Carthage MO. Route 66 Map
< BOOTS MOTEL, 107 S. GARRISON
< N. GARRISON
Historic Route 71 & Alt. 66
For those interested in knowing the Route 66 First Alternate, if heading East, you will turn off Oak St. on Garrison (#4) and cross Central Ave. continuing north 1/2 mile, turn right on Hwy. "V" (Jazz St.#3)(becomes Java St. #2) to Hwy 96 (66). You can cross-over 96 to be on the historic Route or head East on 96/66.
Westbound: Stay on 96/66 or take the historic 66 2-mile road (#1). At the Kell-lake Motel (#2) turn right (north) on Hwy. "V" - Java St.(becomes Jazz St.) to N. Garrison (#3) and turn left (south) to Oak St. (#4) then turn right and follow your guidebook or GPS directions.
This is the way of the Route 66 Alternate of the 30's to the 50's! The folks at the Boots Motel or the Pancake Hut can help point the way if needed.
In researching the Route in Carthage, MO., I ran across a brochure for the Carthage Chamber that shows an alignment of 66 that I had never seen on any maps or guidebooks before. I did a follow-up on the Route's path in Carthage with Steve Weldon (Jasper County Records Office) and Michelle Hansford (Powers Museum) and got some solid information. After a week of additional research, I believe the true paths of the Mother Road have now been determined, and hopefully corrections will be made. This is for all of us Roadies who seek-out and explore every inch of the Route to discover and preserve this famous highway.
The late Martin Van Gilder of KDMO radio fame, and a local Carthage historian, described much of the early days of the Route in Carthage and wrote "Passing farms by the score, Route 66 approaches Carthage from the east along Spring River. It enters the town on River Street, goes west on Central Street and then south on Garrison Street before heading west out of town on Oak Street."
At the Powers Museum, I was given a city map circa 1929-1931 which shows that original path from the park. This also confirms that the "V" hwy. route to Hwy 71 was the first alternate of 66 as shown in the Carthage History brochure. It seems that it's path was always a short-cut connecting 66 to the limestone quarry's near the north end of Main Street, which was also the Jefferson Highway. It appears that by the mid-30's, the railroad viaduct and new road (later 96) from Carthage to "V" highway were being built because the traffic on the old Route was growing, so the first alternate of 66 was assigned to the State "V" highway path, which was the able to allow travelers to enter Carthage on north Garrison over the three newly completed concrete bridges built by the WPA in 1928. The brochure refers to this alternate as "Old Rt.66". So far, no documentation has been found that shows the official date of this assignment.
Later in the early 1950's, according to the map, the "revised" second alternate was assigned. The Route now followed the new 2-lane road that replaced the old Route between Carthage to Springfield. Since Route 66 was still a commissioned Federal Highway at that time, it was likely years later before that road would be designated MO. State Hwy. 96, but the exact dates of this has not been determined.
Other maps show that the Route always followed Garrison south to Oak Street and on to Carterville. Oak Street was chosen for 66 as it had existed since before the Civil War. The first alternate to west Oak Street, called "Old 66 Blvd", bypassed railroad viaduct construction on Oak St. in the late 30's. Sometime in the 1950's, Route 66 was signed to follow Central Blvd. westward through town past Garrison to Baker St, then south to Oak, then west again.
The more recent construction of highways 71 (north/south) and 171 (east/west), possibly after the Route was de-commissioned, created two more changes. First was the closing of Oak Street to build a Hwy 71 overpass. This diverted westbound traffic onto Baker from Oak, then to Central, then east to a connection back to Oak St. using the temporary "Old 66 Blvd" extension which still remains.
It seems ironic that the “V” highway alternate route of the 30’s & 40’s will be once again pressed into service as the best way to detour around the Hwy. 96/66 demolition this summer. See the map below.
< First Alignment > Late 30's-50's
& Detour in 2012
Original 1926 Route
(Runs through City Park)
< N. MAIN
ORIG. JEFFERSON HWY
< CARTER PARK
(Old Tourist Camp for Travelers)
OLD 66 BLVD.
< First Alignment > Mid 30's-50's