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Route 66 State Park Visitor Center

Route 66 State Park, Eureka, MO
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The former Bridgehead Inn is now the Route 66 State Park Visitor Center. The Bridgehead Inn was built in 1935 at the east end of the 1931 Meramec River Bridge. It is located just off I-40, Exit 266 and then go west on N. Outer Rd.

When it was new the Bridgehead Inn included a bar, a dance floor and on the second floor, some overnight guest rooms. Edward Steinberg bought the property in 1946 and renamed it Steiny's Inn. Then in 1972 it became the Bridgehead Inn again when William Klecka and his wife purchased the place. In 1980 it became they Galley West which closed a few years later. Some of the time between 1980 and 1997 when it was turned over to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to become a park it was used by the federal EPA as office space. Now it is the Route 66 State Park Visitor Center.

The very cool neon sign for the long gone Sylvan Beach Restaurant is one of the many interesting things on display at the Visitor Center.

The key shaped neon sign for the Keys Twin Bridges Cafe is on display outside the visitor center. The cafe was named for both the owners, Noble and Nellie Key, and the cafe's location near the Twin Bridges on Route 66 in Franklin County.

The visitor center is located on the east side of the Meramec River. That might seem a little odd since most of the park is located on the site of the town of Times Beach on the west side of the river. But the bridge right outside the front door of the Inn connected the two parts of what became the State Park.

The entire town of Times Beach was demolished and all the residents relocated because of the discovery of serious Dioxin contamination in the early 1980s. The cleanup of the Times Beach site took until 1997 and the EPA used the old Bridgehead building as an office during the cleanup. When the cleanup was completed the town site and the Bridgehead property were turned over to the state and eventually became the Route 66 State Park. At the time the Meramec River Bridge still provided direct access to the park on the west side of the river.

Photo(s): 2017

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x About Us We started traveling Historic U.S. Route 66 as a destination in 2009. It's like a 2,400 mile long drive back in time from Chicago to Santa Monica! more
xDid You Know: Many parts of the old 4 lane Route 66 were reverted to a 2 lane road after 66 was realigned to the interstate. In many places the abandoned lanes are still there.