Route 66 News

Severe storms rake Lebanon, Rolla in Missouri

The storm systems that roared across the Midwest late Tuesday and early Wednesday — including one that caused fatalities in Harrisburg, Ill. — affected the Route 66 towns of Lebanon and Rolla in mid-Missouri.

Ramona Lehman, longtime co-owner of the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, said in a phone interview that no damage occurred at the Route 66 landmark.

However, she said nearly 30 businesses in Lebanon suffered damage, including the Tracker boat factory. The storm tossed around so much debris, she said, it forced the closure of one lane on Interstate 44.

The Lebanon Daily Record reported that five people suffered minor injuries.

The Rolla Daily News reported scattered damage in Rolla from the storm’s straight-line winds. A Conoco station on U.S. 63 on the town’s north side saw its main building heavily damaged. No injuries were reported in Rolla.

The Springfield News-Leader reported that the nearby music mecca of Branson — a side-trip destination for some Route 66 travelers — also saw widespread damage from a tornado.

Back in Lebanon, Lehman said she was unaware of any damage to other Route 66 landmarks in the city.

“The storm woke us up about a quarter to twelve. I was more concerned about hail,” she said. The motel in late 2010 restored its distinctive sign, and its neon tubing is vulnerable to hailstones.

“But we’re all fine,” Lehman said. “We got several emails from all over the country, wondering if their favorite motel was all right. When you hear that people are that concerned, it makes you feel good. You have to love the Route 66 community.”