Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rte 66 Giant Rocker:Cuba Missouri

Cuba, MO On April 1, 4 miles west of Cuba, MO on Route 66, a rocking chair 42’4’’ feet tall was set in place beside the adjoining Fanning US 66 Outpost & General Store. The rocking chair is the brainchild of Outpost owner Dan Sanazaro, a guy with a “can do” attitude.

Sanazaro thought that the fledgling business that he and his wife Carolyn opened in February needed something to draw travelers to its unique combination of taxidermy, lodge style décor, sporting goods, and convenience items.

What better way to garner attention than a 46’ wood and steel rocking chair in the traditional Route 66 colors of black and white. Sanazaro thought it would be like one of the old Route 66 roadside attractions that drew travelers to businesses in the past.

To make his dream a reality, Sanazaro turned to local artist, soon-to-be engineer John Bland. Bland, who isn’t afraid of a challenge, drew a sketch of the chair and then drew the blue prints to scale. He took his plans to a civil engineer, who ran the plans through computer software to test the engineering specifications. Although Bland had no formal training as an engineer, his plans were off only by a fraction of an inch. With adjustments made, Sanazaro and Bland were ready to bring a builder on board.

For this step of the process, Sanazaro turned to long-time friend Joe Medwick, who had the equipment and know-how to make the rocking chair a reality. With 25 years of experience in welding, Medwick of 5M Welding and Excavation, knew that he could build the chair.

First, Medwick fabricated the rockers, which are 31 ½ feet long and weigh about 2000 pounds each. He moved the rockers to the Outpost and constructed the rest of the rocking chair there using eight and eleven inch steel pipe. Medwick measured, cut, and welded the frame on site with the frame lying on the ground. Artist Bland painted the Outpost logo, “Route 66 Rocker,” and “World’s Largest” on a wooden panel that serves as the rocker back. Painting mitts were used to prime the frame white, and a coat of black paint followed.

On April 1st, two cranes were summoned to lift the frame onto the rockers. With the crowd watching in fascination, the large frame moved through the air to the steel rockers. After some final adjustments and cutting, and with sparks flying, Medwick made the final welds.

The Route 66 Rocker now looms above the road to attract another generation of Route 66 travelers to wonder at what American ingenuity can do when three men with a dream come together.

The Outpost’s website is
. Although the site is still under construction, Dan and Carolyn can be emailed through the site. The phone number is 573-885-1474.


Anonymous said...

Just an update. The chair started out at 46', but it had to be cut, adjusted, and welded in place when the chair was set up on the rockers. It is now 44'2' tall and is attracting a lot of attention. Bring your camera.

mp4037 said...

Hey, Looking for Joe Medwicks e-mail contact info if possible. I'm an old friend...I'm sure he wouldn't mind. Just looking to wish him and his family a Merry Christmas! Hope that you can help.


Matt Peck