History of Route 66

Route 66 was inspired by the demands of a rapidly changing America. As the American mid-west and west grew during the early part of the Twentieth Century, the need to have a continuous route connecting these two regions arose. The two men who were the driving force behind the creation of Route 66 were Cyrus Avery of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and John T. Woodruff of Springfield, Missouri. These two men tirelessly worked to create an interstate road stretching across the heartland of America. The new road would stretch from Chicago to Los Angeles, and would wind its way on already existing roads. Route 66 was said to connect the Main Street of every town along the way and quickly received the name of "Main Street of America". Webb City happened to be one of those "Main Streets". Due to the influence of Avery and Woodruff, the first section of road to be named Route 66 was the stretch between Tulsa and Springfield. At one of the most exciting times in the history of American transportation, Webb City was right in the middle.

A Coalition of 7 cities along the route – Carthage, Carterville, Webb City, Joplin, Baxter Springs, Miami, Vinita have joined together to promote local activities on Route 66. This cooperation in conjunction with the National Parks Service will result in 100,000 copies of a Route 66 tour guide for this region. Each city will highlight attractions for visitors and a calendar for regional events will be included.

The Webb City Route 66 Experience – Webb City is very fortunate in that Route 66 runs directly through the downtown. Several measures to enhance the experience for visitors have been completed or are in progress. It is now easy to follow the original road through Webb City and even the alternate Route 66 (1950-1984) as turn by turn signs have been placed on the route. 

The city is renovating an old gas station on the route at the corner of Webb and Broadway streets. The renovated gas station will serve as an Information Center and Route 66 Museum. On the left of this page you can view the progress of the station and mural painted on a wall inside by local artist John Biggs.  

Six underground tanks were removed and thanks to a grant from the Jasper County Industrial Development Authority the station received a new roof and the parking lot was paved. Currently the city has received a federal grant which will allow for new heat and air conditioning, concrete work to make the building more handicapped accessible, some new glass work, neon signage and interior alterations to make it visitor and community friendly. Keep checking this site to view progress.
The Webb City Lions Club donated $5,250.00, proceeds from the Springtime on Broadway festival from April 2010, to help with renovations.

 

Progression of mural inside Route 66 Visitors Center
 
Route 66 Visitors Center (Development Stage)
Route 66 Center Completed