Klawonn Shady Rest has been in business for 50 years.
Shady Rest was built near the south bank of the Salt River on Highway 61, north of New London, in 1931 by Howard Couch. It was eventually sold to Wallace Mann, who owned it for four years, up to 1950.
In 1950, Aileen and Harold Eddy, along with Mahlon [and] Rosemary Klawonn bought the café from Mann. Mahlon and Rosemary had two kids, Carol Ann, age five and Gary, age two. Aileen and Harold Eddy were Rosemary’s parents. They all ran the café together until 1958, when Rosemary and Mahlon bought the Eddys’ share out so that they could retire. But even after retiring they still helped out, until Harold passed away in 1962.
The café was run by Mahlon, Rosemary, and Aileen for many years. They opened at 6:00 a.m. and were open until midnight, seven days a week. The café didn’t start closing on Sundays until just before Aileen became ill, and passed away in 1969.
Many people would come and stay in the cabins or camp on the grounds. Each cabin had its own bathroom, closet and double bed. The double bed rented for $3.00, and for $4.00 you could have a double bed with a roll-away bed, also. The cabins were used a lot until they were taken away in the flood of 1973.
Things have changed a lot since they first opened. A cup of coffee was five cents; now it is sold for 25 cents.
Soda by the bottle was seven cents; now it is $1.10 a bottle. Cigarettes were 17 cents a package; now they are sold for $2.75 a pack at the café. They also sold gas. When they started it was 30 cents a gallon for full service. The gas that they sold was Sinclair, then later changed to Conoco. They had the gas pumps until 1988. They also sold 100 pound tanks of LP gas for $7.25 a tank. Many local people would buy a few groceries from them also. They kept things like bread, milk, lunch meats, and hot dogs for patrons to purchase if they wanted.
Many people have come and gone through the years, from strangers off the highway, to local people that come by every day for a loaf of bread or other groceries or just to sit at the liars’ table and visit with others to learn all kinds of things, truth or not. During the early years, when they were open until midnight, you could also listen to a jukebox and play pinball for a nickel.
While Rosemary was tending to the customers, Mahlon ran a radiator and lawn mower repair shop. If you had something that needed fixed on your mower, he was the man to bring it to.
Even though the hours are a little different now, and there isn’t any gas sold or lawn mower or radiator repair done, you can count on Rosemary to be open. So that you can sit and visit, drink all the coffee you can, and learn all kinds of stories at the liars’ table at Shady Rest Café.
- Cindy Tharp
Thank you Ron Leake, The President of Ralls County Historical Society, for sharing this article from the Ralls County Herald-Enterprise, December 2000.
Flooding before construction of Clarence Cannon Dam and Mark Twain Lake
These cabins floated down the river during a flood in the 1970s. Thankfully, we wont have to worry about that again! The Corps of Engineers regulate Salt River flow at the Dam, and The Meadow Campground owners constructed underground drainage, keeping their guests safe and sound.
Thank you Vintage Aerial for sharing this photo from your website!
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