Powers Museum Location on Historic Route 66 in Carthage, Missouri: Main Street of America

The Powers Museum is located on the first alignment of Highway 66 on Carthage's westside across from Municipal Park (the latter developed during the 1930s thanks to several New Deal programs). The museum's site was known as the Taylor Tourist Park then Parkview Motor Court and Cafe. Prior to Oak Street being designated U.S. Highway 66 in 1926, Oak Street and then Oak Street Road was the part of the Jefferson Highway through Carthage (1917-1926).

To read more about U. S. Highway 66 in Carthage with a map for driving the various alignments, consult pages 28-32 in the Carthage Convention and Visitors Bureau's Historical Guide to Carthage that can be consulted online at this link.

Additional photographs and advertising featuring Route 66 in Carthage found here.

Below is a 1931 postcard featuring the Taylor Tourist Park managed by H. C. Scoville on what was to become the museum's location (and later re-named Parkview Motor Court) . Dr. Calvin Buchanan Taylor built the establishment in the late 1920s and turned it over to his son-in-law to operate.

YouTube video on Route 66 featuring Nat King Cole singing Bobby Troupe's "Get Your Kicks on Route 66." (And once you are there, there are plenty more presentations on 66!)

Any volunteers to help us make a Route 66 YouTube video of Route 66 in Jasper County? Contact museum if interested.

The museum site as it looked when the board purchased the property and started building in 1987.

U.S. Highway 66 & the Westside of Carthage, Missouri

WEST OAK STREET and Businesses Along Route 66 (taken from Carthage City Directories in the collection of the museum's Reference Library)

Anyone with images of these businesses, please scan at 75 dpi and email to the museum.  We will gladly add them upon receiving them!

In 1925, this stretch of the road was residential through town. The only businesses found in the city directory were the following: 532 Oak - E. C. Hiatt Grocery, 533 Oak - A. R. Weesner Grocery, 718 Oak - A. W. Hill Grocery, 732 Oak - C. A. Kidd Grocery, 733 Oak - W. H. Saulisberry Grocery, and 1200 Oak - Cainey Cook Grocery.

One year after the designation of U.S. Hwy. 66 (aka Route 66) in 1927, neighborhood groceries were still the only businesses that were sprinkled along Oak Street.  Elmer C. Hart had acquired the Hiatt Grocery, Mr. Weesner and Mr. Hill were still operating their stores but the Kidd Grocery and the Saulisberry Grocery both had closed.  Cook Grocery at 1200 Oak had a new owner and name: W. H. Brookshire Grocery.

A decade later in 1937 the neighborhood was changing to meet the needs of the traveling public. Gas stations along Oak Street had arrived including Dunlap Oil at 431 Oak, Joy Garage and Filling Station run by Joy L. Ortloff at 500 Oak, Howard Oil at 916 Oak, and Dyer Service Station at 1220 Oak.  Among the groceries along the way: Oliver Kyte Grocery at 533 Oak, Neil's Grocery at 732 Oak, George Earle Grocery at 1002 Oak, and the Carson Kidd Grocery at 1200 Oak.

Two car companies were found as well on Oak Street in 1937: Joy-Stith Motor Company next to the Joy Garage at the SW corner of McGregor and Oak and Griffith Motor Company Used Cars at 1217 Oak.

But probably the most interesting listing found in the 1937 city directory was Madame Kittie E. Briden, spiritual medium, living at 509 Oak.  Wonder how many sojourners stopped for a little peek into the future!

In 1947, gas stations were located along Oak Street at 431 Oak (Dunlap Oil Company run by Elby D. Dunlap), 500 Oak (still operating as Joy's Garage and Filling Station), 918 Oak (Wiliam C. Neatherry Filling Station), and 1220 Oak (Oak Street Service Station).

Housing needs during World War II had seen the Horner Apartments established at 418 Oak while the Murrell Tourist Rooms and Cabins had opened a few blocks down at 830 Oak (run by M. S. Murrell and L. E. Newman in 1947). Today, look behind the white house to see the blue cabins in back.

Griffith Motor Company was still operating in the location listed in the 1937 listing.  Groceries along the way were the Earle Grocery (now at 1001 Oak), Eli P. Moxley's Grocery and Filing Station (1002 Oak) and Burnet Reinhardt Grocery (1200 Oak).  Other businesses had diversified along the route:  Andrew Moorehouse Repair Shop (531 Oak), James Hatcher Radio Repairs (531 1/2 Oak), Mrs. Phena Waldron located a corsetiere in her home (803 Oak), Perry Bowles operated a real estate agency (829 Oak), and Scottie G. Watkins may have pursued his chiropractoric career at 1022 Oak.

In 1957, the Oak Street neighborhood seemed to be in transition again.  Dunlap Oil had given way to the Carthage Industrial Supply Company. Joy's Garage was vacant but Earle's Service Station was still operating at 918 Oak.  The Floating Cloud Mattress moved in at 533 Oak while a new grocery was opened at 732 Oak (Charles B. Fitzgerald's Market).  Murell Cabins were still in operation while the Moxley Grocery had changed to Wayne S. Ruby's Grocery and Reinhardt's had changed to James Atnip Grocery.

Perhaps the biggest development was the location of a Dairy Queen store at 1200 W. Oak (opened in the late 1940s and operated for several decades). 

By 1957, Carthage's city limits had expanded and we find the first  listing for the old Taylor Tourist Park in a city directory.  Now operated as the Parkview Motor Court (owned by Wayne E. Stair) and the Parkview Cafe, this is the site of the Powers Museum today.

Dairy Queen at 1220 W. Oak Street in 1957.  Couple pictured could be Robert & Zelma Sweatt who operated DQ in 1957.  If anyone can verify the identity of the couple, please email the Powers Museum.

In 1967, Carthage Industrial Supply was still at 431 Oak, but Downey Auto Repair and G&E Tire Company (recapping) had moved into the Joy Garage at 500 Oak. The residential structure at #530 had turned into Mayme Fortney's Rooming House while Pat's Radio & TV Service was across the street at 531 Oak. Church Building Supply, Inc. was operating out of 533 Oak. There were many vacancies in the 700 block on both sides, but at 732 Oak, Mrs. Mary Fitzgerald continued to operate a grocery.

In the 800 block, Mrs. Faye Snyder was operating a rest home at 822  Oak while Murrell's Court Motel was still being operated by Noah Murrell at 830 Oak. The only gas station on the street was located at  918 Oak and it was called D B Discount Station. The neighborhood returned to residential use except for the Carthage Doll Hospital, Ceramics Gift Shop, and Oak Street Market (grocery), all operated out of 1002 Oak.  Down at the intersection of Baker Boulevard, Harel Griffith Pontiac was at 1221 Oak while the Dairy Queen across the street now had the Boomer Shack with model railroad supplies being sold in a building behind the ice cream store.

What would become the Powers Museum's location in 1987, was the Parkview Motel (1621 Oak) operated by Wayne Stair with a rental house also on the property. Next door was the Parkview Trailer Court. But what was unknown to the museum before now, was the lot next to the motel (now gone for Highway 71/Interstate 49 cut) was the Greentop Miniature Golf. Anyone with information or photographs of this business, please contact the museum.  (Fairways Miniature Golf was further down at #1701.) In this general vicinity was the short-lived Dog 'N' Suds drive-in, too.

Route 66 was re-aligned in Carthage during the late 1950s and 1960s. Instead of turning and going south on Garrison, the highway continued west on Central turning at Baker to re-join Oak Street. Eventually the Central Avenue alignment continued further west and cut back to Oak Street toward the west end of Municipal Park.

As for U.S. Highway 66 (Route 66) on the eastside of Carthage now Missouri Highway 96 or Central Avenue), see Route 66 Bridge Balusters Donated to Powers Museum for further information about the businesses located on this side of town and the highway.

ROUTE 66 LINKS - being checked & updated during winter 2014-15 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Missouri 66 Related Links:

Route 66 Association of Missouri

Guide to Missouri 66 by Mile by Mile website

Other State 66 Associations:

Route 66 Association of Arizona

Route 66 Association of California

Route 66 Association of Illinois

Kansas Historic Route 66 Association

Route 66 Association of New Mexico

Route 66 Association of Oklahoma

Texas Old Route 66 Association

Old Route 66 Association of Texas

Selected National Projects & Websites:

Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program/National Park Service

Route 66 University - Maps, Photos, Business Listings, More

GPS Maps offered at Route 66 University

Road Wanderer


GPS Maps offered at Historic66.com

Route 66 Chamber of Commerce Website


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1617 West Oak • P.O. Box 593 • Carthage, MO 64836
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