150th Birthday of John T. Woodruff Celebrated

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Many people gathered tonight at the old Kentwood Arms Hotel, now a dorm at Missouri State University. 

They were there to remember and honor one of Springfield's most prominent citizens, John T. Woodruff, on what would have been his 150th birthday.

"Today is the 150th anniversary of the birth of John T. Woodruff who is arguably the person of the many people who have contributed to Springfield's development and success, he's the one who has done the most," Thomas Peters, dean of libraries at MSU, said. "He brought the west maintenance and repair shop for the Frisco railroad here in the early twentieth century and there are still a lot of people that the Frisco jobs were what brought them to Springfield. 

"He built the Woodruff building now called Sky 11,  built the Colonial Hotel, built the Hotel Sansone which is still standing there on East St. Louis, and of course, we are here in the Kentwood Arms which was the premier hotel for many, many years.  He was very definitely involved in the good roads movement in Missouri but also he was an important player in the birth and development of Route 66.  He served two terms as the president of the US 66 Highway Association back in 26, 27, and 28."

A telegram sent from Woodruff's colonial hotel officially naming Route 66 all the way back in 1926  is how Springfield became known as the birthplace of the mother road.

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