FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Birthplace of Route 66 Festival founder David Eslick presented Jeff Schrag, founder and owner of Mother’s Brewing Company and The Daily Events, with the 2018 John T. Woodruff Award today in Park Central Square.
Woodruff’s grandson, John T. Woodruff III, was present at the ceremony.
As a civic leader, Schrag is a past chairman of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, past chairman of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, past president of the Missouri Press Association and past president of the Missouri Craft Brewers Guild. He is being honored for his support and promotion of Route 66 in Springfield.
The Birthplace of Route 66 Festival began in 2011 as an event to help promote the opening of Mother’s Brewing Company, in the former Holsum Bread building on College Street, the original Route 66 through Springfield. Schrag has welcomed countless Route 66 travelers from across the U.S. and around the world as they’ve stopped in at Mother’s for a cold one.
The John T. Woodruff Award is named for the Springfield businessman and entrepreneur who was one of three men that, in 1926, helped number the new east-to-west highway from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California.
A telegram sent from Woodruff’s Colonial Hotel asking that the numbers for the new highway be named 66, making Springfield, Missouri the Birthplace of Route 66.
Woodruff wanted to see Springfield grow and prosper. He built the city’s first skyscraper, the Woodruff Building. He was responsible for the Frisco Shops – the largest railroad maintenance shops west of the Mississippi River. He convinced the U.S. Army to locate O’Reilly Military Hospital here.
Woodruff saw the value of tourism to Springfield. He built three hotels – the Colonial, the Sansone and the Kentwood Arms – to accommodate the automobile travelers that Route 66 would attract. He was also the first president of the U.S. Highway 66 Association, founded the year after the highway was built.
The John T. Woodruff Award recognizes individuals who have shown outstanding support and interest in promoting Route 66 as the linear national attraction that it is. Jeff Schrag exhibits this quality.
Previous John T. Woodruff Award recipients include:
- Downtown Springfield Association Executive Director and festival founder Rusty Worley and Robert Gehl, membership director of the Route 66 Association of Missouri (2017);
- Steak ‘n Shake owner Gary Leonard and past festival car show registrar Shirley Robbins (2016);
- Route 66 author Susan Croce Kelly, Route 66 Association of Missouri President Tommy Pike, past Show Me Route 66 Magazine Editor Glenda Pike, past festival social media coordinator Jennifer Adams and festival founder David J. Eslick (2015);
- Elliott Lodging owner Gordon Elliott, past car show registrar Amber Neal and festival founder Jack Stinson (2014);
- Bud’s Tire & Wheel owner Bud Perry (2013);
- Gay Parita Sinclair Station owner Gary Turner (2012); and
- Jim Powell, first president of the Route 66 Association of Missouri and Route 66 author C.H. “Skip” Curtis (2011).
For more information, please contact David Eslick at 417-350-5708 or Cora Scott at 417-380-3352.