Two more folk art sculptures by Lowell Davis are located at businesses on the east side of Carthage. This one is at a tire shop.
Carthage claims that the very first battle of the Civil War was fought in the streets of their little town. Missouri was a border state with it’s citizens pledging allegiance to both sides in the conflict. The governor, against the wishes of a majority of the Missourians, declared Missouri a free republic and sided with the south. Using the Missouri Volunteer Militia, he planned to keep Federal troops out of Missouri. The Battle of Carthage was fought on July 5, 1861 against Union forces led by Colonel Franz Sigel and was the beginning of conflicts that left Carthage a near ghost town for the duration of the war.
Battle of Carthage State Historic Site is a flat, grassy park with an interpretive kiosk and a picnic table. The parking lot is large enough for RVs.
If you want to learn more about the battle and Carthage during the Civil War visit the Carthage Civil War Museum. The museum is accessible. RVs can be parked on the street.
The little Powers Museum has more local history. A special group of historic quilts was on display when we visited. The museum is accessible. The parking lot is large enough for RVs.
Kiwanis Kiddieland located in the park across the street from the Powers Museum opened in 1951. It has only five rides but is the largest non-profit amusement park in the US. The “diesel” engine is unique for a little amusement park train. It’s located in a big city park with plenty of parking.
The most famous Route 66 site in Carthage is the art deco styled Boot Court built in 1939.
The Whee Bridge may not be around much longer. It was built in 1920 to span the railroad tracks. The wood construction and high hump makes it unusable for heavy vehicles like fire engines. It reminds me of the arched bridges found in Japanese gardens.
Don’t leave town without driving around the downtown square to see the magnificent Jasper County Courthouse which was built in the late 1800s and looks like a castle.
The 66 Drive-In was built in 1949, restored in 1996 and shows films during the summer.
Little Webb City has a restored gas station which is a combination chamber of commerce and Route 66 visitor center. There is very little information about Route 66 inside but the exterior is cool.
The Joplin Museum Complex is a fairly standard small city museum with collections donated by local citizens and exhibits about local history, businesses and noteworthy citizens. The museum is accessible. The parking lot is large enough for RVs.
Side trip - Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center protects the ecosystem of the chert glades which are very dry places with thin soils and specialized plants. Six miles of trail lead to overlooks of the glades, along the bluffs and the creek and through the woods. The Audubon Nature Center has interactive displays. Most are geared towards middle school or younger children.
About a mile of trail is paved and accessible. Stop at the nature center to view the exhibits and get a map then continue on the road until you come to the end for the easiest trail access.
All of the parking lots are large enough for RVs.