The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 15, 2013

Lego walking tour in Carl Junction expands

By Andra Bryan Stefanoni
Globe Staff Writer

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — The Lego walking tour installed earlier this month in Carl Junction has expanded, bringing Christmas to the town in July.

Crafted by retired teacher Lyle Mays in his Carl Junction home, a Lego train set with electric motor and track was set up Friday afternoon on a pingpong table in Commerce Bank at 101 S. Main. It includes a Christmas scene made up of a Lego village and accent pieces.

The miniature Lego creations of noted architectural wonders — including the Guggenheim Museum, the Seattle Space Needle and two Frank Lloyd Wright homes — that were previously on display there were relocated to the Community Center at 303 N. Main.

A movable steam shovel made of Technic components was added to the storefront window of 106 S. Main, while a dragon statue was installed at 104 S. Main and an off-road vehicle was put on display in the window at 132 S. Main.

While the 55-year-old Lego franchise still has a solid following among millions of youngsters thanks to licensed themes built on movie franchises, Mays’ interest in Legos didn’t develop until well into his adult years.

As a computer science teacher at Missouri Southern State University, he began purchasing Lego Mindstorms kits, which allowed him to create programmable robots.

“It just kind of took off from there,” he said.

Visitors can see the Lego creations through the first week of August, says Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Gary Stubblefield, who worked with Mays to coordinate the “walking tour” as a means of getting foot traffic in the area.