April 30th Bus Tour on the Jefferson Highway
The Convention Planning Committee hopes that Saturday's all-day bus tour on original alignments of the Jefferson Highway will be one of your convention highlights! In addition to touring the Carthage to Lamar (morning) section and Carthage to Joplin (afternoon) section seen on the JH International Guide page below, Roadie Bingo will be played on the bus as we travel. We have lots of prizes to give away!
Our bus tour will load at the Best Western Precious Moments Hotel and make a quick stop at Boots Court (below; Central & Garrison) to pick up any convention attendees staying there. Drop off service on return will also be offered.
Next our group will tour the North Main Street portion of the Jefferson Highway. It has historically been an industrial center of Carthage and still is today.
North Main Street in Carthage, Missouri, looking south from the Spring River levee.
There was no levee in Jefferson Highway time but instead, this street/road continued over the former Cowgill & Hill Mill (elevators at left in image) millrace and then over Spring River.
Driving access to the Spring River bridge is no longer possible. The area is being developed as "Walnut Bottoms Trail" and includes walking trails along Spring River. (Facebook Page Walnut Bottoms)
With a little creative backtracking (due to MoDOT's weight limits on the three 1930 North Carthage Viaducts leading out of town), the tour will continue to Kendricktown. Here we will take a drive-by look at historic Kendrick House which is thought to be the only structure to have survived the Battle of Carthage and subsequent skirmishes and Bushwhacker activity that followed during the Civil War years. Kendricktown is also home to two former filing stations and the general area served as the eastern access point to the Carthage limestone quarries.
From Kendricktown, the Jefferson Highway will roll through rich agricultural land until we arrive in Jasper (at the Jasper-Barton county line). Jasper has made sure its residents do not forget the town's JH heritage with many signs throughout town.
Group will disembark for a light brunch (fruit, bagels, biscuits, etc.) and a few tunes from an award-winning Barber Shop Quartett. Everyone will get a chance to visit historic buildings on Grand Avenue and then it is off through the village of Boston and on to Lamar.
You are going to have a real authentic early Jefferson Highway driving experience as the roads north and south of Boston, Missouri, are still rock! This is a scene from November 2015 after some heavy rains required some regrading (road grader is tiny dot on horizon) before new rock was laid.
At Lamar the bus will park near the SE corner of the historic courthouse square so we can visit several spots within a short walking distance: Lamar History Mural, Barton County Historical Society Museum (in basement of courthouse), Boy Scout Statue of Liberty and President Harry Truman's Birthplace. NEW: The Plaza Theater will be showing "Road to Happiness," a 1924 silent film about "Good Roads" to our group.
Lunch will be served at Lamar's Memorial Hall right off the square.
Truman Birthplace State Historic Site in Lamar, Missouri, will be available for touring.
Signage in Barton County Historical Society Museum that was used for historic tourist park on southeastern edge of Lamar which serviced the Jefferson Highway. Tour bus will pass by the park.
After lunch we will return to Carthage and head west on Oak Street/Oak Street Road originally part of the Jefferson Highway. Then on through Brooklyn Heights, Lakeside, Carterville and Webb City. Today, this section is marked with Route 66 Historic Byway signs so it is easy to follow if you wish to revisit another time at your own leisure.
Jefferson Highway west of Carthage MO.
Wooden trestle railroad bridge located along side the JH in Lakeside MO.
Detail from one of the historic buildings in Carterville MO.
We will stray one block off the JH in Webb City to catch this US Filing Station that was used by the Webb City Post Office seen in background. It is currently under restoration. Another surprise is located in this vicinity, too!
In the early afternoon we will arrive in Joplin, Missouri, which had two routes of the JH entering town. A stop will be made at the former Newman's Department Store (now Joplin City Hall) at 6th and Main in order to see two historic murals inside and an exhibit on the making of the earliest mural -- Thomas Hart Benton's "Joplin Missouri 1890-1910."
Joplin City Hall
Across from City Hall is a new mini-park with two additional Route 66 murals that some participants may wish to visit during this downtown Joplin stop.
Finally it's on to the Joplin Museum Complex on the westside of Joplin in Schifferdecker Park where we will learn more about the Tri-State Mining District with a short video presentation. Other period's of Joplin's history are explored with a variety of exhibits and displays at the museum (inside and out) including the Merle Evans miniature circus, National Cookie Cutter Museum, the door and other memorabilia from the Bonnie & Clyde shoot-out on the southside of town, plus much, much more.
Joplin Museum Complex with an artistic creature in its front lawn to greet us!
Marker found at corner of Schifferdecker & 7th Street near a former entrance to the park and close to golf course that makes up the southern portion of the park.
Once finished at the museum, a ride down 4th Street (formerly Ozark Trails route) and a short ride up North Main Street (part of other JH alignment in Joplin) will be done as we make our way back to Webb City for one more roadside Americana attraction. Then bus will return to Carthage, Missouri, in time for you to freshen up for dinner and get a quick rest from a full, fun day of touring. To read more about the JH in Jasper County, Missouri, checkout
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