The Town of Carthage, MO. has a rich history and features a Civil War Museum and battle sites, elegant old victorian homes, Bed & Breakfasts, antique shops, and a magnificent courthouse. The nearby Precious Moments Chapel has cut back on it's attraction, but is worth a look anyway.
Some buildings that thrived during the road's boom days are slowly decaying as solid restoration efforts are slow to materialize. See the article below for more on the historic 1939 Boots Motel, a true Route 66 icon. Also, see the map at the bottom of this page.
The Pancake Hut is just south of the Boots Motel and two blocks from the Square. It features a 1930's era "Chicago Coin Band-Box"!
Just west on Oak is the old G&E Tire Co.. The sign above the street sign says "DeSoto Plymouth".
House & Business on
Oak St. >
The Route 66 Antiques and Flea Market was
demolished after the Ice Storms of '06-'07.
The Powers Museum is on Oak St. as you head west out of Carthage. There is a Route 66 exhibit here. Plus, it's free!
The 66 Drive-In Theatre is located between Carthage and Carterville. It was a popular attraction until Route 66 was de-commissioned. It became an auto salvage yard, but was restored a few years ago. The original signs, ticket booth and neon were fortunatly saved and reinstalled. A few post speakers remain as sound is transmitted to your car's FM radio. The snack bar is great, and prices are fair. The drive-in shows double features and is only open weekends during the summer months.
Now Showing on the Neon Sign....
"Pirates of the Carribean part 2" and "Cars"!
Did you know about this nationally-aired radio broadcast from Boots Drive-In?
What a great idea. This could be done again, on-the-road, and webcast worldwide!
View of Courthouse from corner of Garrison & Oak Streets.
(Route 66). See a closer
The Jasper County Courthouse, also on the National Register of Historic Places, was built of Carthage stone in 1894-95. There is a mural insided the courthouse depicting the history of Jasper County. This building is the second most photographed structure in Missouri.
Numerous local buildings, in addition to the courthouse, were built in the late 19th and early 20th century out of stone from local quarries. The stone is hard enough to be polished into "Carthage marble" and was used in both the interior and exterior of the state capitol building in Jefferson City.
U.S. Highways 66 and 71 came through town in the 1920s, and for a time the town saw a stream of cross-country traffic. Route 66 was eventually re-routed, and then replaced in the 1960s with Interstate 44 running south of town.
In the late 20th century, the town began actively courting tourism, emphasizing its history (the Battle of Carthage, Victorian architecture, and Route 66), as well as its proximity to Precious Moments and country music destination Branson, MO.. Regretfully, Route 66 is only lightly promoted, and many Carthage residents don't even know where it is!
The original 66 ran behind the drive-in and dead-ends where the new 4-lane is. You should turn left before reaching this point unless you want to photograph it.Carefully turn around without taking a mailbox out.
Route 66 Drive-in Theater screen behind the owner's home.
Take a side trip to the re-created community called RED OAK II, locate on the East side of Carthage at CR 130 East of the large truck stop across from the Lake.
Click on the red tank!
Left: The famous Boots Drive-In was located across Garrison Street from the Boots Court. Today it is a Credit Union, but the exterior is basically unchanged (Below).
In addition to our full sales and service RV Dealership, Coachlight RV Sales also features an adjoining 80 site recreational vehicle park. The park consists of 60 pull-through sites that can accommodate any type of RV, as well as 20 back-in sites which feature concrete patios at your door. All sites have full utilities including 50 amp electrical hookups and filtered pressure regulated water. All paved interior roads, cable TV hookups, phone connections, laundry, WIFI, and large climate controlled club rooms make Coachlight RV park the perfect place to stay by yourself or with a group.
For RV Park reservations please call (417) 358-3666
Coachlight RV Sales and Recreational Vehicle Park
Member: Route 66 Chamber of Commerce
The Historic Boots Motel is being restored to the way it was in 1949, and it re-opened in mid-May of 2012.
The Boots Court
A restored room, January 2012
The Many "Routes" of 66 in Carthage by Ron Hart
In researching the Route in Carthage, MO., I ran across a brochure for the Carthage Chamber that shows an alignment of 66 that I had never seen on any maps or guidebooks before. I did a follow-up on the Route's path in Carthage with Steve Weldon (Jasper County Records Office) and Michelle Hansford (Powers Museum) and got some solid information. After a week of additional research, I believe the true paths of the Mother Road have now been determined, and hopefully corrections will be made. This is for all of us Roadies who seek-out and explore every inch of the Route to discover and preserve this famous highway.
Martin Van Gilder of KDMO radio fame, and a local Carthage historian, describes much of the early days of the Route in Carthage and wrote "Passing farms by the score, Route 66 approaches Carthage from the east along Spring River. It enters the town on River Street, goes west on Central Street and then south on Garrison Street before heading west out of town on Oak Street."
At the Powers Museum, I was given a city map circa 1929-1931 which shows that original path from the park. This also confirms that the "V" hwy. route to Hwy 71 was the first alternate of 66 as shown in the Carthage History brochure. It seems that it's path was always a short-cut connecting 66 to the limestone quarry's near the north end of Main Street, which was also the Jefferson Highway. It appears that by the mid-30's, the railroad viaduct and new road (later 96) from Carthage to "V" highway were being built because the traffic on the old Route was growing, so the first alternate of 66 was assigned to the State "V" highway path, which was the able to allow travelers to enter Carthage on north Garrison over the three newly completed concrete bridges built by the WPA in 1928. The brochure refers to this alternate as "Old Rt.66". So far, no documentation has been found that shows the official date of this assignment.
Later in the early 1950's, according to the map, the "revised" second alternate was assigned. The Route now followed the new 2-lane road that replaced the old Route between Carthage to Springfield. Since Route 66 was still a commissioned Federal Highway at that time, it was likely years later before that road would be designated MO. State Hwy. 96, but the exact dates of this has not been determined.
Other maps show that the Route always followed Garrison south to Oak Street and on to Carterville. Oak Street was chosen for 66 as it had existed since before the Civil War. The first alternate to west Oak Street, called "Old 66 Blvd", bypassed railroad viaduct construction on Oak St. in the late 30's. Sometime in the 1950's, Route 66 was signed to follow Central Blvd. westward through town past Garrison to Baker St, then south to Oak, then west again.
The more recent construction of highways 71 (north/south) and 171 (east/west), possibly after the Route was de-commissioned, created two more changes. First was the closing of Oak Street to build a Hwy 71 overpass. This diverted westbound traffic onto Baker from Oak, then to Central, then east to a connection back to Oak St. using the temporary "Old 66 Blvd" extension which still remains.
It seems ironic today, that the “V” highway alternate route of the 30’s & 40’s may be once again pressed into service as the best way to detour around the 1934 railroad viaduct demolition this summer.
Check-out the Carthage History Brochure below for more details.
Cherry's Art Emporium on the Carthage Square
Cherry’s Custom Framing & Art Gallery is located at 311 S. Main St. (west side of the square), in Carthage, MO. 64836 417-358-2707 firstname.lastname@example.org ....And for the Best Entertainment in Carthage, be sure to visit the WOODSHED at Cherry's every Friday. FACEBOOK
"SERVING ROUTE 66 TRAVELERS SINCE 1955"
Locally owned and operated....NOT a franchise!
Member: Route 66 Chamber of Commerce
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A beautiful new RV Resort located in Carthage, MO. on Route 66
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Located at 17601 Old 66 Blvd, Carthage, MO. 64836 (417) 358-7829 E-mail: email@example.com