Pacific officials finalized the purchase of the Red Cedar Inn building, 1047 East Osage St., Sept. 28 but postponed taking occupancy of the building for six months.
The city paid $290,000 for the structure, including $165,000 from the general fund and $125,000 from tourism taxes.
Plans are to use the building as a visitor center, history museum and genealogy center.
The city entered into an agreement to allow the seller, Gallagher Properties, to lease the building for a period of six months at a cost of $1,000 a month.
Now the home of Gallagher Electric, some time next year the 85-year-old former eatery and bar will recapture its heyday as a waystop on Route 66 and open as a city of Pacific visitor center.
The building was built in 1932 to serve as a dining stop for motorists on the new Route 66. The Smith family operated the inn as a dining room for 75 years.
The building attracted visitors, from across the country and Europe, who were traveling Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Aldermen identified the site as a replacement for the city history museum, which closed in 2012 and a genealogy research library for the genealogy archive now housed at city hall.
The city made a stab at buying the Red Cedar building in 2008. A historic restoration architect studied the structure and presented a development plan for its reuse at a public meeting at city hall. But negotiations fell through and the city abandoned the idea.
The following year the Pacific Partnership entered into a contract to purchase the building and resurrect it as a restaurant but was unable to secure funding for the project.
In 2012 the city purchased the Hoven House, 115 East Osage Street, and former Mayor Herb Adams fielded a committee to study the building and develop a plan to operate it as a welcome center and museum.
The committee met for a six-month period and produced a report on the viability of a visitor information center that would showcase Pacific and nearby visitor venues, a revolving exhibit of historic artifacts owned by the city museum, a gift shop that would sell Pacific, Missouri, Railroad and Route 66 memorabilia as a source of income to operate the visitor center.
The committee also called for cold drink and snack machines, near a sit-down area as another source of revenue.
In recent years the city museum was merged into the Meramec Valley Genealogical and Historical Society (MVGHS), which is housed in city hall.
The city is finalizing details for the merger and the status of the society as a city genealogy committee, which calls for the organization to submit a budget for its operation.
Carol Johnson, aldermanic liaison to the genealogy committee, is working with the city attorney and the MVGHS to work out details of the society’s function as a city committee.
In view of the possibility of relocating the genealogy library and history artifacts to the Red Cedar next year, Patricia Sewell, genealogy committee chair, named a committee to develop plans for creating displays and research areas in the building.