GET YOUR KICKS ON ROUTE 66 PART ONE – Carthage MO to Baxter Springs KS
Historic Route 66 is one of the most fascinating roads to the West.. or to the East depending on where you are beginning your trek. Route 66 AKA America’s Main Street is all about history and the wonderful people dedicated to preserving the Road and its history. Along the Route are hundreds of littleUSAtrips that tell a large part of the past and present foundation of our country.
This is just a guesstimate, but if you wanted to take ALL of the attractions along the route we took from Carthage, MO to Barstow, CA you could be on the road for at least two months. We traveled five days off-season so many places were not open and I doubt we saw more than 20% of those that were open or accessible. So unless you have a couple months plan your trip accordingly.
January 2, 2013 – Day 1 – AM
We began our journey West in Carthage, MO before sunrise on January 2. As with most of the little towns along Route 66 Carthage has a lot to see. Carthage is the home of “Precious Moments” and you can visit the Precious Moments Park and Chapel.
We were particularly interested in the 66 Drive-In Theatre which operated from 1949 through 1986. In 1986 until 1998 it was a salvage yard, and then in 1998 the Drive-In was restored and has been in business ever since then. Drive-In Theatres in most States are extinct. Minnesota closed their last Drive-In Theatre at the end of the 2012 season. Oh the stories they could tell if they could talk. I worked at the Redwood Drive-In Theatre in Fairmont, MN during my high school years — and oh the stories I could tell, but I never will!
From Carthage we moved through Webb City and Joplin on our way to Baxter Springs, Kansas! Some of the road side site were: The remains of Gillead’s BBQ which was opened in 1925
and the State Line Bar and Grille again opened in 1925. I can’t find any record as to when either Gillead’s BBQ or the State Line Bar and Grille were closed.
Galena is interesting. They are in the process of restoring and building along Route 66. At the north end of Main Street the old Kan-O-Tex Service station was purchased by four women from Galena and after restoration they opened a little shop that sells sandwiches, snacks and antiques. They were closed when we went through (either for the winter or permanently) but a business called “4 Women on the Route” surely catches the eye. It is said that meeting the four women and their families is as much fun as their unique shop. If you pass through there check it out and let us know if their closure was just a temporary thing.
Kansas only stakes its claim to 13.2 miles of the Mother Road, but it definitely played a significant role in tying route 66 together and they are very proud of their place in history. Baxter Springs is home to the Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridge built in 1923.
How appropriate that the Phillips 66 Station in Baxter Springs was restored and now houses the Kansas Route 66 Visitors’ Center and Gift Shop. It is manned by volunteers and we had the good fortune to meet volunteers Dean Avmaw and Georgia Taylor who took the time to share the history of the Station. They were absolutely delightful and certainly excellent representatives of Baxter Springs.
SEE YOU NEXT IN OKLAHOMA…….. RIGHT NOW I’M OFF TO THE BEACH!