The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

June 26, 2013

Galena’s Route 66 tile mural being installed

GALENA, Kan. — Galena’s once sleepy Main Street is awakening, and a new front door, of sorts, is being installed this week at one of the town’s busiest intersections.

A tile mural depicting this Southeast Kansas mining town’s historical sites and ties to Route 66 is going up on the southwest corner of Seventh and Main streets.

“This is all part of the renovation and revitalization of Galena,” said Paul Whitehill, owner of the Images in Tile business that made the mural. “It’s amazing. Route 66 is the greatest discovery here since lead and zinc.”

The mural, designed by Chris Auckerman and Jon White of Images in Tile, is composed of 416 15-inch tiles. A concrete block wall was built for the mural’s installation, and a mural park is being constructed around it where travelers and Route 66 enthusiasts can spend a few minutes taking photographs. It is being installed by RC Tile and Hardwoods of Joplin, Mo.

The project is funded by a local businessman, Brian Jordan, who operates several businesses, including Jordan Disposal. He has restored the historic Liberty Hall building on Main Street, south of the mural site.

“I think it’s going to be one of the top photo spots on Route 66,” said Mayor Dale Oglesby. “I think it’s extremely positive any time we can do anything involving our heritage, and the more private-funded projects the better.”

Block by block, old buildings in Galena are being repaired and new businesses are moving in as the Route 66 fever spreads. “Various business owners are pitching in up and down the street” to polish up historical and tourist sites along the highway, Oglesby said. “It’s really been a tremendous stimulus for tourism. It’s attracted worldwide attention.”

From the rusty old tow truck that spent many idle years sitting alongside Main Street until it gained Hollywood fame as the inspiration for the character Tow Mater in the movie “Cars,” south past Pappy Litch Park, the town’s Route 66 legacy is being shined up.

“It’s a phenomenon that has really taken root,” Oglesby said, fueled by tourists from Europe and Asia. “People want to know what America was like in that day and time, so the best thing we can do is showcase our past and showcase our future.

“There are various photo spots from Pappy Litch Park, to the old jail, the Cars on the Route, and the haunted bordello mansion. All of this is tying in.”

The mural, which is expected to be finished Friday, depicts a 1957 Chevrolet pulling onto Main Street between the bordello and Cars on the Route. It leaves skid marks on the pavement that spell out “Michael Wallis,” the voice of the sheriff of Radiator Springs in the “Cars” movie and the author of “Route 66: The Mother Road.”

Wallis has been rebuilding interest in preserving the route and sites along it. He is part of the Route 66 Alliance, which will bring the Route 66 International Festival to the Joplin and Galena area Aug. 1-3. The festival is set around an annual meeting of eight state associations and the National Park Service to work on strategy for preserving and promoting the historic highway.

“That’s why this festival is important,” Wallis said June 11 during a visit to Joplin to work on arrangements for the event. “Two words: economic development.

“Galena has come back to life. For the Route 66 Alliance, that’s why we’ve chosen the town of Galena as our template, as our example city, of small town Route 66 rebuilding using local resources, government funding” and city leadership to help reinvigorate its economic base through tourism.

Whitehill said Galena’s Main Street is becoming a living museum.

“Route 66 is so vital to the community — the heritage, the nostalgia,” he said. “They really get it here.”

Text Only
Top Stories
  • r042314psumove2.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Moving day for biology and chemistry building at Pittsburg State

    They didn’t all go two-by-two, and the person in charge wasn’t named Noah, but nonetheless, critters of all shapes and sizes were on the move Wednesday. Students, volunteers and staff members helped Delia Lister, director of Nature Reach, relocate everything from a pair of prairie dogs to a vocal macaw named Charlie so that Heckert-Wells Hall — the biology and chemistry building where they are housed on the campus of Pittsburg State University — can undergo a $4.4 million transformation in the coming months.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • 3M plant expansion to create 22 jobs

    An $18.7 million expansion at the 3M Co. manufacturing plant in Nevada will create 22 new jobs, a company official said Wednesday. “We started 43 years ago as a small manufacturer,” said Todd Cantrell, plant manager, in a meeting with employees. “We are now the largest 3M plant in the state of Missouri and one of the largest of all 3M plants.”

    April 23, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Missouri lawmakers file three resolutions calling for impeaching governor

    While Gov. Jay Nixon was in Nevada, Mo., on Wednesday, a Missouri House panel led by Republicans began hearing arguments on three measures calling for impeaching him. Nixon has downplayed the proceedings as a legislative “publicity stunt.” One resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, is critical of Nixon for waiting several months to call special elections to fill three vacated House seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Thursday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 23, 2014

  • Nixon: Tax-cut bill holds fatal flaw; area lawmakers say stance totally false

    Another year has brought yet another tax-cut fight between Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led Missouri General Assembly, and on Tuesday, Nixon announced that he had found what he sees as a fatal flaw.

    April 22, 2014

  • NEO_Big_Event - Bright.jpg NEO students step up for Big Event

    Leann Hartman has a 30-foot ditch filled with leaves that she has to clean out every spring. For the retired schoolteacher, this usually means paying a company to clean it for her, only to have to do it again the following year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Wednesday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 22, 2014

  • r042214earthday.jpg Local group launches clean air plan on Earth Day

    It was an Earth Day first for Stephany Aquinaga, a pre-med student and member of the biology club at Missouri Southern State University. “This is the first time I have ever planted a tree,” she said.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho teachers express support for Common Core State Standards

    Neosho teachers on Monday voiced their full support for Common Core State Standards. They made their statements to board members during the Neosho Board of Education meeting as an agenda item.

    April 22, 2014