Members of the Lebanon-Laclede County Route 66 Society made three important discoveries Saturday while gutting the last surviving Camp Joy cabin in preparation for its restoration and move to Route 66-themed Boswell Park.

And that didn’t include a 1940 Kansas City newspaper used as insulation.

First, they discovered that the rafters for the original roofline – before a bathroom was added – still exist above the now-removed ceiling.

Second, they found a section of original exterior siding behind a bathroom wall.

Finally, beneath decrepit carpeting, they discovered that the cabin has hardwood flooring.

The first two discoveries were important because the Route 66 Society plans to remove the bathroom and restore the original roofline, returning the cabin to the 12-foot-by-16-foot size it was when built.

Saturday’s work involved removing most of the ceiling, walls, trim, insulation and plumbing fixtures. Window sashes and frames also were pulled out. Most of the window glass had been broken previously by vandals.

Siding from the addition was removed from the front of the cabin, the first step in returning the cabin to its original size.

Nails were pulled out of the siding, trim and other lumber that was removed, and the material was stacked so it can be used in the restoration.

Camp Joy, later known as the Joy Motel, was believed to be Lebanon’s first tourist court when it was established by the Spears family in 1927. The business closed in the early 1980s. 

The property now is the site of Sing Rental, owned by Lee Sing, who donated the cabin to the Route 66 Society in January. The cabin carries the number 4, indicating it might be one of the first cabins erected at Camp Joy.

As much of the restoration as possible will be accomplished before the cabin is moved to Boswell Park.

The City of Lebanon and the Lebanon Parks and Recreation Department are helping the Route 66 Society with the project.

The Route 66 Society hopes to have the restored cabin in place at Boswell Park before the Lebanon Route 66 Festival on Father’s Day weekend, although conditions will need to be dry before a slab foundation can be poured.

Society members participating in Saturday’s workday were Dave Chastain, Bruce Owen, Cliff Claxton, Leland Townsend, Howard Fuller, Bill Jones, John Stowe, Chuck Jordan, Stephen Henson and Gary Sosniecki.


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