The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 27, 2013

Galena becoming ‘Cars’ mecca

GALENA, Kan. — It’s official: Galena is becoming a mecca for fans of Pixar’s “Cars” movies.

Last week, a second rusty tow truck that is a replica of the Tow Mater character from the movie settled into its new home on the parking lot at Cars on the Route at the intersection of Old Route 66 and Main Street.

This one looks exactly like the movie character.

“This is just the first addition of many ‘Cars’ related vehicles,” Doug Gatewood, a consultant for developers Brian Jordan and Roger Hines, said Friday morning.

In coming months, a Hudson Hornet that closely resembles the movie’s “Doc Hudson,” a police car that closely resembles “Sheriff” and a fire truck that closely resembles “Red” also will take their place on the lot.

Rain didn’t keep a steady stream of visitors from across the nation and the world from stopping at the former filling station to buy merchandise, eat lunch and hear stories from Melba Riggs, who bills herself as a Route 66 expert.

“At any given time, you can see cars from all across the U.S. and the world here in Galena,” Gatewood said. “We used to think of Route 66 as the Mother Road, our own nation’s road, but it’s truly the world’s road. People get such excitement out of it.”

Several visitors Friday bought “Cars” themed toys for their children, and some waited for the rain to let up so they could take photos of the two trucks.

“We’re doing the whole route,” said Joe Baker, who with his wife, Sarah, and son, Adam, traveled from London, England along Route 66. They spent Friday morning at Joplin’s Museum Complex before crossing the line into Kansas.

“Adam’s a huge fan of ‘Cars’ and has been wanting to do this ever since he saw the movie,” Baker said.

After Adam got a photo of the two trucks — one a 1951 International Boom Truck 170 Series that was director John Lasseter’s inspiration for Tow Mater, and the most recent a 1957 Chevrolet renovated to look exactly like Tow Mater — family members added their names to the Cars on the Route visitor’s book.

In the last week, the book also collected signatures from as far away as Hungary, Mexico, Canada, Norway and West Germany, and from American tourists from Illinois, California, Ohio and Virginia, Riggs pointed out.

Baker noted he was caught between sadness and pleasure at what he has seen on Route 66 because many towns are all but abandoned and buildings are crumbling, but Galena wasn’t among them.

“It’s brilliant,” he said.

Gatewood credited investments by developers Hines and Jordan with helping save Galena from the fate of  fictitious Radiator Springs, the home of the characters in “Cars.”

“It has really been beneficial to the entire community. A rising tide does float all ships,” he said. “It used to be that in downtown Galena, you had a choice of parking spaces at noon. Now, you have to look for a space. But it is well worth the search.”

Visitor numbers

Melba Riggs said she sees about 1,000 American visitors a year from her vantage point on Route 66, and between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors from Europe and other continents.


Text Only
Local News
  • 0420earthday.jpg Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

    Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Catholic schools to hold annual spring auction

    The Joplin Area Catholic Schools spring auction will be staged Saturday at the Jack Lawton Webb Convention Center, 5300 S. Range Line Road in Joplin.

    April 19, 2014

  • Wally Kennedy MUG72.jpg Wally Kennedy: Another pizza choice and ice cream on the way

    A new pizza restaurant is coming to the northwest corner of Stone’s Corner in the Village of Airport Drive. Piez is opening this week in a storefront that formerly housed Quincy Magoo’s, 6039 N. Main Street Road, which has been closed for more than two years.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mike pound_cnhi .jpg Mike Pound: No more hiding Easter eggs or emotions

    Well, that’s a wrap on the Easter egg hunts. For about 15 years we have staged not one, but two Easter egg hunts for our now 16-year-old daughter, Emma.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

Must Read


Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter