By Roger McKinney
GALENA, Kan. — Melba Rigg on Wednesday was talking up Galena and its Route 66 connection to visitors from Palm Springs, Calif.
“I’m bound and determined to get Galena back on the map,” Rigg told them.
Rigg is one-quarter of 4 Women on the Route, who are refurbishing the former Little’s Service Station at First and Main streets to serve as a stop for Route 66 tourists. They plan a gift shop, Route 66 memorabilia and a snack bar.
The other three women are Judy Courtney, Renee Charles and Betty Courtney.
On Thursday, C.H. and Donna Harvey and their son, David, from Texas, stopped by in a 1995 Mustang Cobra made to resemble Lightning McQueen, a character in the Disney movie “Cars.” C.H. Harvey pulled the car up beside the truck that inspired the Mater character in the movie. The truck belongs to the four women.
“When you put smiles on kids’ faces, that’s what it’s all about,” C.H. Harvey said.
Word spread around Galena, and dozens of people gathered with their children and grandchildren to see Lightning McQueen.
Lou and Jo Ann Molinar, of Joplin, Mo., were in Galena to talk with Rigg about scheduling an appearance by the truck at their Fourth of July party at their house on Schifferdecker Avenue. Lou Molinar said they decided to hang around and see the car.
The crowd at the gas station caught the attention of Harold deBock, 61, director of a market research firm in Holland, who is motorcycling Route 66. He stopped and took a few photos of the scene.
“It’s been a dream for a couple of years now,” deBock said of his trip. “This whole Route 66 thing in Europe is pretty big.”
The women began working on the station in March, and there is still more to do, said Judy Courtney, who owns the building.
“There’s people coming in every day,” she said.
She said the women are relying on donations for the project.
Charles said the corner once was the location of the Banks Hotel, but she found a Joplin Globe story from 1933 stating that the hotel had to be removed because it obscured visibility for motorists along Route 66. She said she thinks an old photo of the Little’s Service Station on display in the building dates to the late 1930s or early 1940s.
“We’re really wanting to get Route 66 through Galena improved,” Charles said. She said the viaduct and some of the culverts have been preserved, but are in disrepair.
Rigg said recent visitors have included a group of Norwegian women on motorcycles, a Belgian photographer, and tourists from France and Germany. Rigg said she is considering studying foreign languages to assist international visitors.
She said she was surprised one day by an Irish television crew filming a Route 66 documentary.
Down the road
Members of the Baxter Springs Historical Society had a work day Wednesday to refurbish a former Phillips 66 station as a tourist center they hope to open this fall.
By Roger McKinney
- Local News
Spiva Center for the Arts accepting online entries for PhotoSpiva
Online entries are being accepted for PhotoSpiva, the prestigious national photography competition and exhibition hosted annually by Spiva Center for the Arts, 222 W. Third St.
The deadline for entries is Jan. 5, 2014.
Con-Way raises $50,000 for Truckloads of Treasures
About 300 employees of Con-way Truckload, family members and friends went on a shopping spree at Target Tuesday night using $50,000 the company raised for its 20th annual Truckloads of Treasures campaign.
Appellate court rules in favor of Neosho TDD
In another legal victory for the Neosho Transportation Development District, the Southern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s ruling that the district’s formation cannot be challenged.
Mike Pound: MSSU basketball coach deserves accolades
Whether he likes it or not (I’m guessing he won’t), the accolades have already started pouring in. It is exactly the sort of thing he hates. It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate the kind words that have come his way, because he does. It’s that he is afraid any fuss over him will take attention away from his players.
Southeast Kansas school board votes to close McCune school
In a unanimous vote Wednesday night, the remaining four members of the Southeast of Cherokee School Board sealed their decision to close McCune Attendance Center, one of five possible options for reorganization of USD 247.
Couple’s quarrel ends in fatal shooting
A 54-year-old man is believed to have shot and killed his wife, and then called 911 and waited for deputies to arrive at their home east of La Russell. Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay said David K. Holman was arrested Monday night after the fatal shooting of Radonna L. (Roland) Holman, 55, inside their home at 6504 Highway 97.
Cold weather, holidays raise risk for house fires
The combination of cold weather extremes and Christmas decorating should have residents watching out for fire danger. Improperly placed space heaters and overloaded electrical circuits are common causes for house fires when temperatures drop, and Christmas trees, burning candles and holiday decorating can increase the risk, fire officials said this week.
Missourians allowed to donate unclaimed property
Missourians can donate unclaimed property held by state government directly to charities that support military veterans, medical research, children’s education and other causes under a new program state Treasurer Clint Zweifel announced Wednesday.
Racine Christian Church reschedules “Journey to Bethlehem”
Racine Christian Church has rescheduled “Journey to Bethlehem” which was canceled last week due to weather.
Baseball proposal draws support of city staff
Advisers to the Joplin City Council recommended Monday night that the council go forward with a proposal to bring a professional baseball team to Joplin. The El Paso (Texas) Diablos, an independent professional team, have proposed moving to Joplin because a Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres is moving into El Paso.
- More Local News Headlines
- Spiva Center for the Arts accepting online entries for PhotoSpiva