The historic former Red Cedar Inn building is under intense scrutiny as three service groups meet to carve out a plan for its use.
The city purchased the building in September 2017 for $290,000 to be used as a welcome center, history museum and genealogy center.
A committee of people representing the City Tourism Commission and Meramec Valley History Museum and Genealogy Society will meet to discuss the multiuse of the building.
Former Mayor Jeff Titter, who created the history museum, Tourism Commission President Dennis Oliver and Washington Historical Society Director Marc Houseman serve on the space planning committee.
Before anyone can move into the building, the city plans to hire an architect with experience in historic restoration to craft a plan to renovate the structure, according to Herb Adams, aldermanic liaison to the tourism commission.
Adams, a former mayor, had previously seated a committee to craft a plan for a welcome center and history museum in the former Hoven House at 115 E. Osage. When it was determined that the building was not large enough to accommodate the needs, the building was sold.
“This building (Red Cedar) is uniquely capable of fulfilling the needs of the three groups,” he said, “and with its historic background on Route 66 it is uniquely situated to attract visitors to our city.”
Adams said he welcomes a plan from the three groups to move the project forward so they can be installed and take their rightful place as part of the city government.
The 1932 Red Cedar Inn long served as a tourism stop on Route 66. The structure was built with logs from the Smith family farm, operated as a restaurant by the family for 80 years and has served as the offices for Gallagher Mechanical, heating and mechanical business, in recent years.
Michael Gallagher is the great-grandson of the building founders.
The community, along with state and federal dignitaries, turned out in force when the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 11, 2003, while the Smith family was still operating it as a restaurant.
“This committee knows the material that will go into the building to serve the public,” Adams said. “They will guide in defining the best use of the building,”