During my recent solo road trip, I spent a quiet afternoon at John's Modern Cabins, a frequently photographed collection of 30s-era shacks along a bypassed stretch of Route 66 in Missouri. Once an infamous juke joint whose patrons could crash in chicken coop shacks, John's is now an overgrown wreck that greets unsuspecting wanderers with broken glass and rusty bed springs. Yet it remains a must-see stop along the Mother Road.
Visiting the cabins can be tricky. Heck, I get lost every time I hunt for these ruins. This past trip I realized that I'd failed to even write down a semblance of directions. So I pulled off-road and did some web-sleuthing. Thank goodness a commentator named "southwig" posted a swell set of directions on the Historic Route 66 Forum. I'm reposting those directions here for archival purposes:
"Westbound: From I-44 exit 176. Turn left at the end of the exit ramp and cross over the interstate. Take a right onto Arlington Road (west bound) perhaps 1/4 to 1/2 mile. You will see a couple of businesses on your right, and will need to cross over what was the old I-44 right of way. The crossovers are gravel and present no problems. You will find John's Modern Cabins just a few yards west of the present businesses."[I'd merely add that the cabins can be seen near Vernelle's Motel.]
Back in '04, I found a set of Burma Shave-type signs standing near the cabins [I'd later learn that Route 66 News editor Ron Warnick had planted them]. The signs read: "Photograph These/While You're Here/The Wrecking Ball/Is Looming Near." During my most recent visit - just a few weeks ago - I could only see one sign standing; another lay on the ground nearby. I remember wanting to take that fallen sign ("Photograph These") for myself, just toss it in the car. But I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
Thanks to Swa Frantzen for producing this Google Map!
[View John's Modern Cabins in a larger map.]