ARLINGTON, 13.2 m. (695 alt., 34 pop.), at the confluence of the Gasconade and Little Piney Rivers, is typical of the hamlets of the region. Through the redrawing of county lines, it has been successively in St. Louis, Gasconade, Crawford, Pulaski, and Phelps Counties, and was even for a short time seat of Crawford County. It also served briefly as a terminal of the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. At present, it is an outfitting point for fishermen on the Gasconade and Little Piney Rivers (boats and guides available).
The small one-and-a-half-story log cabin, 13.5 m. (R), is the JAMES HARRISON HOUSE (open), one of the best examples of pioneer construction in Missouri. Placed on a low ridge, with its back to the present highway, the cabin's unpainted logs and handhewn shingles have weathered a dull gray. The mud chinking has acquired the appearance of cement; the windows have solid shutters. Said to have been erected in 1812, the cabin has been a pioneer home, a stagecoach station, and the courthouse of Crawford County. The storeroom served as the courtroom, and the grand jury "considered their presentments" in a near-by grove. James Harrison, the builder, was an energetic 200-pound Virginian, who with his sons, Robert and Thomas, was among the first men of affairs in Pulaski and Phelps Counties.
At 13.7 m. is a junction with County D, a graveled road.
Right here, crossing the clear, gravelly Gasconade River, to JEROME (692 alt., 195 pop.), 0.7 m., a sprawling fishing resort (boats and guides for fishing and float trips on the Gasconade and Little Piney Rivers).
Westward, the highway climbs the more rugged ridges of the highlands, the true Ozark country, densely wooded with oak, hickory, elm, ash, dogwood, redbud, and hawthorn. The deep blue-green valleys are cut by swift, cold streams that offer excellent fishing. Sparsely settled by families from Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee during the restless era following the War of 1812, it remained a frontier until shortly after the Civil War, when timber interests moved in and built a few fair-sized towns. But the commercial timber was soon cut, and the people, unemployed, were forced to pioneer again. This time they turned to agriculture, but their denuded hillsides were washed from under them. Later, fishing resorts were developed here, and, with government aid, erosion-control areas, game preserves, and fish hatcheries.
STONY DELL (cabins, picnicking, swimming), 14 m., is typical of the many privately operated resorts that have sprung up beside Ozark highways.
At 17.4 m. is a junction with an unmarked graveled road.
Right here, past two large sinks, to ONYX PARK AND CAVE (adm. 35¢; cabins), 0.9 m. (R). The roof of the cave rises sharply to form a large room. A small stream flowing diagonally across the floor into the Gasconade River is crossed on a fallen stalactite. From the first room the cavern winds into the hillside, forming a horseshoe-shaped tunnel nearly a mile long.
Within recent years the Ozark hill folk have become aware of the commercial value of their handicraft. Many have abandoned their small farm patches and settled along the principal roads. Such a group are the OZARK BASKET WEAVERS (L), 17.7 m., whose bright, clean baskets, strung on wires paralleling the highway, are in sharp contrast with their drab, listing shacks. Methods handed down for generations are used in weaving the cane and hickory splits into baskets. Such tools as are used are largely home-made.
HOOKER, 21 m. (713 alt., 120 pop.), is a focal point for fishermen in the Big Piney, Gasconade, and smaller streams. The highway passes through a mountainous section where second-growth oaks are dwarfed by the few primeval giants lumbering men have left. An occasional fertile valley is under cultivation.
The BIG PINEY RIVER, crossed at 22.7 m., plunges and twists its way from the south, entering the Gasconade River approximately two miles north of this point. The river offers good fishing for perch and smallmouthed and largemouthed bass. Its name had its origin in the short-leaf pine forests along its banks, which provided the first important commercial timber in the State.
DEVIL'S ELBOW, 22.8 m. (15 pop.), is a group of tourist and weekend cottages on a bend of the Big Piney River. The bluffs have been listed by the State Planning Commission as one of the seven beauty spots of Missouri. Legend says the name, Devil's Elbow, was given to the point by lumberjacks who feared and cursed the log jams that formed inevitably at the bend. A trailer camp is among the accommodations.
At 25.4 m. is a junction with State 28, a graveled road.
Right here to a junction with an unmarked graveled road, 2.2 m., which leads R. 0.9 m. to the entrance of POSSUM LODGE, a long-established fishing camp. Near by is a wagon ford used by pioneers. Many legends are connected with the site. One story tells of a wealthy Forty-niner who became ill at the ford on his way back East, and buried gold worth $60,000 in the near-by hills. Another legend has Jesse James and his robber band using the ford as a rendezvous and the hills as a hideaway.
At 3.7 m. (R) on State 28 is a good view of the narrow valley of the Gasconade River. Across the valley, rimming the river, are magnificent bluffs.
Crossing the Gasconade River, State 28 climbs the northern bluffs to PORTUGUESE POINT, 5.3 m., a high elevation formed by two large rocks jutting from the cliff's wall and overhanging the river. The valley circling the point is a popular subject for artists and photographers. It was originally settled by Portuguese farmers, who made a good living raising cattle and sheep.
At 28.9 m. is a junction with State 17, a graveled road.
Left here to the entrance to the GASCONADE DIVISION OF THE MARK TWAIN NATIONAL FOREST, 2.1 m., a 114,587-acre unit established in 1933 under the supervision of the National Park Service (see Tour 14). The forest authorities are restoring, protecting, and using natural resources to furnish employment and pleasure to the people of the State. Of the gross receipts from all forest revenues, such as grazing permits, timber sales, and the lease of recreational areas, 25 per cent is given to local counties for roads and schools.
At 12 m. is an unmarked graveled road, which leads L. 3.4 m. to BIG PINEY (100 pop.), a tiny crossroads village. Left 3.1 m. on an unmarked road, and R. at each fork, is MILLER SPRING, issuing from the foot of a massive cliff. The spring, one of the largest in the State, has attracted scientific attention because of its curious ebb and flow; the amount of water gushing forth measures from 3,000,000 to 13,000,000 gallons daily. The creek formed by the spring drains into Big Piney River a quarter of a mile away. Near by in the bluff is MILLER CAVE (free; no guides or improvements; inquire at house), investigated by representatives of the Smithsonian Institution and believed to have been the dwelling of a primitive people. Basing their opinions on the mortars, pestles, bone awls, animal and human skeletons, and other objects uncovered here, archeologists advance the theory that the cave was continuously occupied for several thousand years. Many artifacts found here are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C.
WAYNESVILLE, 32 m. (806 alt., 468 pop.), at the foot of variegated rock cliffs and all but surrounded by serpent-like Roubidoux Creek, is the most venerable of Pulaski County towns, and is, as might be expected, the county seat. It has a leisurely atmosphere, unmarred by the smoke of industry and the impatient panting of trains, and but little jarred by farmers' Saturday visits or meetings of the county court. Hill people buy their blue denim and flour, their coffee, salt, and sugar with unhurried deliberation. Between purchases they talk. All are called by first names, except the very old. They receive the title of "uncle" or "aunt," and are always referred to by both given name and surname, as "Uncle Jim Corbin."
Waynesville's county court has been in existence for over a hundred years. G. W. Gibson "squatted" on the townsite early in the year 1831, when the near-by spring was a watering place on the Kickapoo Trace (later known as the Old Wire Road). In 1835 James A. Bates opened a store that served also as a temporary courthouse. More people moved in, and in 1839 the town was platted. Harvey Wood secured the post office and named it for "Mad Anthony" Wayne.
About the time Pulaski County was organized, the "ill-famed Counterfeit bank of Niangua" set itself up with a president, cashier, clerks, and a "grave board of directors." The enterprise, described by Wetmore in his Gazetteer of the State of Missouri (1837), flourished until "Mistress Missouri Anne Amanda Jemina Skidmore," widow of a director who had been denied his share of the profits, "sharpened her fingernails afresh, and with the extreme violence of female passion, declared a war of extermination against the counterfeiters." With her assistance the United States Marshal broke up the ring.
During the Civil War, town and county were for the South. The courthouse flew the Confederate flag, until Federal troops marched down the Old Wire Road and took over the town on June 7, 1862. A small fort was built as a base on the Federal supply line between Rolla and Lebanon. Since the war, Waynesville has tried lumbering and agriculture and at present is looking with interest upon the ever-increasing tourist trade.
1. Left from Waynesville on an unmarked road to WAYNESVILLE SPRING, 0.5 m., boiling from the rocks at the edge of the road, which is protected by a concrete retaining wall. After heavy rains the flow of the spring increases from a normal daily flow of 7,000,000 gallons to 104,000,000 gallons. The water empties into Roubidoux Creek, which at high stages submerges the spring.
2. Right from Waynesville on State 17, an asphalt highway, to PIKE'S PEAK CAVE (adm. 35¢; guides), 2.4 m., a large cavern with a wide, high entrance in a bluff overlooking the junction of Roubidoux Creek and the Gasconade River. There is a dance floor in the entrance chamber. Fishing in both streams is good.
The highway crosses the northwestern boundary of the Gasconade Division of the Mark Twain National Forest at 36 m., and at 40 m. forms a junction with County P, a graveled road.
Right here to a junction with County A, a graveled road, 1.2 m.; R. on County A, along a high, narrow ridge and across the Gasconade River, to the OZARK SPRING RESORT (overnight accommodations), 5.5 m. From the resort a graveled road leads 2 m. to TURKEY RIDGE, a plateau-like elevation approximately 4 miles wide and 15 miles long, named for the wild turkeys there. On the ridge is POOR MAN'S CHANCE, developed by E. A. Steckel, who, after being pronounced an incurable cripple, was given 80 acres here by a friend. Steckel, in gathering native ferns for eastern markets, regained his health. In gratitude, he divided his land into ten-acre plots, which he sold to poor farmers at a nominal price. A community of neat houses and profitable orchards has been the result.
HAZELGREEN, 48 m. (64 pop.), a trading center and fishing resort, is bounded on three sides by the ever-twisting Gasconade River (boats and guides for fishing and float trips). Along the highway and on side roads marked by signs are many resorts equipped for the convenience of fishermen and their families.
At 53 m. is a junction with County T, a graveled road.
Right here to WET GLAZE, 13 m. (32 pop.), site of the OZARK FISH HATCHERY (open), one of the country's largest hatcheries for the exclusive propagation of goldfish. The fish are reared in a hundred small ponds fed by a large spring.
LEBANON, 65 m. (1,265 alt., 5,025 pop.), the seat of Laclede County, is the only urban center on US 66 between Rolla and Springfield. A sprawling town of tree-shaded streets and frame and native-stone houses, Lebanon reflects the agricultural prosperity of the surrounding plateau. It is a shipping point for wheat, corn, oats, and hay; within the last decade the value of its dairy products has increased from $2,000 a year to $2,000 a week. An overall factory supplements this agricultural income.
Although Jesse Ballew is said to have been the first man to cross the hills and settle in the vicinity, supposedly in 1820, Lebanon had its beginning when Laclede County was formed October 1, 1849. During the Civil War, the community gained strategic importance through its location on the military road between St. Louis and Springfield, the line of march for both armies. It was occupied alternately by the North and the South. At the end of the war, the town's badly disrupted economy was further demoralized by the coming of the railroad in 1868 and the re-location of the town. It is said that railroad officials, denied free land and a depot in town, built their station a mile from the village center. Lebanon picked itself up and moved to the new site. As Harold Bell Wright says in The Calling of Dan Matthews, the residents "left the beautiful, well drained site chosen by those who cleared the wilderness and stretched themselves along the sacred right of way." Lebanon has grown and thrived on the mud flat, with depot, yards, section house, and water tanks dominating her business district. It was in Lebanon, as pastor of the First Christian Church, that Harold Bell Wright, the novelist, began his literary career.
The RICHARD PARKS BLAND STATUE, SW corner of the courthouse square, commemorates Lebanon's most distinguished citizen. Bland was born in Hartford, Kentucky, August 19, 1835, and came to Missouri from Nevada in 1865. After practicing law for four years in Rolla, he moved to Lebanon. In 1872 he was elected to Congress, where he so distinguished himself that he was returned to office 12 times. He suffered political defeat in his district only once, in 1894. Called "Silver Dick" for his 16-to-1 free-coinage stand in 1877, he was co-author of the unsatisfactory Bland-Allison Act. In 1890 Bland renewed his fight for unrestricted coinage of silver. In 1896 he was leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, until William Jennings Bryan unleashed his oratory at the national convention. On June 15, 1899, Bland died at his farm near Lebanon.
JOSEPH W. McCLURG MEMORIAL, Lebanon Cemetery at the northern edge of town, is a simple granite shaft erected by the State in honor of another notable Missourian. Joseph W. McClurg, pioneer builder and merchant, began his political career as deputy sheriff of St. Louis County at the age of 20. Emerging from the first year of the Civil War with the rank of Colonel, he was elected to Congress in 1862, and served three terms. As governor (1868-70), he was largely responsible for the establishment of the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, the agricultural college at the University of Missouri, and the State normal schools at Kirksville and Warrensburg. McClurg died in 1900.
The BLICKENSDERFER INDIAN RELIC COLLECTION, in Joe's Delight Barber Shop, Commercial St. between Jackson and Monroe Sts., contains more than 1,500 Indian arrowheads, tomahawks, mortar stones, skinning knives, and other articles found in the vicinity.
Right from Lebanon on State 64, an asphalt highway, to a fork at 10.8 m.; L. here 1.2 m. to BENNETT SPRING STATE PARK (cabins, hotels, camping grounds, trout fishing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, and one-day float trips), a major recreation area. Comprising 574 acres of hilly, wooded lands, and cut by the blue-green Niangua River, the park includes the former hamlet of Brice, settled by James Brice in 1837. Here, separated by landscaped lawns, are shelter houses, a post office, store, and tavern -- all constructed of native stone in modern design.
BENNETT SPRING, the sixth largest in the State, rises quietly from a circular basin with an average flow of about 95,000,000 gallons of water daily. The spring stream tumbles over a six-foot dam, passes beneath a rustic stone bridge, and crosses approximately a mile of rock ledges and gravel bars before entering the Niangua River. At the dam, a part of the water is diverted into a millrace, which is divided into sections and used as a FISH HATCHERY for breeding rainbow trout, clearly visible in the water. The hatchery raises 200,000 fish annually, with which it restocks the State's streams. Muskrat and mink, protected by park attendants, are plentiful along the waterway, and are quite tame. BENNETT'S MILL, a three-story red frame gristmill on the stream's bank, is the "Gordon's Mill" of Harold Bell Wright's The Calling of Dan Matthews. The old miller was a friend of Wright's, and the author spent much time here while writing the book. The Niangua River and the small pool above the dam are two of the best fishing spots in Missouri.
MARSHFIELD, 96 m. (1,487 alt., 1,764 pop.), half-hidden among the hills and valleys (L), was named in honor of the Massachusetts home of Daniel Webster. The business district is built about the two-story, brown-brick Webster County courthouse, an imposing structure erected in 1870, with twin cupolas and an arched passageway through the center. Marshfield is a shipping point for corn, oats, and barley, for chickens and dairy products, and for tomatoes -- the latter the all important crop, for Webster County is one of the largest tomato producing areas of the State. The fruit must be picked as soon as it is ripe, and wrapped, packed, and shipped immediately. The processing is done in Marshfield, where everyone is concerned about prices and weather, since livelihood depends on these.
The Flannagan family, who arrived in the early 1830's, are said to have been the first white settlers within the present limits of Marshfield. The town was not surveyed until 1856. During the Civil War the village suffered numerous raids. In 1878 and 1880 it was visited by tornadoes which killed 87 persons, injured 200, and removed the second story of the courthouse. Since then things have gone fairly quietly, with only the rise and fall of farm prices to affect the town's tranquillity.
Between Marshfield and Strafford the highway passes from the highlands into the Old Plains or Springfield Plateau. The land is gently rolling and adapted to cultivation. Peculiarly isolated in pioneer days because of its distance from large streams and the difficult country to the east, its history is more meager than that of other border sections. Prior to the War of 1812 it was known as the Osage Country. Some time during or immediately after the war, a band of Kickapoo Indians moved into the area, causing it to be known as Kickapoo Prairie. The land, settled comparatively late, has lent itself to development in large farms for dairy herds, wheat, and oats.
STRAFFORD, 110 m. (1,478 alt., 175 pop.), is a crossroads hamlet on land that was once a Kickapoo Indian reservation. By the Treaty of Edwardsville, Illinois (1819), the Kickapoo Indians ceded lands in Illinois and Indiana to the United States in exchange for these lands in southwest Missouri. In 1832, by the Treaty of Castor Hill, St. Louis County, this was again exchanged for lands west of the Missouri State line.
Left from Strafford on an unmarked graveled road, taking first road R., then L. at fork, to the DANFORTH HOUSE (open by permission), 2.7 m., an excellent indication of the prosperity and culture developed on the Old Plains shortly before the Civil War. Erected in 1839 and enclosed by a low stone fence, the house is a two-story white structure of Georgian design. The brick of which it is built was fired on the place by slaves, and the deep-set stone of the foundation was dug from quarries in the vicinity. On the lawn is a millstone shipped from France to Natchez by way of New Orleans, and thence across the river and overland by wagon. On an opposite hill is the site of the plantation slave quarters and graveyard. The house was built by Josiah Danforth, and, it is said, was once used as a wayside tavern. It is occupied by a descendant of the builder.
SPRINGFIELD, 121 m. (1,345 alt., 61,238 pop.) (see Springfield), is at a junction with US 65 (see Tour 9) and US 60 (see Tour 6); with the latter, US 66 is united for seven miles.
West of Springfield the highway crosses thickly settled country. The farms are smaller, but the yield is greater than in the region to the east. The principal crops are wheat, oats, strawberries, dairy products, and poultry, with orchards providing a supplementary source of income.
At 137.4 m. is a junction with County F, a graveled road.
Right here to ASH GROVE, 9 m. (1,048 alt., 1,101 pop.), a prosperous farm trading center settled and named by Colonel Nathan Boone, the youngest son of Daniel Boone. R. from Ash Grove 1.8 m. on County V, a graveled road, to (R) the NATHAN BOONE HOUSE (open by permission), a "double" cabin built by Colonel Boone in 1837, when he moved his family to Greene County. The exterior logs have been weather-boarded and a new roof has been added, but otherwise the cabin is unchanged. The wide plank flooring is held in place by wooden pegs. The house has four rooms divided by a simple hallway. At each end of the house is a native-stone chimney. Near the cabin is the family cemetery, containing the graves of Nathan Boone and his wife, Olive van Bibber Boone (see Tour 1A).
At HALLTOWN, 140 m. (1,143 alt., 168 pop.), is a junction with an unmarked dirt road.
Left here to CHESAPEAKE STATE PARK (picnic grounds), 3 m., a 117-acre tract on which is maintained a State fish hatchery for bass, crappie, goggle-eye, and bluegill.
CARTHAGE, 179 m. (941 alt., 10,585 pop.) (see Tour 10), is at a junction with US 71 (see Tour 10). Westward are the famous Tri-State lead and zinc fields, centering about Joplin and embracing the border counties of Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. When the mines were in full operation, the district produced one fourth of the world's zinc. The contemporary scene, however, is characterized by great piles of chat, dusty-looking buildings, and smokeless chimneys, in sharp contrast with the carefully cultivated wheat, oats, and dairy farms that surround them.
CARTERVILLE, 188 m. (1,003 alt., 1,582 pop.), reflects the desolation that descended on Missouri's great lead and zinc mining area when the mines were closed shortly after the World War. Once a vigorous, prosperous city of 12,000 persons, the town now stretches between great white mounds of chat, and its main street, built unusually wide to carry a heavy traffic, is all but empty.
Carterville was surveyed in August 1875, shortly after John C. Webb had discovered lead in the vicinity (see below) and W. A. Daugherty had erected the first house. The following year a hotel was built, and in 1877 the town was incorporated. The World War demand for zinc caused a boom in Carterville as it did in Webb City and other towns of the district. Laborers, professional men, salesmen, and adventurers poured in. New dwellings and business houses were erected, streetcar lines and additional railroad tracks were laid. Then the war ended, production fell off, and, one by one, the mines shut down. Most of the miners moved away. Those who remained have drained several of the mines, however, and, in groups of two or three, are reworking the veins.
Between Carterville and Webb City the mounds of chat and abandoned shafts are continuous.
WEBB CITY, 189 m. (1,003 alt., 7,033 pop.), in contrast to Carterville, checked the rabid decline that set in at the death of its principal industry by developing new sources of income. The T-shaped business district retains at least a semblance of its former activity, and only a few of the pre-World War commercial buildings are vacant. The residence sections are shady and clean; the houses are kept in repair.
Until 1873 the site of Webb City was part of the fertile acres belonging to John C. Webb, whose corn and wheat farm consisted of a quarter-section bounded on the east by the Carter farm. In the summer of 1873, as Webb was following his team over the fields, his plowshare hit a hard, half-submerged chunk of lead. Webb put the specimen aside until fall when his corn had been harvested. That winter he showed his discovery to W. A. Daugherty, who immediately became his partner. The winter's work brought little success, however, because of water in the mine. After the second year Webb became discouraged, and sold his interest to C. P. Ashcraft, an experienced miner, who promptly dynamited the shaft. The explosion threw lead in all directions, and opened the greatest mining era Missouri has known.
Some of the miners and promoters who flocked to the area settled to the east, establishing Carterville on Mr. Carter's farm; others settled to the west, on Webb's land. In July, 1875, Webb platted the town of Webb City. In the 1880's, discovery of commercial uses for zinc expanded local mineral production. A large semicircle of mines half surrounded the town; the population doubled almost over night. Between 1894 and 1904 the mines produced approximately $23,000,000 in mineral wealth, yet did not reach their peak until 1917-18, when crews worked night and day filling World War orders. At the end of the war Webb City turned its attention to agriculture, and textile and processing plants were opened. Today (1941) two large factories produce work clothes and other wearing apparel, and an enterprising gravel company turns the chat of abandoned mines into road-construction material. Two hospitals further contribute to the resources of the community.
Right from Webb City on an unmarked black-topped road to ORONOGO, 3.8 m. (975 alt., 593 pop.), a dilapidated, ghostlike reminder of Jasper County's lead and zinc mining industry. Here is the ORONOGO CIRCLE MINE (open weekdays 8-4; guides), famed for the production of some $30,000,000 worth of lead and zinc ore during the last half century. The mine, all but hidden by mounds of chat, operates in an open pit approximately 200 feet deep. Said to have been bought in 1854 for $50, the 10-acre circular tract was at one time the scene of operations for 20 mining firms. The initial purchaser, who bought the land before ore was discovered, operated by lease at a reported $9,000,000 profit. He then sold his title to another firm, which also leased the building and mining rights for a substantial fee. Since the 1890's, the original $50 land purchase has made a dozen or more millionaires.
Between Webb City and the Kansas Line are continuous mounds of chat left by former smelting and mining operators and now being processed by smaller firms who recover as much as 5 per cent of lead and zinc concentrates. These tailing mills have produced approximately 25 per cent of the output of the district in recent years.
At 196 m. is JOPLIN (1,008 alt., 37,144 pop.) (see Joplin).
US 66 crosses the KANSAS LINE, 202 m.(see Kansas Guide) , 58 miles northeast of Vinita, Oklahoma.
THIS TEXT IS IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
11-12-09 FRIDAY Here is a 360 degree view of the BLUE WHALE in Catoosa, Oklahoma from one visit several years ago on a clear day. This is a self-executable three megabit file which has good resolution even in full-screen mode. It is almost like being there. The Arrowood Trading Post and the ARK (Animal Reptile Kingdom) are just visible in the background. Look to the right of the Whale's mouth on the sunken boat and see the octopus!
10-15-09 THURSDAY Highway 66 was scoured by government writers in the late 1930's and books were published detailing the people and places along it's path. These are public domain texts now and provide a view of that time period and a different way of life. I found these publications online several years ago but the web site so I am making them available here. They are very well written and are interesting to have when driving the old route, seeing what has survived and what has disappeared. Find them on the WPA GUIDES TO ROUTE 66 link.
POSTCARDS FROM US 66
ALL ABOUT TWO GUNS
DESERT MAGAZINE MARCH 1947 HARRY "TWO GUN" MILLER
GOLD ON 66
WPA GUIDES TO ROUTE 66
ROUTE 66 TRADING CARDS
BLUE WHALE 3 MEG FILE LINK TO PANORAMA VIEW
WAGON WHEEL MOTEL, CUBA. MO