HERE ARE PHOTOS of Holy Cross Church, in Cuba, Missouri. The church is located in Crawford County, about 84 highway miles southwest of downtown Saint Louis. It is a part of the Diocese of Jefferson City.
This parish was founded in 1880, and this church building dates from 1936.
The walls of the church are made with decorative stone from the Ozark region. Although my geological knowledge is rather rusty, it appears as though the stone used includes native red granite, a severely weathered limestone called ‘sponge rock’, the barium ore tiff, flint, and some others. The masonry was done by Albert C. Stumpf, who also worked for the New Deal WPA program. This kind of vernacular architecture was highly valued in the 1930s — a culmination of nationalistic and folk-art trends — but it disappeared by the 1940s because of World War II and the subsequent International Modernist spirit of the post-war era.
The town of Cuba is charming, and caters to tourists traveling along Interstate 44 and the famed Route 66. According to a history of the town:
Cuba was founded in 1857 in anticipation of the construction of the southern branch of the Pacific Railroad. In the period before the railroad, early settlers brought with them a pioneering spirit seeking whatever livelihood was available to support their families. Many found work in the iron ore mining industry, with oxen carts providing the transportation of agricultural and mining products to St. Louis. Mining would remain an important industry for nearly 50 years.
The origin of the name “Cuba” remains a matter of legend. It may have been chosen as a symbol of sympathy for the people of the island of Cuba in their struggle for independence from Spain. Another version tells that two former 49er gold miners had visited the isle of Cuba and found it beautiful. Another story says that George M. Jamison, who had established the area’s first post office Amanda, named after his wife, again wanted to name the new town Amanda but others objected. A stick was thrown in the air, and the direction the pointed end landed, towards Cuba or Amanda, would name the town. One thing is certain, 150 years later its name continues to be a source of curiosity.
With the arrival of the southern branch of the Pacific Railroad in 1859-1860, the train brought a new way to get goods and send products to market. Cuba became a shipping center for agriculture and industry. From 1865-1912, Cuba was known as “The Land of the Big Red Apple.” By 1900, Cuba was the largest producer and distributor of apples in Missouri.
With the advent of the Model T, road improvements became necessary. Paving for Route 66, the “Mother Road,” through Cuba was completed in 1931. With more automobile traffic, new business opportunities were created. Restaurants, gasoline stations and motels opened their doors all along Route 66 to answer the needs of traveling motorists...
In the 1990s, many businesses in the Historic Uptown were badly in need of a facelift. In 2001, the area received a boost when Viva Cuba, a beautification organization, began an outdoor mural project along old Route 66. Drab walls were transformed into public art….
Tabernacle and crucifix.
Two Evangelists flank perhaps Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia?
Baptism of Our Lord.
The Last Supper.
415 School Avenue
Cuba, Missouri 65453