Thursday, March 19, 2009


Drivin' down old Route 66 I was on the lookout for a place I had seen pictures of in books and on TV. We had actually driven this way before but could not find the old motor inn of John's Modern Cabins. On our second trip we were drivin' along and I just happened to look over in a area that was not that far off the interstate, you can actually see the cars whizzin' by on I-44. There they were, in a place where there doesn't seem to be anything. We had to turn off of the current Rt. 66 and drive about 200 feet to an old stretch of the original Mother Road.

Just a small stretch of lonely neglected road.

With 6 small primitive log cabins.

Here sits John's Modern Cabins.

Or, what's left of them.

Here they sit with their old broken, faded neon sign.

Just a small log cabin that back in the 1930's, if you were travelin' late and needed a place to stay, these were the newest, most modern, rooms for a night available out there. All the modern conveniences available, with two, outhouses out back.

John's Modern Cabins are located about 10 miles east of Rolla near the old town of Newburg.

At their beginnin' the cabins flanked a shotgun shack, which is a type of dance hall or juke joint, back in the 1930's.

I'm sure it must have been a little bit rowdy with all the goin' ons that a shotgun shack provides but hey, with all the modern conveniences, you were willin' to overlook a little noise, right? But if you were by chance spendin' the night of Halloween 1935, you probably got a little more excitement than you bargained for. That was the night that a 22 year old man shot and killed his 18 year old estranged wife and wounded two others in the dance hall's fireplace room.

The roadside inn and shotgun shack later sold to a couple, the John Dausch's, who were from Chicago, in 1951. The place sold for a mere $5000, but back in the 50's, that was a tidy sum.
This is when the cabins received their current name of John's Modern Cabins.

Improvements to the old Rt. 66 caused the business to now be located off of the main road. The shotgun shack was abandoned. A large log cabin was built to house a laundry/snack bar. The owner sold illegal beer on Sunday which earned him the nickname 'Sunday John'.

With the arrival of Interstate 44, business dried up and the motor inn shut down.

This is all that remains. Just some lonely little modern log cabins.

Can you imagine the stories this place has associated with it. I wish there was some kind of time capsule for all these old buildin's along the old highway. I mean you can see them and check 'em out but there's no one left to tell about the history or stories or people involved throughout the years. Just what you can read in books or on the net.

Here between two crumblin' cabins you can see one of the outhouses. It's good to see that they kept 'em in good shape, I mean, they are still standin' better than the cabins.

Can you imagine, traipsin' out in the middle of the night to take a pee? Two outhouses to share between 6 cabins and maybe that meant the shotgun shack too. I bet those ol' one seaters were kept busy. They don't look big enough to be two seaters. For those of you who may not know what I'm talkin' about, most outhouses were either one or two seaters. Yep, if you had a two seater, you could be in there with another person, doin' your business at the same time. Very convenient AND modern!

Actually when I was a kid we moved to a farm that had no runnin' water or bathroom in it. I remember usin' the outhouse and makin' my little sister go out with me at night (I was soooo bossy), and that was 1964! Remember we are talkin' about the Ozarks here.

So I can totally relate to those night time motorists who were lucky enough to be stayin' at John's Modern Cabins.

Hopefully if you get to travel down old Route 66 sometime, maybe the cabins will still be there. I did read somewhere that the current owners want to tear down the cabins, but so far they've left 'em standin'. Just another piece of our history, our roots, gone forever.

Just memories, down a lonely stretch of road.

Youn's come back dreckly now, ya hear?


justjoycee said...

Nice ole pics, I hope they leave em up too, lol to the out house comments, too funny and so true...have a great day, Joyce

Jodi said...

Not sure I could have lived in a day that there were only outhouses! Very interesting story and pics. I would love to travel The Mother Road someday!

I asked my husband about The Quiet Man and he hadn't seen it. Maybe we'll have to watch that sometime when we get a chance!

The Blonde Duck said...

Old cabins make me sad. I think of the people who lived there and how bad they must feel that their house is gone!

Darlene said...

It is too bad those little cabins haven't been kept up....sad.

I bet they could tell some stories!!!!

My New 30 said...

Gosh awful to see those cabins just fallin' to waste! Wouldn't you just love to have one in your backyard as a gardening shed? I would!!

I get creeped out goin' in my own backyard to take the puppy out at night, can't imagine having to use an outhouse. I'd be takin' a big dog with me LOL!!

Amy said...

Great post, so sad to see a part of history succumbing to decay...I want to travel down ol' Route 66 someday, our family loves to travel and explore. "If walls could talk"...ahhh, the stories they could tell! I use modern outhouses all the time at my kids' sports activities, never a 2 seater, although I usually have a kiddo with me!LOL

Jillian said...

Those cabins do look forlorn...the emptiness is sad. I'm with Amy..."If walls could talk"...ahhh, the stories they could tell!

Jillian said...

Those cabins do look forlorn...the emptiness is sad. I'm with Amy..."If walls could talk"...ahhh, the stories they could tell!

Sheryl said...

What a cool find. I would love to come visit. We would like to take our kids down to the Ozarks, if we do I'll email and try to get the location of these cabins from you.

Debbie said...

It would be great if someone could at least salvage those logs and rebuild some cabins. What a lost treasure.

noble pig said...

I love the stretch of road with the grass growing out of's so hopeless in a happy, mysterious way.

Donna-FFW said...

I hope they dont tear them down, such a nice nostalgic scene. They are quite charming. I so enjoyed looking at them, thanks for sharing this. I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

Punkn said...

Great post Reb. Wouldn't it be awesome to see some of those cabins rebuilt, maybe on the University grounds in Rolla, with the story of John's Modern Cabins? It is a part of our history soon to be forgotten :(

PS We had indoor toilets but I had cuzns who didn't. Yep, we're from the Ozarks.

Bo said...

Hi Rebel...Another great side trip with you....boy, if those walls or what's left of them could oh my...LOL
My grandmother had a 2 holer...and a Sears, Roebuck catalog to go with it...I don't ever remember any 2 people going at once though..
;-) Bo

Ms Cupcake said...

Good morning everybody! Have a wonderful fun Sunday from a fellow sitsa.

Checking in from Zen Cupcake

muddywaters said...

I do think about the stories that exist among such ruins. I let my wander a bit when I see a deserted Kansas farmhouse.

I'd like to spend some time documenting some of these homes and old barns before they're gone.

Housesitter said...

That is so cool! U know, I grew up with no running water either. I'm 27, but up to now, my stepfather uses an outhouse! I know a lot of people who still do, and yes, I've seen the two seater. It used to be great fun to sit with a cousin or friend and just go together. Talk about bonding time!

Robin Lynne said...

These photographs are great! I love the look of old run down buildings.. so much history and mystique.

I love the photo's of the kitties along the side, too :)

(My first time here - from SITS!)

Have a great day!

-Robin Lynne

PamperingBeki said...

Oh this makes me miss MO!!

PamperingBeki said...

Oh this makes me miss MO!!

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I have always dreamed of seeing some of the sites you described from Route 66. Seems like such an amazing part of history.

I'm with Debbie. It is sad that there isn't some way to salvage what once was.


Rebel said...

I'm glad youn's like the pictures. It is way too sad the way they've let them deteriorate. You would think with all the promotin' they do about Route 66 that they would want to save some of the buildin's, and I guess they have, just not these. I agree it's a shame they don't move the logs and rebuild a cabin or two.
I'm so glad you stopped by so you get a chance to at least see pictures of the old cabins and if anyone needs directions, just email me.

My New 30 said...

Hey Rebel! I sent you an email but thought that I would pop over and leave a comment just in case you checked here first.

You WON the giveaway!!

Please email a mailing address to me as soon as possible to mynew30 @ gmail. com so I can get your package out to you.

Congrats and thanks for being such a loyal reader and commenter for my blog!!! I was so happy to see your number come up as a winner.

Have a great rest of the week!


The Muse said...

They are poetic in their desolate state and yet...I feel an urge to revamp them into their glory days of old...


Great Shots, missy :)

The Wife O Riley said...

I have to follow you now! My husband Matt and I are HUGE Route 66 enthusiasts. We've done all of Illinois to St. Louis. We hope to do the whole thing, but it's hard with 2 small children.

I even have a tattoo of the Route 66 road sign, but instead of it saying Route it says Matt (my husband's name)

Rebel said...

So far Illinois is about the only state I haven't been on Route 66. I don't know why. I traveled on Route 66 when I was a kid goin' from MO to CA back and forth several times with my parents. And now CD and I travel on it as much as we can. i love all the old buildin's and towns. I even see some things that I remember seein' as a kid.

tipper said...

Loved this post!! Wish I could go back in time and peek through one of the windows and see what it was like-just not on the Halloween night you mentioned.

Robin said...

I love all your pictures......
We are just starting to see the signs of spring here. Lookin' forward to it in full bloom.

Hope you and your children have a beautiful day.

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