Ramona Lehman always wanted a big party to celebrate her 50th anniversary as owner of the iconic Munger Moss Motel. And Saturday night she got it.
The party also celebrated the 75th anniversary of the motel itself.
With an audience that included dozens of Route 66 “roadies” from all over America, all attired in maroon Munger Moss-anniversary T-shirts, Ramona was honored with a Missouri House resolution presented by State Rep. Suzie Pollock, a 75th-anniversary plaque from the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society and, also from the Route 66 Society, a giant anniversary cake depicting the famous Munger Moss sign, including working lights.
“I thank you all for being here,” Ramona told the crowd. “This was always a dream for me — the 50th anniversary.”
The motel was sold out for the weekend. Motel guests enjoyed a barbecued-pork dinner compliments of their host. A cruise-in of classic cars filled the parking lot. The Laclede County Shrine Club served funnel cakes and snow cones. Kids played on inflatables.
Before and after the presentations and serving of the cake, the band Blue Collar Kings performed on the patio.
Route 66 Society Vice President Mike Boggs presented the plaque and the cake. Board member Gary Sosniecki, who read a brief history of the Munger Moss, teased Ramona if she had a new goal of 57 years, the length that the late Dean Elmore owned Lebanon’s Orchard Hills Package Store on Route 66.
“I’m not quitting,” Ramona replied.
The history read by Sosniecki:
“The Munger Moss Motel started out as the Munger Moss Sandwich Shop on in Devil’s Elbow in the 1930s. During the 1940s, Pete and Jessie Hudson bought the business and relocated to Lebanon after Devil’s Elbow was bypassed by a new alignment of Route 66. In 1946, Pete Hudson obtained financing to build a tourist court. Seven stucco buildings went up — two cabins on each end — and the Munger Moss Motor Court was born. On June 1, 1971, — 50 years ago this month — Bob and Ramona Lehman purchased the Munger Moss and turned it into the internationally known Route 66 landmark that it is today. Unfortunately, we lost Bob two years ago, but Ramona is still going strong. Today, the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society salutes the Munger Moss Motel for its 75th anniversary on Route 66.”
The Munger Moss celebration was the final event of the two day Lebanon Route 66 Festival presented by Heritage Bank of the Ozarks.
The 2021 Lebanon Route 66 Festival, presented by Heritage Bank of the Ozarks, will be two days this year, June 18-19, at three separate locations. How many of the events do you plan to attend?