Restored Camp Joy cabin dedicated at Lebanon Park

The last surviving cabin of Camp Joy was dedicated Saturday at Boswell Park in Lebanon, Missouri, during the Lebanon Route 66 Festival.

Volunteers spent four months restoring the cabin, which once stood in the long-gone Camp Joy complex along a fledgling Route 66 in Lebanon.

The Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society website posted some details about the dedication and Camp Joy’s history:

About 100 gathered in front of the cabin for the late-morning ceremony, which featured plaque presentations to businessman Lee Sing, who donated the cabin to the Route 66 Society, and Mayor Jared Carr and City Administrator Mike Schumacher, whose support made the project possible. Bruce Owen of the Route 66 Society, who was the driving force behind the project, was surprised with a plaque.

Volunteers who dedicated the most time to the project were recognized.

Camp Joy, located across from where the Cowan Civic Center is today, was founded by the Spears family in 1927, one year after the gravel road through Lebanon was designated Route 66. All four children of Joy Spears Fishel, who was named after Camp Joy, and several other Spears and Fishel relatives were present for the ceremony. All got their first look at the cabin since work was completed.

Here’s a look at the interior of the restored cabin:

Here is a story from May when workers lowered the restored cabin onto a park knoll overlooking Route 66.

Sing, owner of Sing Rental in Lebanon, owned the cabin but donated it on the spot to the society earlier this year once he learned of its historical significance.

The cabin is 16 feet square, although Sing said it appears originally to have been 12 by 16 feet, with a 4-foot addition for a bathroom.

The Spears family eventually built cabins on their 4-acre site in Lebanon and added a Sinclair gas station. Among its most famous overnight guests were outlaws Bonnie & Clyde and Pretty Boy Floyd and singer Tex Ritter.

(Images of the dedication of the restored Camp Joy cabin and its interior via

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