Route 66 News

Fire destroys St. Clair museum

A fire Sunday night destroyed a century-old building in downtown St. Clair, Mo., that housed the St. Clair Historical Museum, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Washington Missourian.

The museum at 280 Hibbard St. stood about two blocks south of Route 66, and it housed a Route 66 exhibit. The building previously was an Odd Fellows lodge.

KTVI-TV in St. Louis had a video report.

The tour director Patsy Todd gave the Post-Dispatch an inventory of what was lost in the fire:

A doctor’s bag, stethoscope and pill bottles from a physician who made housecalls and delivered 5,000 babies in the early 1900s. Indian artifacts. Old schoolhouse pictures. An old hoosier cabinet and washboard in a kitchen from 1928. An original $10 confederate bill. A 1913 bank ledger and the desk the first bank president sat in.

Mementos from the International Shoe Factory that was built in town in 1923. The town had raised money to build the factory. Women baked pies to auction. The original time clock used at the shoe factory and some shoes from that era burned in the fire.

The Route 66 display burned up, too. It was along a wall about nine feet long and included a glass case with photographs of businesses along what had been a gravel road. One restaurant had a sign advertising a chicken and dumplings dinner for 75 cents. […]

She added: “I’m just crying and praying that we can get another place and rebuild.”

A firefighter suspected a squirrel chewed through an electrical wire in the attic, causing the fire.

The Post-Dispatch also had a slide show of the blaze and firefighters trying to salvage historical items.

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