“CROSS THE CREEK AT TIPTON’S FORD.”
Built up on the banks of Shoal Creek, Mr. Tipton owned land where travelers would trespass and ‘ford’ the creek on the private property where the water was shallow enough to cross by horseback and carriage. As more people traveled between Neosho and Joplin for work and entertainment, the small town of Tipton Ford was established and train tracks were built.
“THIS FEELS LIKE A TRAIN-WRECK.”
On a hot August evening in 1914, a “doodlebug” (a gas motorcar) operated by the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad (M&NA), left Joplin heading toward Neosho with nearly 80 passengers. The motorcar shared the same set of railroad tracks with the Kansas City Southern Railroad, which had a train traveling at the same time. By agreement it was subject to the operating rules of the Kansas City Southern Railway, which basically meant the motorcar had to give way for the Kansas City Southern train at Tipton Ford where a short section of siding tracks laid.
The train and the motorcar met head-on, both going approximately 35 miles per hour. The train’s locomotive and two baggage cars broke loose from the remainder of the train on impact. The locomotive telescoped its way into the motorcar about 20 feet, and in the process it shoved the remains of the motorcar back a total of 651 feet. The gasoline tanks and pipes on the motorcar burst and splashed gasoline onto the locomotive where it was ignited by the locomotive’s firebox, resulting in an explosion.
A memorial stone was constructed in 2014 at Under Cliff to commemorate the train tragedy.
“BONNIE, MEET CLYDE. CLYDE, BONNIE.”
During the time Bonnie and Clyde roamed Southwest Missouri, an entrepreneur named Ab McConnel opened a general store along the train tracks using donations from area farmers. He called his store The Under Cliff.
The general store operated until 1961 when the building became a restaurant.
Frank and Bonnie’s was a popular staple among both locals and travelers. (I know what you’re thinking, no, Bonnie didn’t leave Clyde for Frank; this is a different Bonnie). People lined up for their famous deep-fried chicken throughout the 70’s.
In 1980, a fire destroyed the restaurant. The land remained vacant until Undercliff Grill & Bar was established in February 1995. Undercliff closed its doors in late 2015.
“CUTE KID. BUT WHY IS HE STARING AT THE CEILING?”
As a child, Brad Ezell would sit at a table in the middle of the Undercliff, looking up at a yellow model airplane suspended from the ceiling. His grandfather built it, gifting it to the restaurant.
When Brad learned that the landmark restaurant was for sale, he bought it. A year after the purchase, remodeling is underway and the date for Undercliff’s grand-opening is being decided.
Undercliff is a family owned and operated restaurant, serving fresh food to order. Looking for employment? Undercliff Grill and Bar might be the place for you. Join our team and be part of a historical revival in the heartland!
Undercliff Bar & Grill
6385 Old Highway 71
Hours : Wed – Fri 11 am – 9pm
Sat 9am – 9 pm
Sunday 9am – 3pm
Monday and Tuesday they are close
Undercliff Bar & Grill