Two of Springfield’s biggest Route 66 supporters were honored with the John T. Woodruff award during the 9th Annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival.
Local businessmen Guy Mace and Kirk Wheeler were given the awards on Saturday by Route 66 Festival founder David Eslick.
Mace, owner of the Route 66 Car Museum on College Street along the original Route 66, is called “a long time supporter of the mother road.” In addition to opening the museum in 2016, he was also responsible for the 2015 “Great Race” making an overnight stop in Springfield.
Mace owns “The Bomb Squad”, a 1932 Ford Roadster that raced in 20 “Great Race” challenges which is now one of 75 cars on display at the Car Museum.
Wheeler is known as the “unofficial Route 66 Mayor of St. Louis Street.” Wheeler has owned several businesses along the Route, including Mother Road Motorcycles.
Wheeler is currently working on developing the Birthplace of Route 66 Food Truck Park which will include an 1,800-square-foot diner.
“This is my way of giving back to the Mother Road that means so much to me,” Wheeler said in a statement.
Wheeler lead off the first Birthplace of Route 66 Parade, which was a cruise in 2013 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Best Western Rail Haven Motel, in an antique 1940s fire truck.
The John T. Woodruff Award is given to individuals who have shown outstanding interest and support in promoting Route 66. Woodruff was a Springfield businessman who in 1926 helped number Route 66, making Springfield the birthplace of the “mother road.”
The two men received their award during a ceremony where Birthplace of Route 66 Festival founder David Eslick was given the Merit Award from the National Street Rod Association.