Jefferson Highway in Jasper County

Much of the Jefferson Highway's path through Jasper County can still be driven today. The route represents some of the state's earliest paved highways during its auto trail period. The JHA convention bus trip on Saturday April 30 will be traveling most of the road in Jasper County.

Early descriptions of Jasper County Roads can be found in these selected articles:

Joplin Roads from Jefferson Declaration, April 1916.

JH in Carthage & Expansion of Concrete Road into Oklahoma, Jefferson Declaration, September 1917

Roads in Joplin & the Ozarks, Earth Mover, October 1917.

John Malang's Road Barrier, Concrete Highways Magazine, July-August 1921.

Jasper County Roads in 1922. (You will have to move up to start of article on this Google Books selection.)

Powers Museum postcard with image of MO Highway #1 Bridge west of Carthage, Missouri, built in 1922. This route was used prior to construction of the bridge as the JH alignment from Carthage to Lakeside. This bridge was printed in the Jefferson Highway Declaration many times as a scene along the JH even after Missouri numbered its state highways and stopped using the JH designation on signage along such routes.  (For the remainder of this article and the other JH history link articles on the convention website, when an asterik is used along with JH letters/words, this designates the image used --while still promoted as JH in the 1920s -- was of the period of the initial numbering of Missouri State Highways, 1921-1925.)


View of Jefferson Highway* north of Joplin, Missouri, headed to area known as Gulfton near Carl Junction. The JH route then continued to Opolis and on into Kansas (Note 1 - see below).  Computer screen shot of Google Books digitization of a Joplin Chamber of Commerce booklet that featured reprint of Joplin News-Herald article on Joplin and Jasper County's road system originally printed February 26, 1922.

Jasper County towns in which the Missouri JH passed through included (from north to south): Jasper, Carytown, and Kendricktown.  At Kendricktown, via North Main Street Road, the JH crossed Spring River to enter Carthage and continued down North Main Street crossing Central Avenue and continuing down South Main Street until Second Street. Here the route turned west following 2nd Street (Note 2 - see end of page) to Garrison Avenue where it turned south and continued to Oak Street.  At the Oak and Garrison intersection, the JH turned west and went through Carthage's west side past its city limits (then Baker Boulevard) and continued on what was called Oak Street Road.

Another screen shot from the the booklet cited above showing the Jefferson Highway* otherwise known as the Joplin-Carthage Road or Missouri #1.

Driving westward on the JH led past several small trolley communities such as Morgan Heights and Brooklyn Heights then skimmed the northern edge of the Lakeside community and Lakeside Park established by the Southwest Missouri Electric Railway. Many towns claimed Lakeside so postcards can be found with town names of Carthage, Carterville, Webb City, and ever some attributed to Joplin.

Continuing west, the road turned at the Carterville Cemetery and went due south to head into Carterville where it turned west on to Carterville's Main Street.

At the end of Carterville, drivers found themselves traversing through the chat piles of several mines that were located in the territory that connected Carterville with Webb City (Daugherty Street).

Once in Webb City (NEW info), an early routing (c 1919) followed Daugherty to Main Street where it turned left and went south on Main to 4th Street then turned right (west) and continued to Madison for another left turn to go south.  Eventually this route was changed to turning right (west) from Main onto Broadway and following Broadway to Oronogo Street. At Orongo drivers turned left to go south until 4th then continued west until Madison.

The JH continued down Madison (street becomes Rangeline Avenue once within Joplin City limits). At Zora Street in the former area known as Oakland, the JH turned west on Zora and then turned south on Florida to meander through the neighborhood known as Royal Heights (via Utica & Euclid) until hitting St. Louis Street that intersected Broadway (now also known as Lansgton Hughes Boulevard).

These days from Broadway, you will enter downtown Joplin via a new bridge bringing you to Second and Main. Turn south (left) onto Main Street and continue south. In the early JH years, folks would have turned  west onto Fourth Street (the earlier Ozark Trails path) and continued driving due west until Schifferdecker Park (JH tourist park). Later there were two options -- using part of 4th Street then turning south to 7th Street and going west out of Joplin via 7th Street Road. The other option was to use 7th Street entirely from Main Street in the very late years of the JH.

From Schifferdecker Park, the general path would have been Seventh Street Road (with some alignment adjustments still being documented/dated) until the JH went past Eagle Picher's mill and entered Galena KS.

NOTE: Some evidence shows use of 20th Street as well very early on.

Jefferson Highway* or Joplin-Galena Road image taken from same source as other historic images used above.

Not only did Jasper County's mines provide their waste product for both rock and early cement roads, but allied industries such as heavy equipment manufacturers, also produced the equipment used to construct Jasper County roads.

As noted before, from Carthage's Second Street and Garrison Avenue intersection going west, much (but not all) of the former JH path is now signed as the Route 66 Historic Byway since this route became U. S. Highway 66. For those who wish to see more of Route 66 through the decades, please be sure to see the small exhibit inside the Jasper County Courthouse on Friday afternoon of the convention or visit Monday-Friday when the courhouse is open for public business (9:00 am - 4:30 pm) during another visit to historic Carthage MO!

First floor view inside Jasper County Courthouse (built 1894-95) in Carthage, Missouri, which features Route 66 mini-exhibit on its first floor. (Handicapped acess is found at the SW corner of the structure). Included in the exhibit, that sits admid other displays and murals on Jasper County History, is a video presentation (approx. 1/2 hour length) featuring well over 100 Jasper County postcard images along U. S. Highway 66. If video is not playing when you visit, please ask elevator attendant to turn on the presentation. They will be glad to do so. You can even sit in a car to watch!

End Notes for this page

(1) The Kansas route of JH entered NW Jasper County at Oopolis and continued to Waco, Carl Junction, Gulfton then due south on the road that became North Main Street in Joplin, Missouri. Its exact early alignment and subsequent variations is still under investigation by local historians.

(2) Powers Museum believes at a later date, the JH route in Carthage formally turned at Third Street giving at the edge of the main commercial district surrounding the Jasper county Courthouse Square. NEW: Through a recently donated photograph, Powers Museum can now document that during WWI years, the JH also (? or exclusively) used Fourth Street turning west off Main Street. Fourth Street would have given a more direct path to the Oak Street & Garrison intersection than Third Street.


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