The 1903 Route 66 Courthouse is one of only two period courthouses on the Mother Road in Missouri . This building is surely a gem in the historic highway’s crown. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, the courthouse remained the center of Pulaski County’s government operations until 1990. The fourth courthouse in Pulaski County’s 180+ year history, the building was designed by Missouri State Architect Henry H. Hohenschild and he stamped his influence on this 60 by 40 foot building with his Romanesque Revival Style with Italianate features. The exterior of the courthouse shows similarities in design to the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan, Italy. A walk around the outside of the building will reveal many architectural details. A keen eye might even find bullet holes on the south facade- scars from a gun battle between the townsfolk and infamous bank robber J.J. Starling in 1917.
Remarkably, the character of the 100+ year old interior is largely intact. Original wooden frames around the windows and doors remain. The original stairway, with its spindle balustrade leads to the courtroom. Court decisions and verdicts still cling to the English oak ceiling with its crafted exposed rafters and joists. The distinguished courtroom was saved due to the efforts of the Pulaski County Historical Society.
If the Courtroom walls could talk they might whisper in shushed tones the dramas that have unfolded in front of the jurors and spectators- bank heists, saloon hold ups, embezzlements, domestic disputes, murders- even an alleged murder in the Courthouse itself.
Normally open only on Saturdays, the 1903 Route 66 Courthouse throws open its doors to Welcome the National Speleological Society Convention in July. The Museum will be open for browsing Tuesday, July 14th from 5-7 pm and Thursday, July 16th from 5-8 pm. There is no admission fee, but donations are gladly accepted. The public is invited, and encouraged, to tour during this time.
BYOL (Bring Your Own Light) head lamp tours will be offered beginning at 7 pm on Tuesday night ONLY. These guided tours will depart approximately every half hour with groups of 12-15. The cost for this tour is $2.
Don’t miss the Old Stagecoach Stop, trout fishing, and downtown shopping & dining while you are on the Square in Waynesville!