The building that once housed the Midway restaurant at old Route 66 and Missouri Highway 19 in Cuba, Mo., soon will be demolished, reported the Cuba Free Press.
The Midway started as a small cafe in the 1930s and kept expanding. The newspaper article makes it clear that the restaurant was a focal point of the community, and important to cross-country travelers as well.
Mrs. Earls sold the restaurant to Dan Harris in 1974, so that she could travel with her husband. When the new owner asked for the keys, she said, “What keys?” The doors had never closed for 38 years, and there were no keys. Later, Harris sold the business to Junior Beers, who took over for a short time until St. Louis Blues hockey star Noel Picard and his family bought the business in 1976.
While Noel Picard and his wife Viviane owned the business it was visited by Blues players, as well as St. Louis football and baseball players. There was a cafeteria, dining room, cocktail lounge, and a meeting room. The Picard kids, Danny and Annie, often worked after school at the restaurant. The Picards hosted special events for the community and threw a New Year’s Eve party for 150 people.
The building was purchased in 1984 and converted into a business mall. The structure has sat empty for several years, mostly because of problems with mold and asbestos.
The Cuba Mural City blog contains plenty of history, too, as well as a bunch of vintage photographs and recent images of the building’s decline.
A final word from the Free Press about the Midway:
Many are sad to see the old building lose its way and be demolished, but many of the community were lucky enough to hear the music, drink the inexpensive cokes, and forge friendships and loves there that lasted a lifetime. The Midway will live on as long as there are people left to reminisce about what the old building meant to them.