Munger Moss Motel ~ Ozark Lodging

Your Home Away From Home on Route 66 ~

the Munger Moss Motel

History of the Munger Moss Motel

Bob and Ramona Lehman have owned and operated the Munger Moss Motel for over thirty years. Ramona tells the tale of this historic place...

Elbow Inn
The Elbow Inn was once the
Munger Moss Sandwich Shop.

The Munger Moss originally was a barbecue place located on the Big Piney River at Devil's Elbow, just east of Ft. Leonardwood, MO. It was started in the late 30's or early 40's. A couple by the name of Munger ran it, Mr. Munger passed away, and Mrs. Munger remarried a gentleman by the name of Emmett Moss. Hence Munger Moss Sandwich shop came to life. It became very famous for its' barbecue recipe, and was known up and down Highway 66 as such. Don't know for sure when the Hudson's took over the barbecue place, but do know it was war years. The tale is that it took all day for a truck loaded with an airplane to go from the bottom of the hill to the top out of Devil's Elbow. That was when they started cutting down the big hill that you see in the postcards known as the Hooker Cut.

Devil's Elbow Bridge

When that 4-lane road opened up, the business at the Munger Moss Barbecue died. The Hudson's wasted no time. They started looking for a suitable place to relocate too. Highway 66 was booming, what with the war and travelers. Just east of Lebanon was a 4-acre parcel of land with a restaurant and filling station. The restaurant was known as Chicken Shanty. Across the road was Green Gables (four cabins) and next door was the Rock Court. The Hudson's were able to purchase this land late summer of 1945. They brought the barbecue recipe with them - so a new Munger Moss Barbecue came to Lebanon.

Munger Moss in 1946

In 1946 the motel was built and opened. There were 14 cabins with garages in between the rooms. Those were very busy days for the Hudsons. They worked day and night it seemed. Some of the tales are that the lumber was black market lumber. Remember rationing days were still in existence. Mr. Hudson would stay hid, for if the feds could not find the owner, they could not stop the construction. Jessie once stated that she went to St. Louis to one of the big department stores, and was escorted out because she had asked to purchase a case of toilet paper... Things like sugar were hard to come by. All meat was ordered through a salesman, and then brought in by the train. Depot would call.... come get your meat.

Munger Moss on Route 66
Munger Moss Motel was going strong in the late 1940s on Route 66!

Like I said the Hudson's worked hard... as business kept getting better, the motel was expanded... more units were built, and eventually the spaces between the cabins were filled in. Then comes more talk of 4 lane highways. It was in 1957 that the four-lane was opened that by passed the city. Again fears that business would die loomed in the background. But the day came that the highway was opened. The highway department had not connected the road by the motel to the business loop yet. Mr. Hudson went down to the corner with plank to put across the ditch.... painted a sign that said Munger Moss with an arrow pointing down toward the motel. It was on a Saturday night, and he said they came around just like clockwork.. Munger Moss was not going to be by passed.. it would survive.

Munger Moss Post Card

The next few years were spent making plans for the expansion of Munger Moss. The restaurant was sold to Jim Sponseller and his mother Iva. They became known for their heavy bread, the famous Thousand Island Dressing, Cherry Cream Pie and good old German Chocolate Cake. Mr. Hudson built the first pool in Lebanon. We still use it today. He told us he had to dynamite it out. Used old mattresses to cover the ground so that the explosions would not throw rocks and break windows.

26 more units were opened up in 1961. The tile in these rooms is predominantly blue... bigger squares.. says a little different era.

1930s Conoco Map

This 1930s vintage Conoco Map shows both Lebanon and Devil's Elbow on old Route 66. This map was made before the Hooker Cut was blasted through, by-passing Devil's Elbow. During the 1930s it appears speeding was a real problem in Missouri as evidenced by the Maximum Speed on Highways found on the back of this old map.

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