Route 66 News

Devil’s Elbow Historic District, Piney Beach Cabins added to National Register

The Devil’s Elbow Historic District in the small Route 66 town of Devil’s Elbow, Missouri, recently was designated to the National Register of Historic Places.

On a related note, Piney Beach, aka Piney Beach Cabins, near Devil’s Elbow also was placed on the National Register.

An email Friday from the National Park Service confirmed the designations, both which took effect April 17.

The Devil’s Elbow  district encapsulates the addresses 12175, 12177 and 12198 Timber Road and 21050, 21104, 21141 and 21150 Teardrop Road (aka Route 66) in Devils Elbow. Properties associated with those addresses are the Miller’s Market/post office, McCoy’s store/hotel, Elbow Inn (formerly the Munger-Moss Sandwich Shop), site of the Devil’s Elbow Cafe, Hiawatha Lodge, Graham’s Camp, the Devils Elbow Bridge and Route 66.

According to the nominating petition:

The community is located on the north and south banks of the Big Piney River, connected by Devil’s Elbow Bridge, constructed in 1923. Surrounding the community is the Mark Twain National Forest. Devil’s Elbow Historic District incorporates buildings utilized commercially during the period of significance, 1926-1955. The period of significance begins with the origination of Route 66 as a federal highway (1926), extending through 1955, defined as the end of the road’s “golden years,” during which time Route 66 supported a postwar boom in tourism. Two buildings remain in use commercially — Miller’s Market and the Munger-Moss Sandwich Shop (currently Elbow Inn). Route 66 extends through the heart of the district, crossing Devil’s Elbow Bridge. Both the road (Route 66) and the bridge are contributing features of the district. Munger-Moss Sandwich Shop (Elbow Inn) is situated at the north end of the district; Graham’s Camp is the southernmost property in the district. […]

[…]  These properties continue to illustrate, very strongly, the impact of Route 66 and the original associations that the businesses had with the road in relation to tourism, as well as the years leading up to World War II when Fort Leonard Wood brought an economic boom to the region. The district additionally reflects the postwar years when Route 66 served as a tourist attraction. Although Pulaski County supported a new segment of Route 66 that bypassed the tiny community by the 1940s, tourists continued to frequent the original alignment, drawn to Devil’s Elbow for its curious name, beautiful landscape and lodging/dining options.

Properties listed on the National Register become eligible for federal projects, tax credits and grants for preservation.

In case you’re wondering about the town’s name, the Big Piney River contained a nasty bend, or “a devil of an elbow,” in that area that frustrated those trying to float logs or railroad ties down the river during the 19th century.

During the 1940s, the state called Devil’s Elbow “one of the seven beauty spots of Missouri” because of the river and the towering limestone bluffs. It’s still a gem today.

As for Piney Beach Cabins, its address is 12810 Tank Road, just off old Route 66. It’s often listed in Hooker, Devil’s Elbow or St. Robert, Missouri.

According to the nominating petition, it consists of seven Ozark stone cabins and an office constructed in 1952 by Riley Davenport.

Here’s a video by Pulaski County tourism:

(Image of the Devil’s Elbow Bridge in Devil’s Elbow, Missouri, in 2012 by JymPoiranges via Flickr; screen capture image of Piney Beach Cabins from Pulaski County USA video)


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