Are you looking for the perfect escape in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains? Get to know Pulaski County USA! We are a rural, uncrowded destination that is packed with small town charm & Americana!
Tourists know us as a relaxing place to reconnect with their soldiers-in-training after their military graduation at Fort Leonard Wood!
Travelers know us as a perfect overnight stop on their Route 66 journey across America. They love the scenic beauty and tie-rafting history of Devils Elbow- an award-winning Route 66 location. They love Frog Rock and the fascinating history of Waynesville– the birthplace of the byway!
Visitors know us as a perfect place to reconnect with family in our outdoor settings and landscapes. Paddlers love Pulaski County for our unspoiled rivers.
Anglers seek out Pulaski County for our uncrowded trout fishing- steps away from downtown dining, antiquing, and shopping.
Easy to get to!
Pulaski County is easy to get to! Centrally located along Interstate 44 we are the midpoint of the highway between Saint Louis and Joplin. Commercial jet service to Pulaski County is available through Contour Airlines.
Check into a modern rustic or upscale boutique hotel in Saint Robert. Vacation rentals, cabins, and bed and breakfasts can be found throughout Pulaski County’s small towns and rural areas. Or become one with Mother Nature at a cabin at a bucolic Ozarks resort. Picking out the perfect place to stay during your Pulaski County getaway is half the fun! We are here to help you with that!
Antique, Explore, & Nosh Your Way Through Our Ozark Mountain Landscape
Antiques are worth traveling for! Add flea markets, thrift stores, gift shops, and sweet treats into the mix and you have the recipe for a memorable weekend experience! Our 2-day antiquing itinerary is a useful guide full of helpful suggestions to plan your Pulaski County antiquing adventure!
Treasures can be found around every bend of our Antiques & Sweet Treat Trail! Unique experiences, community art, mouthwatering meals, fascinating history, and amazing views are plentiful along the trail. The trail meanders along Pulaski County’s country backroads to uncrowded, Ozark Mountain small towns with quirky charm.
Wile away the day wandering into our storefronts. Poke through every corner of our antique stores. Discover colorful murals. Browse an art gallery. Shop at unique boutiques. Soak up Waynesville’s unique history as you stroll the Square. Lose yourself in the nostalgic Americana that defines Route 66. Indulge your taste buds at our Mom & Pop restaurants. Indulge your sweet tooth at our coffee shops, cupcakerys, and creameries.
A Memorable Weekend Experience!
You will need a full weekend to antique, explore, and nosh your way through our Antique & Sweet Trail. Clean and comfortable lodging options are clustered in Saint Robert. Airbnbs and rustic Ozarks resorts dot the countryside throughout Pulaski County. Consider three overnights while planning. We recommend traveling to Pulaski County Thursday evening and departing on Sunday morning.
Our suggested two-day antiquing itinerary will inspire your travel plans. This is not a complete list of everything to discover in Pulaski County. Make your weekend plans perfect for you by customizing your antiquing adventure exploring Pulaski County. Our merchants and restaurateurs are flexible. Their hours may change. It pays to call ahead to confirm hours for the locations that interest you most.
Journey along the tracks of the former Frisco Railroad. Two-lane Highway 133 twists though gentle rolling hills of rural, agricultural landscape. It connects the country towns of Dixon, Crocker, and Richland. All these communities, and the “ghost towns” you will stumble across along your route, sprang to life in 1869 as the railroad laid its path across northern Pulaski County.
Dixon & Crocker: Railroad Boomtowns
Rummage through Whatever Antiques and Collectibles (215 West 2nd Street, Dixon, 573-528-5267). This store is stuffed with tchotchkes, retro furniture, housewares and more. Chat up owners Wanda, Harry, and Aunt Flo during your visit!
Thrift shop aficionados will want to add Dixon Area Caring Center Thrift Shop (206 South Elm Street, Dixon, 573-759-3023) to their tour. Yard-sale type pricing makes shopping here even more enticing. Your purchases here also give back to the less fortunate in the Dixon area.
Before leaving Dixon to travel to Crocker grab an old-fashioned Cherry Malt at Johnson’s Snackette (711 West 5th Street, Dixon, 573-759-7710) to savor along the way!
Triple Creek Antiques (616 North Commercial Street, Crocker, 573-480-9855) is a welcoming antique store full of needful things. TCA also specializes in primitives.
“Love this place! Charming little store that has all the little extras that you drive outta your way for! Great smelling candles and lots of antiques! And they give you a cup of coffee while you’re walking around!”
Steve S. via Google
The Holt House (15749 Beaufort Road, Crocker, 573-736-2060) is slightly off the beaten path. You will be rewarded with a great variety of items at reasonable prices.
Before continuing west on Highway 133 dip south on Highway 17 toBear Ridge Antiques (17984 Highway 17 North, Crocker, 573-736-5858). This beautifully staged antique mall is home to 65 dealers. Treasures overflow in vendor booths that are frequently updated, clean, and inviting. Be sure to forage through the outdoor storage compartments. Many of them have been set up as booths. Tell Dee we sent you!
“This place is fantastic. A must-stop for tourists and locals alike. I stop in about once a month and always find something cool. Nothing is overpriced, and you could spend hours in there before you’ve seen everything. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is great.”
Samantha S. via Yelp
Richland: Entrepreneurs Since 1869
After leaving Bear Ridge backtrack north to Highway 133 West and continue to Richland. Grab a quick bite at The Burger Stand (101 West Pulaski Street, Richland, 573-765-3028). Try the Mr. Neal Burger! This local favorite is a bacon cheeseburger with double bacon and cheese, topped with jalapenos and a fried egg. TBS does not have indoor seating so be prepared to dine at one of their shaded picnic tables. Those with an eye for vintage signs will recognize The Burger Stand’s sign as a rare “Curly The Clown” Dairy Queen sign dating to the mid-1950s
“Just tried their burgers for the first time. Lady said they had the best burgers around and she wasn’t kidding. She steered me through the many choices on the menu and I settled for the Mr. Neal. It was excellent!!!”
PJ P. via Google
Next up is Penaroyal Antiques & Collectibles (201 South Walnut Street, Richland, 573-855-3259) operated by Penny and Roy Peterson. Housed side-by-side in an old Victorian home and a charming bungalow PA&C offers gifts, primitives, & antiques. You will find miniatures, furniture, and everything in between at Penaroyal.
Die-cast collectible fans must treat themselves at Final Stop Die-cast Collectibles & More (231 South Pine Street, Richland, 573-855-4828). FSDCCM specializes in Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightning, Green Light, M2, and Ertl products. This store is guaranteed to bring out the kid in everyone!
Practically next door you will discover The Brick Emporium (219 South Pine, Richland, 573-765-7990). Located in a restored brick storefront, the Myers family offers fresh sandwiches, coffee, ice cream old-fashioned candies, glass-bottled sodas, Amish bulk goods and spices, handcrafted items, antiques and more.
Just across the street from The Brick Emporium is Sanctuary Quilts and Coffee (111 South Pine, Richland, 573-855-8300). Housed in the architecturally blessed former Methodist Church, SC&Q has made a name for themselves with an abundant selection of fantastic coffee and an impressive quilting room.
A trip to Richland would not be complete without exploring H.E. Warren Store (Pine & McClurg, Richland, 573-765-3381). Founded by Captain Henry Ernest Warren in 1869, Richland’s oldest business is still owned and operated by the Warren family 150+ years later.
Missouri Wines & International Flavors
Round out your day by relaxing before dinner on the comfy couches with a glass of Missouri wine at Cellar 66 Restaurant and Wine Bar (115 North Benton Street, Waynesville, 573-528-7675). Or sample award-winning craft beers that celebrate life in the Ozarks at Piney River Taproom (326 Historic Route 66 East, Waynesville, 573-432-2739).
Today’s suggested itinerary guides you to locations on and near the most nostalgic highway in America- Route 66! The famous Mother Road was commissioned in 1926. It incorporated former Missouri Highway 14 which was the main east-west road in Pulaski County at the time. We recommend grabbing a copy of the Historic Driving Tours and the Waynesville Walking Tour brochures to accompany you. They are both available, free of charge, at Pulaski County Tourism Bureau & Visitors Center (137 St. Robert Boulevard, Suite A, Saint Robert, 573-336-6355).
After a refreshing night’s sleep at one of Pulaski County’s clean, comfortable lodging options begin your day by grabbing a handmade premium donut from Lamb’s Donuts (115 Gateway Circle, Saint Robert, 573-336-3368.) Or dive into a classic diner breakfast at Route 66 Diner (126 St. Robert Boulevard, Saint Robert, 573-336-8989).
Let the browsing begin at Purrfect Treasures Thrift Shop (996 Missouri Avenue, Saint Robert, 573-842-9182). Shopping here will make you feel warm and fuzzy- all proceeds benefit Kitten Division Adoption Center (and their sister organization Puppy Division) in supporting the cats and dogs in their care.
Follow Missouri Avenue to its junction with Interstate 44 and head east to Exit 169/J Highway. This is the beginning of the Route 66 self-guided tour through Pulaski County. The brochure will be your roadmap for your antiquing-itinerary throughout Day Two of your trip.
Route 66: America’s Mother Road
Uranus Fudge Factory and General Store(14400 Highway Z, Saint Robert, 573-336-8758) Those who appreciate a bawdy sense of humor enthusiastically describe Uranus as a must-stop on Route 66. Owned by over-the-top Route 66 personality Louie Keen, the stop is a nod to the tourist traps along the highway during its heyday. Shop for fresh fudge, nostalgic candy, and novelties. Indulge in a funnel cake from Moonicorn Creamery & Funnel Cakery. Peruse strange oddities and circus memorabilia at the Sideshow Museum.
Talbot House Antiques, Collectables & Gifts (405 North Street, Waynesville, 573-774-6096) is housed in one of Waynesville’s oldest surviving homes. Proprietor Keith Osborne will regale you with the building’s history. This location has twelve rooms to peruse and is styled by Osborne as “a museum of things.”
Hop over to Hoppers Pub (318 Historic 66 East, Waynesville, 573-774-0135) for lunch! Their menu is packed with pub grub favorites and 66 beers on tap. Or, have a taste of Bavaria at Ursula’s Schnitzelhaus (311 North Street, Waynesville, 573-774-8422). If you happened to bring a cooler stock up on European sausages, cheeses, and chocolates from Ursula’s on-site deli.
“My lunch was comprised of Goulash and authentic German cold cuts, cheese, salad just like you find either in Frankfurt a.m. or Stuttgart. The owner and her son were very outgoing and helpful. We drove 200 miles to have lunch here, it was perfect. Going to go back soon.”
David W. via Facebook
Lost in the Woods Antiques & Collectibles (218B Historic Route 66 East, Waynesville, 573-433-2855) is veteran-owned and features uptown antiques in downtown Waynesville! 1950s music plays on their Wurlitzer and free hot coffee is provided for you while you browse. Vintage vinyl junkies know to stop at Lost in the Woods Antiques & Collectibles!
Downtown Waynesville: Cozy & Cordial
While in downtown Waynesville explore the 1903 Courthouse Museum (On the Square, Waynesville, limited hours, April-September) and the Old Stagecoach Stop (105 North Lynn Street, Waynesville, limited hours, April-September). Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and operate small gift shops on site. Be sure to pop into Just Because (Roubidoux Plaza, on the Square, Waynesville, 573-774-4995), an all-occasion gift basket store and Eclectic Originals (225 Historic Route 66 East, Waynesville, 573-337-2494).
“This boutique is a real charmer! Ms. Cheryl keeps the shop well-stocked with products made in Missouri and has a nice selection of items (including jewelry) made by local artisans. Go to Eclectic Originals! You won’t be disappointed!”
Laura H. via Google
An art gallery featuring works by artists from eight different states might seem out of place in most small towns. However, that is certainly not the case when America’s Mother Road brings travelers from around the globe to your front door, as it does in Waynesville. Curator Jackie Welborn opened Route 66 Community Art Gallery (107B Historic 66 East, Waynesville, 573-528-1282) in 2017. The gallery now features works by over 25 different artists and is considered a “must-stop” by many Route 66 enthusiasts.
For an afternoon pick-me-up feed your dragon with coffee and muffins or pies at Drachenfutter (307 Historic Route 66 West, Waynesville, 573-232-1402). Loaf bread and mulling spices are also available.
“What a great place! The last time I had a coffee this delicious was at a coffee shop in Taos, NM. I love coffees with cayenne, and their Dragon’s Breath coffee does not disappoint. The cozy atmosphere of Drachenfutter and their delicious brew is going to make me a regular customer.
Anastasia P. via Facebook
Feel-Good Shopping & Comfort Food
For more feel-good thrift shopping stop at Good Samaritan of the Ozarks Thrift Store (1809 Historic Highway 66 West, Waynesville, 573-774-5113). Proceeds from the thrift store aid victims of domestic violence.
Close out your afternoon at Route 66 Flea Market (25845 Highway AB, Richland, 573-765-5323) and Gascozark Flea Market (30570 Highway AB, Richland, 573-433-0284). Don’t let the Richland addresses confuse you. Both flea markets are on Historic Route 66. Your self-guided driving tour brochure will lead you to them.
At the junction of Highway AB and Interstate 44 head east to Saint Robert for dinner. For a taste of the Ozarks try Sweetwater B-B-Q (14076 Highway Z, Saint Robert, 573-336-8830). Other local favorites include Route 66 Taco & Wing Company (946 Missouri Avenue, Suite 1, Saint Robert, 573-232-1399) and Z Loft Bar & Grill (127 Vickie Lynn Lane, Saint Robert, 573-336-7828).
Virtual racing can never replace the sights, sounds, and smells of live, action packed, racing. Plan your weekend to central Missouri for the Show Me State Showdown for an action packed night of LIVE racing!
Billed as “one of the biggest races to ever happen at Lebanon I-44 Speedway” the “Show Me State Showdown” will feature 300 laps of feature racing with drivers coming from all over the country. It will also mark the return to Lebanon I-44 Speedway of Super Late Models for the first time since 2001. Tickets went on sale May 14th, 2020 at 2PM.
The ARCA/CRA Super Series will run 125 laps, the JEGS/CRA All Stars Tour will go 100 laps, and the Van Hoy Oil CRA Street Stocks will run 75 laps.
While pre-registration for drivers has just begun, some big names are already starting to roll in, led by Senoia, GA’s Bubba Pollard. 2019 Snowball Derby winner Travis Braden has entered the event to compete in both the Super race and the Pro race, as has Texas competitor Chris Davidson. Former NASCAR Truck Series regular Cody Coughlin is entered for both events, while Michigan’s Brian Campbell will be a frontrunner in the Super Late Model portion of the event.
Plentiful lodging accommodations for race fans can be found in Saint Robert, Missouri. Saint Robert is an easy 27-minute interstate drive from the track. 22 clean comfortable hotels offer variety for all budgets. Make your room reservation today! For those seeking a cabin, vacation home or camping options we have those too!
As you plan your race weekend, be sure to check out all the great things to see and do in our area. Stop by our communities while enjoying our Ozark scenery while taking one of our self guided driving tours. Knock around our flea market and antique shops located throughout the communities of Crocker, Dixon and Richland. Take a stroll around downtown Waynesville while learning about this historic town. Snap a picture of Frog Rock as you head to St. Robert for a laughing good time at the Uranus Entertainment Complex be sure to stop by the Freedom Rock tribute to our service members. Another must do activity is booking a gentle river float with one of our many outfitters. A day on the river soothes the soul!
For further information on lodging options for the “Show Me State Showdown” contact Pulaski County Tourism Bureau at 573-336-6355.
Pulaski County is a not-so-hidden gem on the crown of Route 66 bridges. Three bridges are distinct ties to the promise and heyday of Route 66. The 1923 Devils Elbow Bridge over the Big Piney River predates Route 66. When it was constructed the roadbed was signed as Missouri Highway 14. The 1942 Devils Elbow Arch Bridge also crosses the Big Piney River, 2,800 feet downstream from her older sibling. Rounding out the trio of historic Route 66 bridges in Pulaski County is the 1923 Roubidoux Bridge in Waynesville. It was also built as an improvement to (then) Missouri Highway 14.
A trio of historic bridges still carry Route 66travelers over Pulaski County, Missouri rivers.
1923 Devils Elbow Steel Bridge
It’s curved approach makes this bridge unique. The fate of the 1923 Devils Elbow Bridge was questioned for years. Missouri Department of Transportation relinquished control of the bridge to Pulaski County after it was bypassed by a newer bridge. Drawing mainly local traffic and Route 66 enthusiasts, the bridge continued to deteriorate until a solid plan to rehabilitate the bridge was finalized.
The 1923 Devils Elbow bridge closed to all traffic October 2013 and re-opened May 2014. Today, the bridge is like new. Strong, sturdy, and safe and ready to carry travelers from around the globe across the river. The refurbished bridge has reenergized the village of Devils Elbow.
1942 Devils Elbow Arch Bridge
The 1942 Devils Elbow Arch Bridge was designed by the Missouri State Highway Commission. Composed of three open spandrel arches and five arched girder approach spans, it was constructed by Maxwell Construction Company.
Maxwell Construction Company constructed almost a dozen, if not more, bridges in Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri between 1912 and 1942. They were also the company that constructed the Pikes Peak through truss bridge between Waynesville and Crocker on Highway 17 in 1932. After completing the 1942 Devils Elbow Arch Bridge the company was paid $47,707.00.
Federal financial sources played an important role in the construction of this bridge. Money was made available through the Strategic Highway Fund and the Emergency Relief Fund, both byproducts of World War II. The open spandrel design was used frequently by the Missouri State Highway Department between 1920 and the early 1940s.
According to HAER Inventory- Missouri Historic Bridge Inventory, regarding open spandrel bridges, this bridge has “one of the longest spans of those identified by the statewide bridge inventory.” The report also states that that due to the late construction date that the bridge has “no noteworthy technological significance.”
However, in a National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form prepared by Ruth Keenoy and Terri Foley they state that “concrete open spandrel arch bridges signify one of the great engineering accomplishments of early twentieth century bridge construction” and further states that “the Big Piney River Bridge is an excellent example”. The 1942 Devils Elbow Arch Bridge is unchanged from its original construction.
1923 Roubidoux Bridge
The 1923 Roubidoux Bridge was also designed by the Missouri State Highway Commission in 1922 to carry traffic across the Roubidoux on Missouri State Highway 14. Missouri Highway 14 was later designated as Highway 66.
Builder Koss Construction Company of Des Moines, Iowa was paid $44,035.00 for their work after completion. Koss Construction Company constructed almost a dozen, if not more, bridges in Missouri, Iowa, Alabama, Minnesota, and Michigan. At least two of their bridges, Galena Y Bridge in Stone County, Missouri and Mendota Bridge over the Minnesota River in Dakota County, Minnesota have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
This bridge is a closed, or filled concrete spandrel bridge, a variation of the concrete bridge design that was often used by Missouri State Highway Department in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. This bridge, along with the Meramec River Bridge in Crawford County were the only two remaining examples of this bridge type in a five span formation when the Historic American Engineering Record completed its Missouri Historic Bridge Inventory. The Meramec River Bridge on Highway 19 was lost in 2000, leaving this bridge in downtown Waynesville as the lone survivor.
The 1923 Roubidoux Bridge was widened in 1939 when the bridge was 16 years old and has had no further alterations in the following 80 years.
More Than Just Bridges
The historic bridges on Route 66 in Pulaski County are more than just bridges. These bridges are links, connecting Chicago to Los Angeles and also connecting travelers from around the world to tangible Americana in the largest open air-museum in the United States.
This article first appeared in 2014. Thank You to Jim Ross, author of “Route 66 Crossings: Historic Bridges of the Mother Road”; Terry Primas of the Old Stagecoach Stop, and http://www.bridgehunter.com for their contributions.
Missouri will reopen economic and social activity on May 4th under Governor Mike Parson’s “Show Me Strong Recovery” plan. Pulaski County Tourism Bureau’s Visitors Center will reopen, with limited services, May 4th as part of this plan. We will resume our normal hours of operation to serve travelers, tourists, and visitors Monday-Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Pulaski County has always been a “Welcome Place in America’s Heartland” and we continue this core philosophy.
We believe that a getaway to our charming, small communities in the Ozark Mountain region is a perfect way to reintroduce your family to travel and exploration. We invite you to stop by our Visitors Center (137 St. Robert Blvd., Saint Robert, Missouri) when you arrive in Pulaski County.
Visitors Center Procedures
For the safety of our tourists, travelers, visitors, and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pulaski County Tourism Bureau & Visitors Center is instituting the following procedures until further notice:
Visitors may choose to use our curbside Tourist Information service.
One travel party at a time will be allowed to enter.
Visitors will be greeted just inside the door at the Welcome Table.
Visitors will be asked to voluntary provide information to assist in contact tracing IF THE NEED ARISES. (Information is collected only for notification of possible COVID-19 related concerns. Information will not be used for any other reason.)
A Visitors Center Representative will determine the travel information needed, gather the information, and present the bag of information for you to continue your visit to Pulaski County or travel throughout the state of Missouri.
Restroom facilities: One restroom has been designated as the Family Restroom. One adult and child may enter to use the restroom or two adults from the same travel party.
Retail Room: One visitor may enter the retail area.
Visitor Center Representatives will apply hand sanitizer prior to gathering travel literature.
Welcome Table and interior/exterior door handles will be disinfected upon travel party departure.
The Family Restroom will be disinfected upon travel party departure.
Point-of-Sale equipment is electronic. Signing instrument will be disinfected after every use.
Employee Guidelines for Visitor Safety
While interacting with visitors Pulaski County
Tourism Bureau & Visitor Center staff will wear masks.
Staff are required to stay within a 60-mile
radius of the Visitors Center. Travel outside the 60-mile radius will be
reported to supervisor.
Staff will not come to work sick.
Pulaski County businesses are open. Remain cognizant of social distancing and cleanliness for yourself and others. Masks are encouraged.
Please be advised to call ahead to determine availability of businesses you plan to visit. Due to varying community requirements, or business owner ability, full services may not be available. Many of these services are changing daily.
Pulaski County Tourism Bureau & Visitors Center will continue to monitor the situation and will tighten or relax procedures as needed.