This was the last day we’d be in Missouri.
Joplin calls itself the ” Heart of America”:
But it may be better known for the gigantic twister that rumbled through the town in 2011. Rated a EF5 it struck on a Sunday afternoon. At times it was a mile wide with winds upwards of 200 mph. It caused over $2.8 billion, that’s with a “b”, in damage to this town of 53,000.
The former city hall survived:
Inside is a museum of Joplin’s history that includes photos of the destruction:
The locals told me that they lost current and prior homes, schools they’d attended and businesses they’d frequented. The town also lost 158 residents with 1,100+ injured. After seven years of replacing and building one could see easily see the areas that had been hit.
But Joplin is more than a twister –we saw paintings by Thomas Hart Benton in the museum:
In addition to this beautiful stain glass window:
We stumbled upon a quiet spot in downtown Joplin located adjacent to the Joplin Globe newspaper:
This pocket park was a combination of flora, water and sculptures including the one above of George Spiva. It had this natural sculpture too:
Joplin is only a couple of miles down the road from Kansas:
We reached Galena, KS in minutes:
Traveling on Route 66 in Kansas is quicker than the lifespan of a May-Fly. The entire Route 66 Kansas span is just over 13-miles. There is but one town to visit–Galena once a noted mining center — lead and zinc. Both were mined from 1877 to the 1970’s. Then having exhausted it’s mining the EPA stepped in and declared a Superfund Site covering most of area. It took years to clean-up. The population declined significantly fro 32,000+ to 3,300 today.
The Galena History Museum’s eclectic collection, though small, packs a lot of information about the mining, as well as other important things within its small footprint.
Originally this building was the train depot. It was moved several miles to its current home:
Our guide was Carla who could have been my aunt what with her reddish hair, peaches and cream complexion and large numbers of freckles:
She was a font of information. She pointed out her Daddy in this old mining photo — he’s tethered to the mule. Mules worked in the mines alongside the men:
Carla shared even more about the history of the area. Here is a mining display:
This case shows medical devices and related information:
A Model A was given to the museum by an avid collector–it was in such good condition it didn’t require restoration:
A prized possession is this hand-carved oak hearse:
I have to admit that Carla showed us one of my favorite devices just before we left the museum.
This rudimentary machine sorts coin:
Some 50-years ago I used a coin sorter, albeit updated a bit, to sort coin in a bank vault when I was a college freshman. I loved this machine!
Carla and this museum together provided a clearer picture of thin town and the tri-state area.
At this point my stomach was aching for a good meal. Just west of Galena we went to the “Old Riverton Store which opened in the 1920’s:
Inside is a general store and deli:
We ordered two Pastrami on rye with chips and sodas:
This feast cost less than $12.00 — and was more satisfying.
From here went to Baxter Springs to see the “Cars on the Route” a souvenir stop with cars inspired by the Pixar film Cars”:
And we saw the last surviving rainbow bridge on Route 66:
As fast as we passed through Kansas we soon found Oklahoma to be more expansive:
The Commerce was undergoing some significant renovation — fortunately we found this:
Commerce is also noteworthy for being the childhood home of Mickey Mantle — a Street is named after him:
Mantle was a New York Yankee and he’s in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Seeing this made my baseball geekiness ooze out of every pore.
Next up was traveling to Miami, OK. Here resides the Spanish-Revival style “Coleman Theater”:
And nearby was the quaintest stop sign I’d ever seen:
Love the curlicues — don’t you?
Next we drove up the “Sidewalk Highway” — a single lane stretch of roadway created by a fiscally strapped Oklahoma in 1926. Believe me it wasn’t worth it — talk about dusty!!
As the day was ending we went through one final town — Vinita. Here we drove along a stretch of highway near the infamous “Trail of Tears”. This was the pathway for Native Americans — primarily Cherokees, but also Creek and Choctaws — forced by President Andrew Jackson under the Indian Removal Act of 1830 to travel from the southeast (mainly Florida) by foot for resettlement in Oklahoma.
The objective was to give Native land to whites and give western land beyond the Mississippi River to Native Americans.
Over 9,000 people — men, are women and children perished because of cold, hunger and disease during the trip west.
One surely recognizes that today’s treatment of immigrants and diverse people’s varies little from actions our country took in our past.
Finally, the day ended with a visit to “Clanton’s Cafe”:
It has been operating at the same spot since 1927.
Actually, of more interest to me was this plaque marking a presidential visit in 1940 to mark the completion of a dam:
FDR made the visit by train.
As the day drew to a close we entered the hometown of Will Rodgers — town called Claremore.
More on Claremore and Rodgers this tomorrow!