interstate I-44 ... GPS address 1135 MO-W, Sullivan, MO 63080
|Classic barn advertising along Historic Route 66 in Missouri for Meramec Caverns
Meramec State Park
Meramec State Park is located about 4 miles east of Sullivan on Highway 185. The Meramec River flows by majestic bluffs, wooded areas and a dramatic cave entrance. More than 13 miles of hiking trails are available for exploring the park, and visitors can swim, fish, raft and boat in the river. A modern campground, cabins and motel give visitors a choice to stay the night or even longer.
Exhibits in the visitor center interpret the natural and cultural features of the park. No visit to the park would be complete without a tour of Fisher Cave with handheld lights.
More Information & Resources about Sullivan
We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards dealing with Sullivan and Route 66.
What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove around Sullivan? 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 in Sullivan.
|Sullmo Hotel & Cabins
Need help and ideas when planning your road trip on Route 66? Here are travel guides and reviews by state...