CELEBRATE THE OZARKS: Munger Moss celebrates more than 70 years on Historic Route 66 in Lebanon

LEBANON, Mo. A small roadside diner and gas station was the start of what has now become a Historic Route 66 destination in Lebanon.

The Munger Moss Motel opened decades ago and still welcomes travelers on their journey across the country from all over the world.

Nellie Munger and her husband Emmitt Moss started with a sandwich and barbecue restaurant in Devil's Elbow.

When business slowed down they sold the business to Jessie and Pete Hudson. They moved it to Lebanon in 1945. That's when construction on the cabins started.

Nearly 73 years later, Ramona Lehman is continuing the 'home away from home' legacy of the motel.

Just off Interstate 44, around the corner from the exit ramp, sits a motel that seems to exist in a different time and place.

"We came here and took over, signed papers June the first 1971. It wasn't a Route 66 thing. It was an interstate thing.
It was just people traveling, going one place to another. It was more like salesmen out on the road and stuff like that," said Lehman.

However, when Route 66 did become a thing, people started flocking to the Munger Moss Motel.

"Here comes people looking. Well where did it go through your town? Which way did it go through your town? Well where is it? This kind of thing," she said.

She said it's important to maintain the history of the motel.

"I was one who preserved. I kept everything the way it was. I like old stuff," she explained.

She gave us a quick peek at some of her favorite rooms and read comments from guest book signed by visitors from around the world.

"Very unique place. Enjoyed all pictures. Nice bed. Unique, pink bathtub. That's Nellie Munger Moss. She stepped out of a pick up and she had a holster on her hip honey," she said.

Lehman said she's proud to be a part of Route 66 history.

"I have a goal. I want to be here fifty years so I've got two to go," she said.

We asked, "What happens after that?"

"Oh I might have a big party," she said.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.