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oplin Metro Magazine

17 i n eac h i ssu e



21 on the cover:

43 history: A walk down Route 66 “Lane”

12 route 66 festival: First time in Joplin

49 fill ‘er up: Former filling stations now

17 The Rainbow Bridge: Special

and beloved by all

21 sweet tooth: Commerce man

makes unique Route 66 cookies

24 SuperTAM: Superman museum and

key Route 66 information Centers

53 drive-in: Mainstay remains on the

Mother Road

55 profile: Michael Wallis talks

enduring appeal of Route 66

ice cream parlor on Route 66

58 style: Between Friends on Route 66

30 2013 International Route 66 Festival

60 minding your business: Carousel Park

T HE J T EA M EDITOR Kevin McClintock Phone: 417.627.7279 Fax: 417.623.8598 E-Mail: MAGAZINE WRITER Ryan Richardson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Scott Meeker Andra Bryan Stefanoni

CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS Roma Harmon Regina Carnahan Barry Linduff PHOTOGRAPHERS T. Rob Brown Roger Nomer Curtis Almeter B.W. Shepherd COVER ILLUSTRATION B.W. Shepherd COVER DESIGN Barry Linduff


DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING Brent Powers Phone: 417.627.7233 E-mail:

PRESIDENT AND PUBLISHER Mike Beatty Phone: 417.627.7291 Fax: 417.623.8450 E-Mail:

SALES MANAGER Janette Cooper Phone: 417.627.7236 Fax: 417.623.8450 E-Mail:

EDITOR Carol Stark Phone: 417.627.7278 Fax: 417.623.8598 E-Mail:

CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Jack Kaminsky Phone: 417.627.7341 Fax: 417.623-8450 E-Mail:

4 Calendar 6 the scene 10 the 10-spot 63 the J list 64 the parting shot

DIRECTOR OF MAGAZINES Julie Damer Phone: 417.627.7323 Fax: 417.623.8450 E-Mail: Joplin Metro Magazine is a publication of Newspaper Holdings Inc. and is published monthly. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any editorial or advertising matter. The publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited materials.


from the editor


s you can tell by flipping through the pages or taking a peek at the contents page, this month’s Joplin Metro Magazine is a bit of a departure from past issues.

While we pride ourselves in bringing you a wide variety of stories that showcases Joplin and Southwest Missouri as well as its people, more than 90 percent of this July issue is dedicated to the portion of Route 66 stretching from Carthage, through Kansas, and stopping in Miami, Okla.

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Why? Well, it has to do with Joplin city officials and their coup of landing and hosting the 2013 Route 66 International Festival early next month. It’s during this festival where “Roadies” from all major points of the world will converge onto Joplin to share their love and passion for the Mother Road. It’s the first time in the festival’s history that it has been held within the Show-Me State, and afterwards, officials with the Route 66 Alliance will designate Joplin, “A Route 66 Host Community.”


During the event, there will be exhibits, vintage car shows, artists, authors and collectors. There will also be an influx of international Route 66 tourists — from Great Britain to Japan — descending on Joplin for the duration of this unique festival. Inside is a special multi-page Route 66 International Festival guide with further details concerning the many scheduled events. Also inside the magazine, you’ll read about or view a picture of just about every conceivable Route 66 stop in Missouri, Kansas or Oklahoma, from the “Tummy Tickle” bridge in Carthage to the Route 66 Vintage

Iron Motorcycle Museum in Miami, Okla. We think you’ll be surprised at all the hidden jewels this stretch of nearly 50 miles has to offer. You also will read about an Oklahoma man who has patented his very own Route 66 cookie; the famed 66 Drive-in Theatre that shows first-rate movies; a museum in Carterville that brings together two American icons; an article about the last-of-its-kind Rainbow Bridge near Baxter Springs, Kan. and a collection of diverse songs and bands featuring Route 66 in its lyrics, to name just a few. We hope you’ll enjoy this month’s issue of J. People to thank this month: A big shout-out goes to everyone who got up at 6:45 a.m. on July 3 to shoot the wonderful picture by B.W. Shepherd gracing this month’s cover, particularly Curtis Almeter and Amanda Cupp, who modeled in the driver’s seat of that gorgeous vintage automobile owned by Gary and Donna Hall. Another big thanks goes out to Doug Gatewood for making all the arrangements for that beautiful car to be driven out to historic Rainbow Bridge — twice. We also want to give a big pat on the back

to Brad Belk and Chris Wiseman, both of the Joplin Museum Complex, for allowing us to publish a number of excellent, vintage Route 66 pictures from their extensive collection. As always, you can reach us at, by mail at Joplin Metro Magazine, 117 E. Fourth St., Joplin, Mo. 64801, call us at 417627-7279, or look us up on Facebook.

Kevin McClintock, Editor Joplin Metro Magazine

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August C a rdbo a rd bo at r ac e A number of cardboard boats will be poking along Shoal Creek on Saturday, Aug. 10, during the 2013 Shoal Creek Water Festival at the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center. More than 2,000 visitors came out for the 2012 festival to watch the unique boat race, won by a small, one-man boat called “The Eaglet.” While the ever-popular cardboard boat race remains the featured treat during the festival, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors will also be able to take a dip in the creek; see creatures of the StoneLion Puppet Theatre; watch beautiful Raptors from the World Bird Sanctuary; or cheer on the contestants of the popular rubber duck race. There will also be opportunities for education, including water quality, conservation and ecology at a number of water activity booths. New this year will be Trader’s Row: vendor booths inspired by nature. The festival is free to the public and all ages are welcome. Details: 417.782.6287.

ART T h i rd T h u r s d ay: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15, in downtown Joplin. Third Thursday has become Joplin’s trademark cultural event. As always, there will be good food, shopwalking, music and the Art Walk: Galleries up and down Main Street filled with art collections from local artists. There is also a shuttle to galleries beyond First and Seventh streets, including Spiva Center for the Arts, Local Color and Phoenix Fired Art. Details: www.

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E x pr e s s i o n s of the So u l : 1 p.m. from Friday, Aug. 16 through Sunday, Aug. 18, at the George Washington Carver National Monument. Carver was a talented artist who used flowering plants and landscapes as his favorite subjects to draw or paint. This program takes a closer look at Carver the artist. Details: 417.325.4151.


FA M I LY J opl i n Fa rm e r s M a r k e t: Open 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday throughout the month of August at the Memorial Hall parking lot. There will be plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on display by local vendors. Details: 417.624.0820, ext. 203.

I n t e r n at i o n a l R o u t e 6 6 F e s t i va l : From 1 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 4. The festival will offer many different activities such as exhibits and vintage car shows showcasing the impact Route 66 had on the American fabric; through transportation, culture as well as art and entertainment. Artist, authors and collectors of all things Route 66 will participate to share stories, ideas and enjoy the local Route 66 heritage.

Sv i ta k F r e e dom R i d e : 7 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Missouri Southern State University’s lower stadium parking lot.

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O ld - Fa s h i o n e d Toys & G a m e s : 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29 and Saturday, Aug. 31, at the George Washington Carver National Monument. Playtime was a simple affair in the 19th century, as children invented their own games or played with homemade toys. Experience the joy of playing with some old-fashioned toys and games. This is a self-guided activity just outside the visitor center. Details: 417.325.4151.

F I T NESS B lu e M oo n F u n R u n : 8:15 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Frisco Greenway South Trailhead (955 E. North Street). The third of three races in the Starlit Running Company’s Nighttime Summer Race Series. Designed to focus on improving runners for 5K and 10K runs.

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C a rv e r L a bor ator y D e mo n s tr at i o n s : 1 p.m. from Friday, Aug. 23 through Sunday, Aug. 25, at the George Washington Carver National Monument. A park ranger will lead a variety of demonstrations recreating Carver’s plant byproducts in the science classroom. Details: 417.325.4151.

T HEAT E R Sto n e ’s T h row T h e at e r : From Thursday, Aug. 15-19 and again on Thursday, Aug. 22-25, actors with the Stone’s Throw Dinner Theater in Carthage will be tackling the musical “They’re Playing Our Song” by legendary writer Neil Simon. Directed by Bill Welsh, the story is based on the real-life relationship of Hamlisch and Sager, a wise-cracking composer who falls in love with a new, offbeat lyricist, though initially the match isn’t one made in heaven. The two undergo a series of trials and overcome a number of hurdles before finding true love. Details: 417.358.9665.

Route 66 Drive-In T h e atr e : Movies begin at dusk every Friday through Sunday evenings, 1731 Old 66 Boulevard. Adults $6, children $3, kids in car seats free. Details: 417.359.5959.


Struggle for Education in a Segregated America: 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 and Sunday, Aug. 11, at the George Washington Carver National Monument. Utilizing photographs and artwork, this program focuses on Carver’s years pursuing education despite racial segregation and limited opportunities. Details: 417.325.4151.

Ad u lt S u mm e r R e a d i n g : 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Joplin Public Library. As the series finale, participants will attempt to solve the crime of “Murder at the CSI Convention” by interrogating the suspects and putting the clues together. Details: 417.623.7953.

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A G e n i u s R e m e mb e r e d : 1 to 1:30 p.m. from Friday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 4, at the George Washington Carver National Monument. This 30-minute film explores the life of Carver, told by people who actually knew him and by others whose work was influenced by his great legacy. Details: 417.325.4151.


the scene

o u t l aw b a s e b a l l

Photography by T. Rob Brown

Joplin Outlaws outfielder Kyle Dickens, a player for Crowder College, hits it on the sweet spot against the visiting Sedalia Bombers back on June 20.

Max Ayoub, a player for University of Nebraska-Kearney, kicks up dirt as he heads to third base against the throw. Ayoub, a catcher for the Outlaws, was safe on the play.

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Joplin Outlaws pitcher Matt Hasenbeck, from St. Louis Community College, rifles home a strike against the Nevada Griffins during a late June game at Joe Becker Stadium.


the 10 spot

route 66 songs

Written by Ryan Richardson

Route 66 songs throughout the decades

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usic and Route 66 has been a match made on an asphalt heaven since the road first opened up in the late 1920s. This month’s edition of the 10 Spot brings a list of 10 of the best songs built for a road trip across all 2,451 miles of the Mother Road.

1 ) G r at e f u l D e a d – Truckin’ Released in 1970 off the classic “American Beauty,” this song became an anthem for the Dead and one of their highest charting songs. The song is a five minute, rollicking, blues-rocker that name drops cities across the country while expressing a yearning to make it home. Written about the band’s early misadventures on tour, “Truckin’” includes the seminal lyric “What a long, strange trip it has been” that would sum up the band’s nearly five decade career.

2 ) R a s c a l F l att s – L i f e i s a H i g h way Though this song found new popularity thanks to a 2006 cover by Rascal Flatts from the soundtrack of the Route 66 inspired “Cars,” the original

was an early ‘90s hit for Canadianborn Tom Cochrane. The song embodies many of the hallmarks of crosscountry travel on Route 66 like finding a home on the road and hitting a new city every night. So much of the wanderlust that so many travelers have quenched on the Mother Road is captured in this song, which secures a spot on our top ten list. 3 ) B r u c e Spr i n g s t e e n – B or n to R u n The 1975 album this song takes its name from is filled with anthems about the road and finding a new life beyond the confines of where you grew up. Serving as the crescendo of the album, this song characterizes the motor-obsessed protagonist’s love for a girl named Wendy and his attempts to persuade his girl to hit the road to get away from the place that has grown all

too familiar for both of them. The lyrics “The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive/ Everybody’s out on the run tonight but there’s no place left to hide” serves as a reminder that many people have hit the road searching for the same thing. 4) Johnny Cash – I ’ v e B e e n Ev e r y w h e r e The lyrics serve as a road atlas for every major city in the United States. Managing to name drop over 60 cities in four verses, the song has also been covered and subsequently translated

8 ) O u r Tow n – J a m e s Tay lor Many towns sustained a living by the traffic brought by Route 66 and when the highway was decommissioned, many of those towns stumbled into economic hardships in the years following. Taylor’s 2006 song won the artist a Grammy and was became a theme song for the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Lyrically, the song details the inertia holding people to a dying town where people “open for business that’s never gonna come as the world rolls by a million miles away.”

1 0 ) No Pa rt i c u l a r P l ac e to G o – C h u c k B e rr y Our final song on the list is a blast from the past of Route 66’s heyday by an artist that is no particular stranger to the highway. The song kicks off with the words “Ridin’ along in my automobile/ my baby beside me at the wheel” and proceeds to travel along the road with a wild-eyed ambition while driving a thunderous piece of Detroit steel. The 86-year-old St. Louis native still performs this song at his restaurant in St. Louis monthly, not far away from where the highway went through the city.

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9 ) C a l i for n i a Sta r s – W i lco California serves as the western terminal for Route 66 and has served as the destination for many highway travelers, even before the road was completed. Chicago-based Wilco has become the modern flag bearers of Americana and “California Stars” is no exception to that. The song originally appeared on the band’s 1998 album “Mermaid Avenue,” which was a folk rock album that centered around many of Woody Guthrie’s unheard songs. This song is also a live staple at many of Wilco’s shows and has also served as the de facto guest spot in the band’s setlist for such artists as Andrew Bird, Billy Bragg and Bob Seger.

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6 ) ( G e t Yo u r K i c k s ) O n R o u t e 6 6 – B obby T ro u p Serving as the official, unofficial song of the Mother Road for nearly 70 years, this song is the staple for any road trip song list. Many huge names have covered this hit including Chuck Berry, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, The Rolling Stones and recently John Mayer. Many of the major cities along Route 66 make an appearance here including Joplin. The song also appears on the Federal Highway Administration approved list of traveling songs. In 2000, Brad Paisley covered the song live on Brush Creek Bridge in Riverton,

7 ) H i g h way 6 6 B lu e s – W oody G u t h r i e Woody Guthrie was a social activist and a mentor to many socially-conscious musicians of the 1960s like Bob Dylan. W h i l e “Highway 66 Blues” was not a huge hit on the level of “This Land is Your Land” for Guthrie, the song became a staple in his catalog and has been archived by the Library of Congress. The song details a cross-country trip by a driver attempting to clear his heavy mind on his way to New York. Guthrie wove Route 66 into several other songs including “Willy Rogers Highway” and he famously toured with his family along the Route 66. His son, Arlo, recreated much of his dad’s route in a 1989 tour.


5 ) H a H a To n k a – W e s t wa rd B o u n d The Ozarks’ own Ha Ha Tonka have become a critical and commercial success over the past few years since the release of their album “Death of a Decade” in 2011. “Westward Bound” is a traveling song by a band that has made their name on relentless touring and heartfelt songs. The lyrics center around the optimism and hope of hitting the road and are brimming with the hope of a new adventure with each passing mile west.

Kan., for the television show Route 66: Main Street America.

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by musicians from all over the world to pack in references to their own country. The song was originally a country hit in 1962 for Hank Snow and was recorded by Cash in 1996 for the album “Unchained.” In addition to being covered several times, the song has also become a staple in advertising for Choice Hotels to the Tennessee State Highway Patrol.


This historic cop car sits on the road between Galena and Riverton, Kan., daring folks to exceed the speed limit.

Galena, Kan. resident Howard “Pappy” Litch spent much of his life preserving the history of his home town. In his honor, the city built this park on the site of his former business, which is at 6th and Main.


It’s the only motorcycle museum and one of the few motorcycle shops located on Route 66 between Chicago and Oklahoma City. Aside from a number of vintage motorcycles, located inside the Miami, Okla. museum is an exhibit of the great Evel Knievel.

International tourists often stop outside Carterville for pictures of Center Creek and the train trestle half hidden in the trees beyond it.

Located at 103 N. Main St. (Route 66) in Miami, Okla., this 1,600-seat theater was built by George L. Coleman Sr. and opened in early 1929, at a cost of $600,000. Inside, there is gold leaf trim, silk panels, stained glass panels, marble accents, a Wurlitzer pipe organ and a carved mahogany staircase.

Built during the 1920s, the Boots Motel in Carthage is a lasting example of “Streamline Modern” architecture, one of the last found along the famed route.

on the cover route 66

Written by Ryan Richardson Photography by Ryan Richardson and Kevin McClintock

Calling the World to Joplin

While some of the crowds will be drawn from the local area, the festival will pull a lot of international travelers to Joplin, many of whom will be in Joplin for their first time. “This is an international festival that will put a lot new faces over here for the festival and in the weeks leading up to it,” Tuttle said. “We already have people from New Zealand, Canada, Germany and the U.K. coming through during the week of the event, and they are timing their trip to be in Joplin during the festival. It’s a huge deal for them to be a part of this and we are looking forward to showing them what Joplin has.”

Patrick Tuttle, director of the CVB, said landing the festival is a major honor for the city and serves as another guidepost for the city’s recovery after the May 22, 2011, tornado. “They thought it was very timely with our recovery and they recognized a lot of what Joplin has that ties it to Route 66 and America as a whole,” Tuttle said.

Tuttle said the challenge for officials was to find ways to include the whole city throughout the weekend festivities.

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Nearly 15,000 participants are expected at this year’s festival, which will run August 1-3. The annual festival, which has been held for more than 20 years, is a joint venture between the Route 66 Alliance and the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and will bring attractions not only to Joplin, but to surrounding cities along the famous highway.


“We reached out to the major players and convinced them of what they already knew. We do a lot of things right like our Third Thursday events and other large scale entertainment and they wanted to use our experience doing the things we do well to host the festival.”

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housands of Route 66 enthusiasts will descend upon Joplin in early August for the Route 66 International Festival as the Mother Road will call the world to Joplin for the festival’s first appearance in the Show-Me State.

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Unique Route 66 festival held in Missouri for first time


route 66

on the cover

“All of the activities are on Route 66, which is unique for the festival,” Tuttle said. “We’re holding everything on stops right on the route, which I challenge any future cities to do the same. Previous festivals tried to do a central location, like at a fairground, while we are holding it like a street festival. We’re putting on a unique festival that will show Route 66 and will show the best of Joplin.” The city will host a Route 66 photo exhibit, a Main Street marketplace for memorabilia vendors, a classic car show and a number of concerts throughout the weekend. The Carthage Drive-in will also host a special showing of the DisneyPixar movie “Cars,” and complete with a life-sized replica of the movies two main characters: Lightning McQueen and Mater. “We are also tying together a lot of the local cities to host this, like Galena (Kan.) and Carthage. You go back to the mining days and you see that we have a history together. This famous highway connects these cities together and we’re showing that bond during the festival.”

With the Jasper County Courthouse peeking over the top, the “Tummy Tickle” or “Whee” bridge in Carthage has brought forth many stomachchurning squeals from kids and adults alike over the decades.

Tuttle said that landing the festival was a major score for the city. Victorville, Calif. and Amarillo, Texas were the host sites

A stretch of road just outside Carterville is known for its stunning greenery. You won’t find a more shady spot along the route anywhere in Southwest Missouri than here.

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There’s apparently a long-lost cousin of the famed Tow Mater lounging on the western edge of Carterville.

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One of the most famed stops in Joplin can be viewed at 2312 Utica St.; once the home to Dale’s Route 66 Barber Shop, found in the historic Royal Heights neighborhood. Before being converted into a barber shop, it was a Phillip’s cottage style station. Dale Holly, the building’s owner, retired in mid2003, and this brick and mortar structure is now a historical landmark.

“We need to become more than just a dot on the map for them and residents need to embrace the history that ties the city to the road. We want to have the same attraction that so many other places have capitalized on.”

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While festivities will only last three days, Tuttle hopes the festival will have a lasting effect on the city. “I hope the local impact of the festival... motivates people to learn about the route and to celebrate what we have,” Tuttle said. “Every day I look up and I see motorcycles with international flags or Mustangs driving by in groups and I see the draw that highway has on this city.

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for the past two years and are almost double the size of Joplin. “They left Victorville and were without a 2013 site and we got wind of that fact,” Tuttle said. “We have the hotels, we have the restaurants and we have everything to hold that many people in our city. Our biggest job was putting together something different than the other cities that have hosted it.”


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In the year 2000, country singer Brad Paisley performed “Route 66” on the bridge for the TLC special, “Route 66: Main Street America.”

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The bridge has been listed with the National Register of Historic Places, which prohibits condemnation of the old bridge.


Rainbow Bridge, which spans Brush Creek two miles west of Riverton, Kan., is the sole surviving bridge of its type on the entire length of Route 66. Built in 1923, it is a must-stop by national and international Route 66 enthusiasts traveling between Chicago and Los Angeles.

on the cover route 66

Written and photographed by Ryan Richardson

The Last of its Kind A special bridge beloved by all

“The bridge basically represents Route

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The bridge has also become a famous destination for many international travelers and sightseers, despite the narrow traffic the bridge allows.

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The bridge has been a protected landmark since 1983, after it was registered on the National Register of Historic Places. James Barney Marsh

“We’ve had weddings, car shows, music there. Basically anything you can imagine goes on there because it is such a recognized landmark,” Cook said. “It is completely unique because it is the last one left along the road and people here value that.”


Built in 1923, the Brush Creek Rainbow Bridge is a 130-foot, singlespan concrete bridge that sits on a oneway southbound road leading away from the main route. The road was added after a bypass was built in 1992, to let tourists access the landmark. Since the bridge was opened, it has been covered with graffiti several times leading to a restoration project in the ‘90s that saw the bridge don a new white coat of paint in addition to structural improvements that kept the original design untouched.

designed the bridge, along with several hundred others across the United States, which bear his name and his patented design. Much like the Rainbow Bridge, many of those are also registered on the national register. For local residents like Wayne Cook, the bridge has become a local landmark in addition to a national one. Cook, who volunteers at the Route 66 Visitors Center in Baxter Springs, Kan., said the bridge is something that is close to the people in the area.

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he last standing Marsh arch bridge along Route 66 nestled near Riverton, Kan., has become one of the most familiar sites along the 13-mile stretch of the highway in Kansas, giving tourists a view to one of the most famous bridges in the state.


route 66

on the cover

66 because it is something that is so different than anything else you will see now,” Cook said. “There are other bridges now that were built to handle the traffic, but people want to see the one that is famous. Much like Route 66, it has become a world-wide phenomenon.”

the Galena Main Street and also houses a 1952 marker designating Route 66 as part of the Will Rogers Highway in addition to a memorial marker commemorating Howard Litch, who was a local historian. Each summer, the city hosts Galena Days near the park to raise money towards its completion. The park was originally a federal weigh station on the route. * K a n s a s Route 66 V i s i tor s C e n t e r — This structure in Baxter Springs, Kan. has been on the National Register of Historical Places since 2003 and was purchased by the Baxter Springs Historical Society in 2005. Thanks in part to a grant from the National Park Service, the building was restored to its 1940s gas station appearance in 2007.

of whom are buried at the national cemetery plot west of town.

* E i s l e r B rot h e r s O ld R i v e rto n Stor e — Located in Riverton, Kan., this Route 66 mainstay is also on the National Historic Register. The store has been in operation since 1925, and now serves as a deli and gift shop for travelers along the route. The store is currently owned by Route 66 Association of Kansas President Scott Nelson.

While only 13 miles of Route 66’s massive stretch of road lies within Kansas, the state manages to pack several historical landmarks, attractions and curiosities that celebrate several different eras of Kansas history. Many of these sites mark the Civil War era and the early mining days of the area, while also celebrating the area’s ties with Route 66.

* M at e r — Located in Galena, this tow truck was the inspiration for the character Tow Mater from the Disney-Pixar movie “Cars.” Since the movie’s release, the truck has been modified to resemble the character from the movie. Several other cars will be added to the property and will be made up in a similar fashion as part of the “Cars on the Route” attraction.

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* How a rd “Pa ppy” Li tch Par k — While this Galena, Kan. location is newer and is still growing, city officials hope it will turn into a main Route 66 attraction. The site is located on

* F ort B l a i r — This Civil War era fort was the site of a battle between the Second Colored Kansas Infantry and the Confederate guerilla fighter William Quantrill. Quantrill led many raids throughout the area in 1863, including an ambush north of the fort that led to the death of more than 100 union soldiers, many


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on the cover route 66

Written and Photographed by Kevin McClintock

May I Have a Cookie? Commerce man makes unique Route 66 cookies

Last year, he sold about 1,080 cookies. Since he started making the cookies four years ago, he’s sold about 3,500. A good majority of these treats have been sold over the Dairy King’s counter. Hundreds of others, however, have been frozen and shipped to other countries. “I’ve sent 40 to Paris

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“I could probably open up my own (cookie) shop, but that’s not why I do this. I just love the idea of having (the Dairy King) be the only place in the world where you can buy one of my cookies.”

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Aside from a cheeseburger and soft served cones, the thousands of road travelers who stop at the converted gas station each summer will often purchase a unique, chocolate-chip cookie shaped like the famed Rt. 66 road sign. It’s a design Duboise has patented, along with the metal cookie cutter he shaped with his own hands years ago. “It’s the only Route 66 cookie cutter you’ll find anywhere in the world,” Duboise said proudly. In front of the building hangs a sign that reads: “One and only Route 66 cookies sold anywhere.”


As co-owner (along with mother Treva) of the popular Dairy King hamburger joint on Route 66 in downtown Commerce, Duboise has greeted, shaken hands, hugged and even signed with thousands of road travelers from Europe, Russia, Australia and Japan.

In 2009, he trademarked the metal cookie cutter’s manufacture and design — “I built the first cookie cutters by hand, by bending it (the metal) with a pair of pliers, I made a jig to make the cookie cutters and then I started baking.” Also trademarked was the cookie’s actual design, the cookie’s name, 56 cookie flavors as well as the cookie dough and raw cookie mix. So far, he only makes two flavors: chocolate chip and plain sugar.

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t’s probably safe to say that, with the exception of baseball great Mickey Mantle, no other Commerce, Okla. resident is better known globally than Charles Duboise.


This is what Route 66 enthusiasts see about halfway between their historic ride between Chicago and Los Angeles: the Dairy King in Commerce, Okla. Inside, co-owner Charles Duboise, along with his mother, serves hamburgers, milkshakes and the world’s only patented Route 66 cookies.

and another 40 to Leone in France, some to Italy and to Belgium. I’ve also sent (cookies) to a place called Bumbery, Australia, which is about 100 miles south of Perth.” Each cookie is cut individually. He applies chocolate icing to spell out “Rt. 66.” “To make 100 cookies, it takes me a couple of hours,” he said. Each cookie sells at the Dairy King for 99 cents. Again, it’s not about the cookies or any type of profit, Duboise said, “It’s about meeting people that you’ll never see again.”

Duboise, a 1985 graduate of Commerce High School, also met Scottish comedian and actor Billy Connolly, while the latter was filming a British documentary on Route 66 in 2011. While neither he nor his cookies made it into the second of four episodes, he did say it was a thrill to meet the man who has starred in movies such as Tom Cruise’s “Last Samurai” and “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Charles made such a big impression in 2012 on Dutch artist Willem Bor that

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For example, there was a young French couple who were obsessed with Bonnie and Clyde. They had spent the night at the infamous Joplin hideout and had driven to Commerce to see where, in 1934, the duo had killed William C. Campbell, a Commerce police offi-

cer, and briefly kidnapped the town’s Police Chief Percy Boyd. “They had these matching tattoos, Bonnie and Clyde, in the webbing at the thumbs (and forefingers), so when they held hands the two (outlaws) met. They spoke very good English and they were wonderful. They were giddy. They loved the fact that the shootout happened a half-mile from here.”


Here is the book of photographs by German Photographer Christian Popke, showing Charles Duboise hard at work inside the Dairy King kitchen on the right and, on the left, the first ever batch of baked Route 66 cookies. “They were smaller then,” Duboise said of his cookies. “I hadn’t gotten them quite right yet.”

The Commerce native also gained notoriety when he lost 180-plus pounds after he decided to begin running 8.5 miles a day — every day, 365 days a year — back in 1991. In the spring of 2004, he even appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show because he had run 48,000 miles, or twice the circumference of the Earth.

The Duboise family has operated the popular Dairy King since 1980.

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Duboise, his cookies and the Dairy King were featured in a published book, “Facing Route 66,” by German Photographer Christian Popkes. The photograph of the Route 66 cookies was the very first batch Duboise had ever baked.

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the latter was inspired to build a small-scale replica of the Burger King, which used to be a historic Marathon gas station.

And in 1999, he was quoted in a People magazine story about Mickey Mantle’s boyhood home, at 319 S. Quincy Street in Commerce, when he said the house “looked like termites holding hands.” Ninety-nine percent of international tourists who stop at the Dairy King for a bite to eat are friendly and courteous, he said. And they gush about how friendly Americans are. The only instance where a guest wasn’t — maybe he was a having a really bad day, Charles speculated — was a man from Quebec, Canada. “And you hear about how (other nationalities) hate Americans. As far as I can tell, none of them hate Americans. One man from Hamburg (Germany) told me that it a total lie.

The Dairy King, 100 Main Street, is housed inside a Marathon Gas Station, built in 1927. Gas was sold here as cheap as 5 cents a gallon.

“One of the things I always ask is how have you been treated, and they always say ‘great.’” Charles Duboise has met thousands of international travelers on Route 66, selling them cheeseburgers, milkshakes and his famed cookies. He has also been on Oprah Winfrey as well as being quoted in People magazine.

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A close-up of the Rt. 66 cookie cutter pressed into a new batch of chocolate chip dough.

A look at a batch of Rt. 66 chocolate cookies. The shape, content, wording and the way they are made — all are patent protected.


on the cover route 66

written and photographed by Kevin McClintock

Truth, Justice and the American (Road)way


ou really can’t get more American than Route 66 and Superman. Both of these iconic institutions can be found inside the Southwest Missouri town of Carterville.

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SuperTAM on 66 is a Superman museum and ice cream parlor established in 2006. For about a year, it was known as Superman on 66, but owner Larry Tamminen was forced to change the name to SuperTAM (the first three letters of his last name) following pressure from Warner Brothers. “The name still rhymes,” Tamminen said with a chuckle.


Despite the name change, it continues to be a magnet for international tourists traveling Route 66. And really, that’s what the whole idea behind the museum is all about — enticing Route 66 tourists to stop for the day in Southwest Missouri. “Route 66 (in Missouri) is becoming a place of destination,” Tamminen said. “It wasn’t like that at all in the 1950s.”

Small towns throughout the FourState region — Carterville, Galena and Baxter Springs, Kan. as well as Miami, Okla. — have embraced Route 66 and helped establish a number of “stops” along the route; stops that should pique the interest of Route 66 travelers. “Eighty percent of the towns on Route 66 are small towns,” he said, who admitted he wouldn’t have purchased the building if it wasn’t located on Route 66. “It’s why they call this the ‘Main Street of America.’ “Many (international travelers) will pick out the places they want to stop at and we’re usually one of those stops. They want to see the small towns,” he continued. “They want to see how (real) Americans live.” A former board member of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, Tamminen’s Superman collection “used to be all in my house, inside my second bedroom,” he said. “I’d buy something and throw it on top and some of the (other stuff ) would” tumble off.

“A great stop on our Route 66 trips. Ice cream was tasty and it was great to hear all about Superman from an expert.” Fay and Richard of Manchester/Derby, England

Some of Larry Tamminen’s amazing Superman collection, including a standup Superman arcade game.

Within six to eight months of opening back in 2006, he added an ice cream parlor inside the Superman museum, which gave Route 66 travelers even more of an incentive to stop. Even better, he sells “Superman”-flavored ice cream, something he saw years ago during a visit to Branson. Called “Chocolate Shoppe” Ice Cream from Madison, Wis., the ice cream is rich in taste partly because it has 14 percent butter fat — “the best,” Tamminen said. Flavors range from the red, blue and yellow of the popular “Superman” to cotton candy, peanut butter and black cherry.

Owner Larry Tamminen and his brother, Tracy Warren, stand inside SuperTAM on 66 museum and ice cream parlor, which is located on Main Street (Route 66) in Carterville. The building is a popular spot for international travelers on Route 66. Hundreds from all over the world eat ice cream there while browsing the 3,000 Superman items on display.

“This is my fun job. This is my therapy from my real job.” Details: The SuperTAM museum and ice cream shop is located at 221 W. Main St., Carterville and is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 3 to 9 p.m.

Tracy Warren, who helps Larry Tamminen inside the SuperTAM on 66 museum and ice cream parlor, holds up an S-shaped ice cube made of Kryptonite. It helps create a yummy beverage called “Kryptonite Delight.”


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During a five-day stretch in late June, Tamminen sold ice cream to couples from England and Norway as well as a group of men from Brazil. During a given summer, he and his brother,

Tracy Warren, will host 300 to 500 travelers and see about a thousand families motor down Carterville’s Main Street while traveling to either Chicago or Los Angeles. “That’s the neat thing about this place,” he said. “Meeting people” from all around the world. “They don’t have anything like (Route 66) anywhere in the world. They all want to experience it.”

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Even though the current building displays roughly 3,000 of his 5,000 Superman items — items he’s collected over the last 30 years — it’s still the largest Superman collection found on Route 66, he said.

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Many of these hotels, suc h as Castle Kourt, served as temporary hom es to road-weary Route 66 motorists. Ca stle Kourt and Little King’s Hotel Court were sim Boots Motel that still exi ilar to the famed sts in Carthage.



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Furniture from Hickory Chair, Highland House and Norwalk. Area Rugs from Surya and Loloi. Blinds and Shades from Hunter Douglas.



homeone of the many A postcard from 66 tourist’s e ut Ro ts that fed owned restauran ays. yd the roadway’s he stomachs during

on the cover route 66

By Kevin McClintock Photography by T. Rob Brown and courtesy of the Joplin Museum Complex

The Mother Road Kept Joplin on National Map

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It was Route 66, established in 1926, that was by then a vital corridor linking American’s second and third largest cities — Chicago and Los Angeles — together. It was also a rich vein of tourist dollars, stretching 2,451 miles and enriching the cities and small towns it touched across eight states.

Even as early as 1927, tourism dollars was much on the minds of officials whose towns lay along the so-called “Main Street of America.” A Joplin Globe editorial writer from that year put it best when it he wrote: “There are reasons to believe... Route 66 will be one of the most important (highways) in the country. The important thing is that it is the road that will be taken, when completed, by 75 percent of tourists going from St. Louis and points north and east to Los Angeles and the Pacific Coast. It will be a 365-day-a-year road, always pleasant and passable.”

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Lead and zinc mining operations dramatically slowed following World War I. It was on life support during the Great Depression years of the 1930s. After a brief burst of activity during World War II, the mining era came to an end.


At least that’s the assessment from Chris Wiseman, curator of collections at the Joplin Museum Complex. Route 66, he said, “is the reason Joplin is still here” today.

The fact that Route 66 arrowed right through the city’s downtown area “is the reason Joplin’s heart kept beating,” Wiseman said. “The correlation to that is like the old west mining towns. Once the mining (operations) went away there, what did they have? We were just so fortunate to be on the axis of the two central highways for the southern part of the state.”

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he introduction of America’s first paved and all-weather road, the famed Route 66, likely saved Joplin and the Tri-State Area from financial ruin.


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Due to Joplin’s mining legacy, cave-ins occurred on more than one occasion along Route 66 through Joplin. This cave-in occurred during the 1940s on Seventh Street.

At a time when 98 percent of roads in America were still dirt and mud, Route 66 seemed truly revolutionary. In August 1927, a bottle of champagne was used to christen a new segment of Highway 66 during a dedication in Galena, Kan. The ceremony completed an $85,000 concrete paving project between Joplin and Galena, linking those two neighboring states together. In attendance that day was John M. Malang, manager of the Joplin Road Commission. During his tenure, many

Jasper County roads were upgraded from mere wagon trails to graded and paved routes. It was also during his oversight that Route 66 was able to intersect every major Jasper County city: Carthage, Carterville, Webb City and, of course, Joplin.

can become more connected with the landscape. With today’s interstates, you can’t do that. (Route 66) introduced everyone who traveled on that road with our communities. In many ways, towns are like people. Each community has its own personality.”

That’s an amazing achievement when you think about it, said Brad Belk, Joplin Museum Complex director. Route 66, he said, “takes us through the heart of every one of our communities; you’re literally pulled right through those communities. Doing that, you

Paved roads, the mass production and affordability of reliable vehicles and the post-war economic boom all helped cities along Route 66 thrive. “It was a perfect match,” Belk said.

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This was a full-service filling station, so popular on Route 66. This station sat where the Joplin Community Clinic resides today.

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Joplin’s downtown business district thrived: its three major, multi-story department stores — Christman’s (Macy’s beginning in 1954), Newman’s and Ramsey’s — all had front doors facing Route 66. Filling stations with full-service attendants were seemingly at every street corner. There were numerous diners, each specializing in mouth-watering treats not found in mass-produced, fast-food restaurants today — Belk can remember honeydipped fried chicken and fruit pies from several former Joplin, Route 66 diners. Between Carthage and Joplin, there were three drive-in theaters, two golf courses and two cemeteries. Liquor sales also helped Joplin. “I can’t discount the importance of liquor had on Joplin and Jasper County. They did not have liberal drinking laws in Kansas and Oklahoma. And Route 66 was the only road they could use to come to Joplin and buy packaged liquor.” Both states, Belk said, had archaic, complicated laws when it came to purchasing beer or whiskey. “There were package stores on the state borders so, if they didn’t

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route 66

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like Missouri, they could just creep into Missouri for a block or two, grab what they wanted before getting the hell out.” Cave-ins plagued Route 66 through Joplin during the 1940s — legacy of Joplin’s mining past. Cave-ins were especially heavy on Seventh Street, near Schifferdecker Ave. Workers were forced to drill holes and fill the cavity with gravel and water. They even built a bridge beneath the ground to avoid future collapses, Wiseman said. Unlike the single route through Carthage or towns in Kansas and Oklahoma, Joplin boasts several Route 66 routes through Joplin, which can lead to confusion, even for Jasper County natives. That came about, Belk said, because of the Missouri Department of Transportation. “They are, in essence, trying to manage traffic to the best of their ability. And so some Route 66 parts just became completely inactive or inefficient. And so what they continued to push was a safer, quicker route” through Joplin.

Belk can’t explain why Route 66 fascinates them so much.“There’s a mystique” about the highway, he said. “There’s something intangible about that. There’s something that’s driving these folks.”

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Thankfully, when various east-west interstates, such as I-44, made Route 66 and its small-town, zig-zag course obsolete, tourism of a different nature revived the highway and towns along its path. “It’s amazing how many folks we’re getting from other countries, which is just so interesting,” Belk said. “It’s because of the Route 66 pop culture: the stories, books, songs, the movies and the 1960s television show.”

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Which is why you have the original route through the heart of Joplin, linking up with Main Street and eventually Seventh Street, and you have a second route that encompasses the length of Seventh Street through Joplin.

Added Wiseman, “It’s just that idea of 46

A peek inside one of the three large, multi-story department stores found in downtown Joplin along Route 66.

A snapshot of the busy pedestrian traffic along Joplin’s Main Street (and Route 66) during the 1940s. Note the Paramount theater, which at the time was located at 515 Main.

Castle Kourt was one of many popular stops in Joplin for Route 66 travelers during the 1950s and 1960s

the open road. Germany has the autobahn but that’s a zip through. Route 66 is more of a return back to just cruising along.” Most Europeans and Asians associate America with New York and L.A.,

but that’s not what America is about. “If you really want to know America,” Wiseman said, “you drive Route 66. Maybe that’s why they’re here; that’s what they’re trying to see. I think a lot of the people remember that Americana and what it all stood for.”

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Out and About in Miami, Okla.


on the cover route 66

By Andra Bryan Stefanoni Photography by Andra Bryan Stefanoni and Kevin McClintock

Fill ‘Er Up

Former filling stations now key Route 66 information centers

On an inside wall, local artist John

The station served Route 66 motorists starting in 1934, but in recent decades had fallen into disrepair. In 2007, a

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Pumps out front still bear the branding of the former Kanotex Refining Company (1909-1953), a now-defunct regional fuel brand named for Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The Kan-O-Tex logo was a Kansas sunflower behind a five-point star.

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To transform the building, six underground tanks were removed, and a grant from the Jasper County Industrial Development Authority paid for a new roof and parking lot. The Webb City Lions Club contributed $5,200 to assist with renovations, and a federal grant funded new heat and air conditioning, concrete work to make the building handicapped accessible, new glass work and neon signage.

About 14 miles down the Mother Road in Galena, Kan., a former service station is now a roadside diner and souvenir shop and, Mayor Dale Oglesby says, the town’s unofficial welcome center. Located on the corner of Old Route 66 and Main Street, it attracts thousands of visitors from around the world each year.


In Webb City, Route 66 runs directly through the downtown. In 2010, the city completed renovations of a former gas station on the route at the corner of Webb and Broadway streets. It now serves as the city’s information center, a Route 66 museum and headquarters of the local Chamber of Commerce.

Biggs, who also serves as the town’s mayor, painted an 8-foot by 16-foot mural depicting the Route 66 Lakeside area just east of Webb City. Vintage automobiles are on rotating display in the former service bay.

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n three Four-State towns rich in history, three former service stations that served early day motorists now serve as welcome centers for Route 66 enthusiasts.


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group of local women purchased and restored it and renamed it “4 Women on the Route.” They retained the original aesthetic design of the fuel pumps and facade, but the service bay now features a food counter that serves up hamburgers, hot dogs and cold soda and beer. Their efforts were recognized in 2008 by the Route 66 Festival with the New Business of the Year Award.


The station recently underwent additional renovations and a name change. Now called “Cars on the Route,” a nod to the Pixar movie whose directors gained inspiration there, it still offers Route 66 memorabilia and food, as well as “lots of free information — anything anyone wants to know” about Route 66, says staff member Amber Jordan. Outside, a popular photo opportunity awaits in the form of a 1951 International boom truck on which Pixar’s 1. The Route 66 Visitors’ Center in Baxter Springs occupies a circa-1930 gasoline station which sold Phillips Petroleum products until 1958. After several changes of ownership, the property was obtained by the Baxter Springs Historical Society and restored to its 1940s appearance.

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3.  A former Kan-O-Tex Service Station serves as Galena’s unofficial welcome center. The combination Route 66 souvenir shop-hamburger joint annually sees thousands of visitors from around the world as it is at the corner of Old Route 66 and Galena’s historic Main Street.


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2.  A former gas station was renovated in 2010 at the corner of Webb and Broadway streets into the city’s information center, a Route 66 Museum as well as the headquarters of the local Chamber of Commerce.

Formerly Joplin Granite Co.

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animated “Cars” character Tow Mater was based. Pixar directors returned to the station in 2011 to interview the owners for a special feature on the “Cars 2” DVD. Just before Route 66 leaves Kansas, it passes through historic Baxter Springs, a former mining and cowtown. On the north end of the town’s commercial district, a circa-1930 gas station designed with a cottage look serves as the Route 66 Visitors Center. Very different from the stations in Webb City and Galena in architecture, it features brick and stucco walls, a pitched roof, a chimney and shuttered windows. A small copperroofed bay window is located next to the entrance, and Tudor Revival influence can be seen in the crosstimbered gables and deep eaves.

• Galena’s Cars on the Route is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Food is served 11 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Call 620.783.1366. • The Route 66 Visitors Center in Baxter Springs is staffed by volunteers. It is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m., except on holidays. Call 620.856.2066.

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If you go: • The Webb City Route 66 Welcome Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 417.673.1154.

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Having sold Phillips Petroleum products until 1958, in later years it had been used as a gift store, a dog-groomer’s shop and a chiropractor’s office. In 2005, the property was obtained by the Baxter Springs Historical Society and restored to its 1940s appearance. Private donors and grant from the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program and the Kansas Humanities Council funded the transformation to a visitors center.


on the cover route 66

By Scott Meeker Photography by B.W. Shepherd

Drive on in! Route 66 Drive-In remains a Mother Road mainstay

Prior to restoration efforts, the drivein had last been owned by Dickinson Theatres, which closed it in the fall of

Besides the nostalgia factor, Goodman says part of the success of his drive-in theater has been the fact that it’s a family friendly bargain. “We don’t show

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Open the first weekend in April until after Labor Day, it’s not uncommon to find traffic lined up along Route 66 from both directions as families wait for the box office to open. “It’s an experience,” said Goodman. “There’s something about when you’re a kid and you get taken to the drive-in … you remember it your whole life. I’ve lived in Carthage my whole life and I can remember my parents bringing me here as a kid.”

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Mark Goodman owns the drive-in, which also bears the unique distinction of being located between the original 1926 route and the the byway that came later. “We bought it a little over 27 years ago,” he said. “I had another business here that wasn’t doing real well. I was a member of a drive-in theater fan club based out of Baltimore, Md., for years. They were rebuilding some drive-ins back east … they were working out and had good crowds. We decided to give it a shot and restore this theater.”

When it opened, the pole-mounted speakers were removed and replaced with an FM transmitter, meaning that visitors could listen to the movie through the car radio. (More recently, the drive-in made the switch from using a film projector to a digital system.)


Today, the outdoor theater just outside of Carthage remains the last original 66 drive-in.

1985. Goodman purchased it the following spring, but it didn’t re-open until August of 1997.

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he 66 Drive-In screened its first movie in September of 1949. During the heyday of the Mother Road, there were six theaters located along the route with that name.


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In a nod to the changing times, the 66 Drive-In Theatre upgraded to a digital projection system last year. But the theater still retains the nostalgic appeal that people retain from their childhood, says owner Mark Goodman.

any R-rated movies here, and there are some PG-13s that we will not show,” he said. “And it’s a bargain. People can sit outside and watch two movies.” Double-feature offerings range from recent animated hits to blockbuster fare. Recent screenings have included “Epic,” “Man of Steel” and “Oz the Great and Powerful.” “We could be a first-run theater,” said Goodman, referring to theaters which screen new movies the weekend they are released. “But our crowd knows that they can wait a couple weeks to see it here and save some money.”

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The drive-in theater is always something of a curiosity to foreign travelers who come to the United States to drive Route 66. Pick a country, said Goodman, and he’s met people from there who make a stop at the drive-in. “I think there are some (drive-ins) in Australia and one in Germany, but they’re pretty unique to the U.S.,” he said.


Admission is $7 for ages 13 and up, and 3 for kids ages 6 to 12. Children under 5 are free. For more information, call 417.359.5959 or check out the Route 66 Drive-In’s Facebook page.

Mark Goodman (right), owner of the 66 Drive-In Theatre, sells tickets as carloads of customers line up to enter.

It’s hard to miss the sign and ticket booth when traveling Route 66 on a summer evening.

Sp e c i a l s c r e e n i n g As part of the Route 66 International Festival, the drive-in will host a screening of the Pixar film “Cars” on Aug. 1. Tickets went on sale earlier this month and were sold out within a matter of hours. There will be life-sized replicas of Lightning McQueen and Mater to check out, and Michael Wallis — who voices the sheriff of Radiator Springs in the film — will also be on hand.

on the cover route 66

By Scott Meeker

An American classic Author, historian Michael Wallis talks enduring appeal of Route 66

Eight-five percent of Route 66 is still in existence, said Wallis. It’s out there waiting for older people to experience a nostalgic journey or for younger travelers to find out what it’s all about. “It’s an opportunity to use all of your senses and experience America before America became generic,” he said.

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Wallis, whose books include “Route 66: The Mother Road,” has a deep appreciation for the historic highway. He is one of the founding members of the Route 66 Alliance, which is bringing the festival to town.

So what is the appeal of traveling a highway approaching 90 years in age?

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In his mind’s eye, the ribbon of road that stretches from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean is a single, uninterrupted slice of this country’s history. “For me, it’s a linear village,” said Wallis, the writer and historian who helped secure Joplin as the location for the 2013 Route 66 International Festival. “I see a seamless string of attractions all the way down.”


Established in 1926, the 2,448 miles of the Mother Road offer a sense of authenticity that’s hard to come by these days. And the way Michael Wallis sees it, there are no state lines, county lines or city limits to be found on the journey.

Although it dates back almost 20 years, this will mark the first time that the festival has been held in Missouri. Wallis’ hometown is St. Louis and he “bleeds Cardinal red,” but he said Joplin was the natural choice to host the event. “Joplin might not be geographically the heart of Missouri, but it certainly has become the heart and soul of Missouri. It’s very much like the road in that it’s resilient. I’ve spent a lot of time in Joplin and I continue to be impressed by how your city is coming back ... rebuilding, thoughtful planning and making sweet lemonade out of lemons.”

Sure, he said, you can drive through a

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ourists, they tend to stick to the interstate. Route 66 ... now, that is a road that travelers find worth taking.


route 66

on the cover

“But it doesn’t matter if you’re 5 years old or 85. It’s a story that works for all generations, just like the road.” -Michael Wallis chain restaurant, but it’s predictable. It’s boring, unlike the adventure of venturing into a roadside cafe without knowing exactly what to expect. “I always like to tell people, ‘You could get ptomaine poisoning, or you might find a cheeseburger to die for,’” he said. That nostalgia factor was instilled in a younger generation by the 2006 Pixar film “Cars.” In the film, race car Lightning McQueen is on his way to a big race in Los Angeles when he becomes stranded in the small town of Radiator Springs, a town on Route 66 that was left behind when the interstate was built.

police car that patrols Radiator Springs. “Parents say they either like me or hate me because their kids have watched the movie so damn many times,” Wallis said, laughing. “But it doesn’t matter if you’re 5 years old or 85. It’s a story that works for all generations, just like the road.”

Wallis served as a consultant for the animation team, leading them on a road trip along the route. He was also asked to provide the voice for Sheriff, the 1949 Mercury Eight

‘A ro a d for e v e r y body ’ As much of a champion as he is for the Mother Road, he said that he doesn’t sugarcoat the less savory aspects of its history.

Known as the “Main Street of America,” 66 has all the makings of a road trip of a lifetime. “The road is literally a mirror held up to the nation. It reflects the mood and trends of the country,” said Wallis.


And that’s a factor in why traveling the route has become big business for tour companies that bring in groups of foreign travelers. “Two of the fastest growing markets are China and Brazil,” said Wallis. “You also see squads of Scandinavian motorcyclists. They’ve done their homework, believe me. They’ve done all their research and they get the classic American road trip and everything that comes with it.

At Need Only-Cash

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Jesse James and his gang used it to flee the law after a bank robbery, and it also was used to transport drinks that would quench peoples’ thirst during Prohibition. “It was a road for everybody,” said Wallis. “It was for bluebloods, rednecks and outlaws. History can be good, bad and ugly. But it’s important to tell the whole story.”



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Honoring Memories Celebrating Lives

The stretch of land that became Route 66 was well traveled before it became a paved highway. Much of the route was built upon a foundation of historic trails and traces, said Wallis.

“They cruise out of Chicago in motorcycles and cars and go right through America to the Pacific. They get great natural attractions and they get Hollywood.”

‘A l i v i n g l a bor ator y ’ Though he once felt “like a voice crying in the wilderness” when it came to preserving Route 66, Wallis said that he’s pleased with the resurrection efforts that are going on all along the road. “We have cities working with other cities, states working with other states and businesses working with other businesses,” he said. “That’s what my message is to people: You have to work together.” As part of the Joplin festival, there will be a Route 66 summit to discuss issues and exchange information. He said the alliance has been happy with efforts to observe the route, particularly the 66-themed tile mural being installed by Paul Whitehill of Images in Tile on the side of the Pearl Bros. building on Main St. The mural will likely become a “must-stop picture opportunity.”

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But redevelopment efforts by smaller towns along the route will also receive special attention. “There will be a special panel about economic development, and we’ll use Galena (Kan.) as an example of a small town that can turn itself around,” said Wallis.

1306 South Rangeline Road • Joplin, MO 64801 • 417-624-6984 •

“This road has served as a living laboratory for the future. I look at the pulse of the road and I like what I see. I see the future as very good for Route 66.”

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While Route 66 enthusiasts will be out in force during the three-day festival, it will hopefully inspire others to become more than just tourists when it comes to the Mother Road. “With this crazy car culture of ours and the deteriorating interstate system, who knows what the future will bring,” Wallis said. “But you have to remember, you’re talking to an eternal optimist. It’s a chronic disease, but I’m glad I’ve been stricken with it.

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The festival will feature concerts, presentations, a downtown marketplace, tours and other events. Wallis will be on hand at the marketplace to sell and sign copies of his books.



route 66

Photography by Curtis Almeter

Model: Mykeal Nagy

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Brown dress: $25 Bracelet: $25 Sunglasses: $98 Necklace: $30


Model: Amanda Cupp

Black and white bead necklace: $12 Pearl ear-rings: $12 Available at Between Friends in Carthage, Mo. 1934 Chevy provided by Lost in the 50s Classic Car Sales and Museum in Neosho

Model: Amanda Cupp

Orange skirt: $32 Vintage white suitcase: $28 Available at Between Friends in Carthage, Mo.


minding your business C a r o u s e l pa r k

By Kevin McClintock Photography by Curtis Almeter

Carousel parK Getting Your (amusement) Kicks on Route 66


aniel Börst, his wife and two young children, driving the famed Route 66 in a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle, had stopped for a picture’s pause outside Joplin’s Carousel Park. “We may stop on our way back,” Börst said in choppy English while snapping a dozen pictures of a nearby Route 66 road sign. When asked about carnivals in his native Germany, Börst looked a bit confused. In northern Germany, he said, carnivals are called “Faschings” and they are more of a traditional seasonal holiday in large cities rather than individual amusement parks full of rides and games, which is the American interpretation. And while Germany is home to amusement parks in the tradition of a Silver Dollar City — Börst specifically mentioned Heide Park, in Lower Saxony — one won’t find something like a Carousel Park in a German town the size of Joplin, he said. “This,”Börst said, gesturing at the park and the nearby Ferris wheel, “is really unique.” Americans, “love (their) entertainment.” Which is true, said Monica Burlingame, Carousel Park manager. We do love our wide variety of entertainment venues. “Entertainment isn’t as high in other countries as what we have here in America,” Burlingame said. “We take a lot of things 60

for granted.” When Europeans come to America, particularly to drive the length of Route 66, they are “shocked and surprised” at the variety of fun things to do from state to state. “Joplin,” she said, “is pretty fortunate to have something as neat as what we have here.” Because Carousel Park is located on Route 66, it sees plenty of enthusiasts each summer, mostly from Europe and Japan. “We have a lot of international riders who stop here while they’re traveling,” she said. Many will play miniature golf — a truly American invention gaining popularity in Europe — or take a spin on the Ferris wheel. “They’ll stop to take pictures and sometimes we’ll be searching and we’ll find those pictures” online, Burlingame said. And she loves it that Route 66 runs alongside the park. “I lived in Amarillo and we have Route 66 running through there, so it’s kinda cool to come back here and to be a part of the highway.” This year marks the 12th year Burlingame has managed the park. When it was originally purchased by her father-in-law, there were two miniature golf courses, a bumper boat pond, batting cages and a driving range. They immediately tore out the driving range, kept both the cages and two minigolf courses, and relocated the bumper boat pond. Added to the park was the go-cart track, amusement park rides and a jumping pillow, aside from two large indoor party rooms.

There are individual prices for the various activities. For example, it is $4 to play 18-holes of miniature golf, or you can pay just $2 more for unlimited play. The bumper boats are $5.55

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C a n ’t f i n d “ t h e o n e ” f o r y o u ?


“What we have here is something where a whole family can come out, have fun, and there’s something for everyone,” she continued. “I mean, you can go to the movies or you can go roller skating, but here we have something that the whole family can enjoy.”


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The carnival rides range from the Ferris wheel and bumper cars to a carousel, a tilt-a-whirl and two kiddie roller coasters — the Tiger Terror and the Go-Gator. “We wanted to create a popular family entertainment center” here in Joplin, Burlingame said. Over the years, she added, Carousel Park has become a family destination spot, pulling folks from outside Joplin.


c a r o u s e l pa r k

minding your business

for five minutes and batting cages are 50 cents for eight pitches or $9 for a half-hour. Or you can purchase a Pick-3 ticket where you can choose any three activities for $18 Mondays through Thursdays or you can pay $28 for unlimited access to every ride in the park, Fridays through Sundays. “We try to keep (prices) at a reasonable price,” Burlingame said. “There are very few places that have, for instance, unlimited go-carts all day long. You can’t drive to Branson and do that (at those prices) and have that much fun.” While Joplin has a second location for miniature golf and batting cages, one would have to travel at least 60 miles to ride a Ferris wheel, duke it out in bumper cars or to race atop a go-cart track. “There’s a lot here you can do,” Burlingame said, “without having to drive 200 miles to do it.”

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Details: Carousel Park is located at 3834 West 7th Street. Call 417.626.7710 for more details.


D I D YO U KN O W From 1909 to 1914, there was an amusement park named “Electric Park” — built by a local electric company — that would later become the city-owned Schifferdecker Park in Joplin. There was a train and two defunct roller coasters: Dazy Dazer and Lover’s Tub, both wooden coasters, that allegedly rivaled any coaster found in the world during that era. It was partly called “Electric” due to the 40,000 incandescent bulbs installed on the various buildings and rides. The Electric Park, which cost $150,000 to build, also featured sideshows, animal exhibits, musical performances, concessions and souvenir stands. There were also more than 30 parks named “Electric” scattered across the country. In 1913, Charles Schifferdecker, who had leased the Electric Park, took back his land and deeded 40 acres to the City of Joplin. Soon after, the light tower and coasters were torn down. The land was to become a public park. By August 1914, Schifferdecker became the city’s fourth public park.

Cool Facts About Route 66 in Jasper County


The 66 Drive-In Theatre in Carthage, probably the key Route 66 spot along the famed road in Southwest Missouri, was at one time one of three drive-in screens located along Route 66 in Jasper County. The second screen was located in Webb City, at 1104 S. Madison (where the Wal-Mart Supercenter now sits), which at the time could park 350 vehicles. The third, the Tri-State Drive-In, built in 1948, was located near Schifferdecker Park. Sadly, here in 2013, drive-ins comprise just 1.5 percent of all movie screens. At the industry’s height, 25 percent of the nation’s movie screens were drive-in theaters.


During the 1940s and 1950s, the biggest retail outlets in Joplin were located on south Main Street, and Route 66. These “merchandising cathedrals,” as they were called, included “Christman’s,” “Newman’s” and “Ramsay’s.” All three were locallyowned and had huge storefronts where passersby could stop and gawk. Two of these buildings are currently listed on the National Register of Historical Places.



Before convenience stores, there were filling stations. In fact, some Joplin residents today still call a Conoco station or a Casey’s General Store a “filling station.” During the heydays of Route 66, a filling station was a full-service establishment where a smiling attendant would pump a vehicle full of gas, wipe and clean the windshield, and perform free checks of the vehicle’s tire pressure, oil and radiator. By 1929, there were 11,216 filling stations in America servicing 5.4 vehicles. By 1930, the number of filling stations had jumped to 124,000. Gas prices in 1933 averaged 19 cents a gallon. By 1935, the price had actually fallen to 13 cents a gallon.

The United States, today, has more paved roads than any other industrial country. In fact, there are more paved roads in America than there are in all of Europe. And it all began with Route 66. This important east-west corridor was the first U.S. highway to be entirely paved. The very last parts of Route 66 was paved in 1937. Here locally, the entire section of Route 66 through Missouri had been paved six years earlier, in 1931.


In Missouri, the fabled Route 66 highway crosses 10 counties spanning more than 300 miles. This thoroughfare came through the downtown districts of Carthage, Carterville, Webb City and Joplin, all located in Jasper County, before carrying travelers into Southeast Kansas. Overall, approximately 2,400 miles of road went through the center of urban and rural communities leading to the poetic epithet “The Main Street of America.” 63

parting shot Cosmic Road

Photography by B.W. Shepherd

A tranquil stretch of the Mother Road beneath the star-studded Milky Way on an early summer morning.


Joplin Metro Magazine, Route 66, July 2013  

Business, hospital, development and industrial news about Joplin, Missouri.