Jefferson Highway in Tri-State Mining District

The Tri-state Mining District (TSMD, also called Tri-state Mineral District) was made up of the counties in Southwest Missouri, Southeast Kansas, and Northwest Oklahoma, that were involved in lead and zinc production from the post-Civil War period to mid-Twentieth Century.


The region's early hard-surface and cement roads and highways were largely due to the mining industry's need for good roads to travel within the district. It was also the waste product of the mines that was used to build roads within the district and outside of it, too.

MAP OF TRI-STATE MINING DISTRICT AS OF 1916 showing roads including early "automobile roads."

Much of what Jefferson Highway Association convention attendees will see and experience during April 29 & 30, will have some relationship to the TSMD. For example, Saturday's bus tour portion from Carthage to Joplin will be going through the TSMD although what remnants of the mines that existed just a few years ago (ie. chat piles), have been re-claimed through "Super Fund" clean-ups. Saturday's tour route north into Barton County will be using roads first surface with free rock shipped by the Jasper County mines of Webb City and Oronogo. The latter town's name is a nod as well to the TSMD. (Ore, or no go -- the folk tradition to be explained further during the tour.)

For Joplin and selected other mining district images, click on the following years: c 1898 1902 1913

To view a multitude of postcard images in and around Joplin, including the mines, Lakeside Park/Lakeside community that we will be driving through on the bus tour, and Schifferdecker Park, where the tour will end on the westside of Joplin, consult the Joplin Public Library's digital collection of postcards. (Schifferdecker Park was the tourist park for Joplin listed in the JH "Tourist Guide.")

To learn about the negative effects of the mining industry in this district, watch the 1940 Farm Security Administration film "Men and Dust" featured on the "Historic Joplin" blog/website. (Additional mining related articles follow underneath the video portion.) Pay close attention because it shows portions of Joplin-Galena road in two spots of the film, particularly the elevated bridge going into Galena. That bridge still stands and attendees who travel from the west may want to visit its location by the former Eagle-Picher Mill property. (This is part of 66 Historic Byway route today.)

NEW: Galena bridge (or vidaduct) to be restored. Read more in this Route 66 News story.

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