Red Cedar Inn
The Red Cedar Inn is located at 1047 East Osage St. in Pacific,
MO. The restaurant closed in 2005 and is not open to the public
to visit but can be viewed from the road.
Pacific, Missouri, had little commerce in
the early 20th century except for mining silica for use in
making fine glassware and in the production of construction
materials such as the bricks used in the Red Cedar Inn. The
silica came from large caverns in bluffs just north of town that
are still visible to drivers on Route 66. Pacific got a major
boost in 1932 when Route 66 arrived.
the Red Cedar Inn opened with Route 66 right at its front door.
Opened just after Prohibition ended, the Red Cedar Inn was an
atmospheric, full service restaurant serving cocktails. Located
at the edge of Pacific and close to St. Louis, the restaurant
became popular with travelers on Route 66 and with celebrities
like St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Klinger and his wife and
friends, such as famed ball players Dizzy Dean and Ted Williams.
Except for two modest additions to the back, the
restaurant looks very much like it did during the 1930s, with
its peeled cedar posts, a 1930s barbeque shack, square red cedar
logs “v”-notched at the corners, and lines of wide, white
chinking. Materials inside like the log or knotty pine interior
walls are as rustic as the ones on the exterior. The builders,
James and Bill Smith, intentionally selected such rustic
materials to reflect Missouri pioneer days and catch the eyes of
tourists eager to experience some local color.
provided a life-changing business opportunity for brothers James
and Bill Smith. The two made their living for nearly a decade
bootlegging liquor from the family farm at Villa Ridge. When
Prohibition ended in 1933 so did their livelihood. Both brothers
opened legal taverns--Bill in Fenton and James in Eureka. At the
same time, they built the Red Cedar Inn on newly designated
The Smiths cut logs from their family farm,
hauled them to the Red Cedar site on a one-ton Ford truck, to
build their restaurant. Even before they opened the doors for
business, Route 66 was carrying hungry out-of-state customers
past the front door. The Red Cedar Inn was an immediate success,
allowing the Smiths to add a bar to the restaurant in 1935.
The Smith brothers did not spend much time at the new
restaurant. When James and Bill finished building the
restaurant, they turned its management over to James II and went
back to the pool hall in Eureka and the tavern in Fenton. James
II was just 24 when he took over the brand-new business which he
ended up spending most of the next four decades managing. In
1935, he hired Katherine Brinkman as a waitress, and in 1940,
she became Mrs. James Smith II. The couple bought the business
from James Smith I in 1944, and, with the help of their son
James Smith III, they ran the business until 1972. The Red Cedar
was closed from 1972 until 1987, when James III reopened the
In April of 2003, the Inn was listed in the
National Register of Historic Places. The town celebrated
the designation on July 11 with speeches, a caravan, and music.
The town’s fire truck raised a huge American flag high on its
boom, a local teen sang “Get Your Kicks on Route 66,” a caravan
of old cars arrived, a color guard marched, and the crowd sang
“The Star Spangled Banner.” Meanwhile, a train passing on
nearby tracks slowed to a stop until the singing ended. When the
music stopped, the train conductor blew the whistle and traveled
on down the tracks.