Brad's Beat: Joplin Route 66 Tile Mural

JOPLIN, MO.--- A new Route 66 mural is going up one tile at a time. It is celebrating Joplin's history with the Mother Road and intended to encourage tourists to stop and spend money locally. Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean had the honor of placing the Joplin tile on the wall.

"People have asked if there's someplace I can get a picture or anything like that. This is going to be big for the city. We may have to have traffic control, so many people will get their picture taken," said Melodee Colbert-Kean, Joplin Mayor.

The mural is located at 7th and Main in Joplin on the wall of Pearl Brothers Hardware. Pat Tuttle with the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau says the city looses a lot of tourists to other towns.

"A lot of them stop in Carthage or Webb City, fly right through Joplin, head into Galena. This is one of those things that will get those travelers to stop in the town for a while," said Pat Tuttle, Joplin CVB.

There will be 2 murals on the wall. The lower one depicts a map of Route 66 and has about 180 tiles. The second mural will consist of 540 tiles. Paul Whitehall owns Images in Tile, the company behind the project. He says the titles will not fade in the sunlight and can even withstand graffiti.

"If by chance it did get tagged by spray paint. I could use action and it won't hurt the image," said Paul Whitehill, Images in Tile.

The mural has a life span of 75 to 100 years.

"This mural is going to be here for generations to come. No matter what happens to Joplin in 75 years, these murals will still be here," said Whitehill.

The mural will be advertised in various Route 66 magazines and the city hopes it will soon be a destination on many tourists maps.

"We think in about 2 years, this will be well known. One of those places on the map you must see," said Tuttle.

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