This section covers Joplin and Carthage, Missouri

Carthage, Missouri
U.S. Highways 66 and 71 came through town in the 1920s, and for a time the town saw a stream of cross-country traffic. Route 66 intersected with U.S. Route 71 at the present intersection of Central and Garrison Avenue. Route 66 was eventually re-routed, and then replaced in the 1960s with Interstate 44 running south of town.


Boots Motor Court, at the corner of Central and Garrison Streets, along with the former Boots Drive-In, now the Great Plains Credit Union, across Garrison Street, are two architectural icons of Route 66.

The Missouri Pacific Depot in Carthage. (photo from The Powers Museum , Carthage)

 Carthage street scene. (photo from The Powers Museum , Carthage)

By John Hacker
Posted Jan 21, 2010 @ 01:14 PM
It may have been decommissioned 26 years ago, but Route 66 is alive and well in the heart of Carthage and in the minds of millions around the world.
The Route 66 Association of Missouri and an engineering firm from Springfield are working on a “Corridor Management Plan” that would help take this road from the past and make it a part of Missouri’s future.
Carthage Police Officer Doug Dickey, who also serves as a member of the Stone’s Throw Theater Board of Directors, knows Route 66’s past and he sees the great potential for Route 66 to help Carthage economically and culturally.
“When you’re coming from the east into Carthage, you go right past Kellogg Lake and Roadside Park where you have sections of the original Route 66,” Dickey said. “As you come further into town, you have the Drake Motel, you’ve got the Jasper County Courthouse, all that were accessed through Route 66. Going down Oak Street, the old highway, you see the remnants of old stores that sat here and you can just picture the travelers parking their car on the highway, getting out, going in, getting a cold Orange Crush and a stack of bologna and bread so they could go to Municipal Park and eat in one of the shelters and head to Webb City.
“Rock Stadium is out there, Municipal Park, which still has historic buildings out there, yes the potential is there,” he continued. “Some of these buildings are showing their age, but I think this is something that as word gets out that we’re making it more attractive, making it more accessible, I think anything we do that brings people to Carthage and the Jasper County area to see all this will benefit everyone.”
Officials with Great River Engineering hosted almost 50 people Tuesday at Powers Museum in Carthage for a public forum to talk about creating that Corridor Management Plan that could benefit everyone on The Mother Road.
Jerany Jackson, with Great River Engineering, said the public meeting was one of 10 being held in the 10 counties on Route 66 to find out from people who live on the road how best to protect the road and make it work for current and future residents.
“This whole corridor management plan is not only about preserving and protection, it’s also about looking for economic development opportunities along Route 66,” Jackson said. “We have creates a special logo and this logo has some significance for us and you’ll notice at the bottom, the logo has the tagline ‘It’s yours. Mine. Ours.’ Because we believe that Route 66 really is yours, it’s mine and it’s ours and it’s our responsibility to find out what the history is and what the future is for Route 66 in Missouri.”
Great River has already done some of the legwork on creating a plan. They’ve driven the route and catalogued some of its features and created a logo and a new mascot, called Mo Kicks 66, to serve as part of a marketing plan for the route.
Tommy Pike, Springfield, president of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, told the crowd at Tuesday’s meeting that plan is part of an effort get the federal government to designate Route 66 an “All-American Road.”
Pike said that designation and this plan could help local communities gain access to federal grant money for preservation projects and promotion along Route 66.
“This is all involved around heritage tourism and this byways program is an opportunity for communities like Carthage and Webb City and Carterville and Joplin,” Pike said. “There’s funding there. Most of the grants are on an 80-20 match and it’s an opportunity for you to get some funding for projects in your community.”
Pike said the Association received a $188,000 grant from the federal government and is contributing $37,500 of its own money to pay Great River to create this plan.
For Carthage resident Judy Goff, whose family owned businesses on the Route in its heyday, promoting Route 66 is a good thing for Carthage.
“I think historic tourism is something that is so important to Carthage and I don’t think we take advantage of what we have,” Goff said. “I don’t think we utilize all the wonderful things we have here. We just take it for granted and it is economic development, historic tourism is.
“Carthage is going to have to get on board. I’m enthused that we have a county commissioner here and council members here. I’m enthused by that.”

You can help:
The public can participate in generating this Corridor Management Plan for Route 66 through Missouri by going on the Internet to, filling out the survey and signing up for email alerts about the project.

Joplin, Missouri
A colorful past and a lively present characterize Joplin. Rich in history from our lead mining past, Joplin has grown to become the fourth largest metro area in Missouri. Joplin is full of friendly people eager to share their Ozark hospitality.
At any time of the year there is activity in Joplin and in every direction surrounding it. Boasting an abundance of hotels and restaurants, Joplin truly serves as "Host to the Four States," whether you're here for a leisurely vacation, an art exhibit, a shopping spree, a convention or a historical tour. Four major lakes near Joplin are popular for swimming, speedboating, skiing, scuba diving, fishing and sailing. Joplin's Grand Falls are the only continuously running waterfalls in the state of Missouri.
The city of Joplin is named after the Reverend Harris G. Joplin, who settled in the area from 1839 to 1844 and held church services in his home. With the discovery of lead, mining operations began in the early 1800s and were only interrupted when the Civil War began. In 1870, when a strike worth $64,000 was made, the Joplin Creek Valley emerged. From its humble beginnings, the community grew with the influx of businesses, railroads, utilities, hotels, theaters and parks. Joplin became incorporated in 1873.
Discover the renaissance in the heart of the city. Historic buildings are being transformed into new roles as unique retail outlets, specialty restaurants and office space...offering many opportunities to visitors. Explore the changes first-hand on a special walking tour and experience Joplin's rich history. During the day, you'll find an eclectic selection of gift items, antiques and crafts, splendid clothing and fine salons.
Get your kicks on Route 66 "and Jop-lin Miss-ouree" as Bobby Troop's 1946 hit goes, puts Joplin right in the middle of Route 66. Route 66 was commissioned on November 11, 1926 and was originally 2,438 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. In the early 60s, another generation learned about Route 66 when Buzz and Todd spent 116 TV episodes traveling America in their Corvette.

 (Circa 1909 - In 1893 a miner named James Roach made an astonishing discovery while digging a mine shaft near west 4th Street. The mining industry's extensive pumping of ground water to allow access to the lead and zinc underground had exposed a cave. Eighty feet below the earth surface, Roach entered a 225' by 55' by 15' high chamber lined with giant calcite crystals, constituting one of the world's largest geodes. A smaller cavity abutted the kidney-shaped primary chamber. Originally known as Roach Cave, it opened to the public as Crystal Cave on July 4, 1908. Tourists paid an admission fee to tour the cave. Source:Belk, Brad and Scott, Robert H. Crystal Cave "Hidden Jewel of Joplin " Rediscovered and Reexplored. 1998.)

The Joplin area is mining country. The realignment of US 66 in Joplin was partially for traffic and partially because of cave-ins of mines built under the highway. It zig-zagged through the city, following Rangeline Road, Zora Street, Florida Avenue, Utica Street, Euclid Avenue, St. Louis Avenue, Broadway, Main Avenue, and Seventh Street, the last now Route 66. An old segment of highway (named Route 66 Boulevard), splits off from modern Route 66 and enters Kansas to the north of the current highway.
Later, US Rte 66 went straight south on Rangeline to Seventh and then west to the Kansas state line.

Carthage–Joplin Vicinity

In the example below, one can see that Route 66 leaves Interstate 44 just east of Spencer, and continues through the towns of Albatross, Phelps, Plew, and Avilla en route to Carthage, just as it had been doing for decades. I-44, meanwhile, veers southwestward and avoids these towns by keeping several miles to the south, approaching Joplin more directly from the east (which, however, it also bypasses).

In the 1940s Nat King Cole had a hit with Troup's best known song "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" which became a hit for Cole and then a popular standard. Chuck Berry recorded "Route 66" in 1961. In 1964, it was one of the earliest recordings by the British rock group The Rolling Stones. In 2006, "Route 66" was featured in the animated movie Cars, and the movie RV with Robin Williams. Joplin is mentioned in the song, immortalizing this city with Route 66.

Frank and L.E. Phillips were no strangers to hard work. They started prospecting for oil in 1903 and after 81 successive strikes, founded The Phillips Petroleum Company twelve years later. Since then, the company has grown considerably and has expanded its product offerings through its commitment to innovation and meeting customer needs.

Phillips 66® also has a history with US Highway 66. In 1927, on the "Mother Road" during a test drive of a newly developed high-octane gasoline, the vehicle reached a cruising speed of 66 mph. The new fuel was named Phillips 66. Even the logo was inspired by the road signs that dot the length of the historic highway. And the rest is history. Bartlesville, Oklahoma based but Phillips stations dotted the entire Route 66 length across Missouri!

For more Phillips 66

 Twelve miles southwest of Joplin, Missouri, an obscure paved road runs through a open patch of countryside. This nearly forgotten track runs across the Oklahoma border but is only about four miles long. Nearby is the former border village of Hornet, and close to that is the site of what once was a spook light museum. The place is remote and far from civilization, so why do so many people come here?
(More about the Spook Light.)

Ken's Bar at 2409 W. 7th and Dutch's Top Hat Cocktail Lounge at 1818 W. 7th illustrate how Joplin's nightlife changed after World War II. With Route 66 running through town, taverns and night clubs moved out of the downtown district to the outskirts in order to attract travelers as well as local imbibers. Just about everyone had an automobile, and a trip to the cocktail lounge or night club represented a chance to escape and to socialize. Post-war drinking establishments made every effort to convey a more sophisticated image. The atmosphere at the new clubs was a far cry from the dark and dingy corner tavern. The new well-lit establishments boasted decorative color schemes, gleaming chrome fixtures, and hardwood dance floors. They preferred classier appellations like "cocktail lounge " or "night club " rather than saloon or tavern. Joe Mertz opened his cocktail lounge on Route 66 in west Joplin around 1950. The aptly-named Carnival Room, decorated with brightly-colored circus motifs, included something of a carousel ride for grown-ups. Although one might wonder about the wisdom of having a revolving bar in an establishment where the customers get tipsy anyway, Dutch's widely advertised its claim to fame as the only completely revolving bar in the state.

Mickey Mantle Holiday Inn!

From the back of the card: Holiday Inn of Joplin, Missouri. Operated by Mickey Mantle. Mickey's baseball trophies displayed in the lobby. Your host from coast to coast.. Motels, 1950s-1970s During the gas rationing of World War II and the subsequent curtailment of automobile production, business at the popular motor courts declined as well. They rebounded briefly following the war, although another major development in the evolution of temporary housing would take place within the next decade. As cabin courts fell out of favor, a new form of roadside lodging took their place-the motel. These sleek single buildings, made up of a series of rooms, had the advantage of being less expensive to construct and to maintain. Travelers found them clean, modern, and economical. Joplin's motels, which signaled the demise of the old downtown hotels, were located on the outskirts of town, on Highways 66 (7th Street), 71 (Range Line), and 43 (Main Street). Like their tourist court forerunners, motels tried to attract guests with exterior ornamentation and gimmicks-for example, the Rocket Motel, the Mickey Mantle Holiday Inn, and the Bob Cummings Motor Hotel. A major factor in the phenomenal growth of the motel industry was the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act, which called for 42,000 miles of modern highways linking all parts of the United States. In 1958, after the Joplin stretch of Interstate Highway 44 opened, more motels appeared in the city. And as more people traveled further distances, they demanded greater comfort, convenience, and security. Affluent travelers wanted standardized accommodations and brand-names they could trust. They required amenities such as air-conditioning, television, swimming pools, restaurants, etc. Corporation-established national chains eventually replaced the independently-owned operations. Endorsements from travel-related organizations, such as AAA, and advertisers accelerated the trend as well.

The Barrow Gang's Joplin Hideout
As it looked, photo by Blanche Barrow
The Crime Scene
For more info visit Barrows Joplin Hideout