Munger Moss Motel ~ Ozark Lodging

Your Home Away From Home on Route 66 ~

the Munger Moss Motel

The Munger Moss After Route 66

The Munger Moss Motel is more than just a roadside establishment, it is a living legacy to all that was ... and is Route 66.

Munger Moss in the 1950s

Then came 1971. The Lehmans, Bob and Ramona, and family moved to Lebanon, MO, from northeast Iowa. We had been down to Springfield, MO in April looking at motels. Winter had been very hard, and we were ready for a change. We came with a realtor from our part of the country. We spent a day looking at 4 different properties in Springfield. Was impressed with the area as a whole. On the way back, we stopped in Lebanon to look at another motel. While gassing up, met a local realtor at the station. He brought us over to the east end of Lebanon to Munger Moss Motel. We met Mr. Hudson, spent couple of hours looking at rooms and talking about the place... probably my first exposure to Highway 66. Was familiar because of the TV series starring Todd and Buzz. The location of Munger Moss Motel was East City Route 66, Lebanon, MO. About a week later, Bob and the realtor called Mr. Hudson and made an offer, and guess what ??... he accepted. Less than a month later, we had had a sale and packed up a trailer and boat, and started the trek down to the Missouri Ozarks.

Bob and Ramona Lehman

We had four children. Oldest, Mary Jo was going to be starting Jr. High. Youngest was 7. The night before we left, my four little ones and myself had ourselves a good cry. We were moving 450 miles. Away from all our friends, one set of grandparents. Didn't know a soul.. Scared, excited, scared.

But we made it. Took what looked like a house, had two family units in it, cut a door between the two and moved in lock stock and barrel. The boys loved the pool. Youngest had been so afraid of the water, he wouldn't even set foot in shallow water without a life jacket on. Two days later caught him diving off the deep end. I go running out, saying " aren't you afraid that you will drown?" His reply was "Can't drown in this water." Question "Why not?" "Because every time you go down, you come back up." End of discussion. We ended up with 4 fish that summer, but hey learned to help the maids by carrying out trash and linens.

The boys learned how to hide also. One day the maids had cleaned all the rooms but one - it had a Do Not Disturb sign on the outside. They called asking what to do. Advised to knock and open it up... guess what??.. inside were two boys watching TV.

We met lots of people traveling this road. After the first August, and our laundry bill was $2500.00. Bob decided that there had to be a way of saving money. So come the next spring, we invested in a big washing machine, 2 dryers, and 3 changes of linens. It's been that way ever since. We have washed one tremendous amount of sheets.

Munger Moss Color Postcard

Of course we had Grandpa and Grandma here too, so Bob and I were able to take off occasionally and travel to see relatives and friends. But one learned to put in long days. Birthdays were spent in the office of the motel... even some Christmases. We made lots of acquaintances, and some became good friends through the years. As years came and went, bigger chain motels were opened in this town. Every one took something away from the older ones. But you continue to survive.

Here at Munger Moss, we converted what were family units, to two room efficiencies. We now have 16, and this helps to pay the bills when traffic is slower in the wintertime.

Munger Moss Restaurant

The Munger Moss Bar-B-Que and then the restaurant really are what made the name Munger Moss famous. People always remembered a good place to eat, and the bar-b-que certainly was this. Expanding to become a full course restaurant also helped to give this place a special place in the history of Lebanon. It became the hangout of the teens in the 50's and 60's. Even in the 70's the noon customers was phenomenal. Working people could get in and out inside of a half-hour. They were taken care of, and day after day there were rows of cars from the restaurant down to the motel office. I remember Friday was Chow Mien or Salmon patty day. Simple but good home made food, served fast and efficient. Home made bread, was another specialty.

Munger Moss Restaurant

The old Munger Moss Restaurant in the 1950s was a popular place and always did a whopping business. This old post card from the 1950s attests to that fact.

The restaurant was sold in the late 70's. Quality and service was gone, so it didn't take long and the clientele was gone also. They tried making it a lounge and even that backfired on them. Several other parties tried restarting it, but it just never came back.

In the mid 90's a native Lebanonite was going to fix it up, but by the time he had removed several layers of the roof, it had structurally weakened the building and it had to come down. They saved the brick, and used them in facing the steel building that was erected on the restaurant site. It complemented the motel and made the place look good again. At present it is a church.

Restaurtant Tear Down

The end of an era ~ during the demolition of the old Munger Moss Restaurant the bricks were removed for salvage and in the process the original facade of the Munger Moss Restaurant was revealed again after so many decades.

Munger Moss Neon
The Munger Moss neon has been greeting travelers for more than 50 years.

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