Historical society brings Missouri’s Mother Road to life with dinner and show

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A local historical society brings Route 66 history to life with dinner and show.

“Of course many many years ago it was just a gravel road and of course we used to have the street cars,” says Frances Pyle.

A dinner and movie put on by the Webb City Historical Society at the Route 66 Movie Theater highlights the history of the famous highway. Selections from the movie, Missouri’s Mother Road, features the route from Springfield to Joplin, including appearances by a few local residents.

“What was the beautiful thing about that was taking the interviews of all these wonderful people from St. Louis to Joplin and tonight you’re going to see some of the people that were a part of these great communities … These mining communities of Route 66 communities of Carthage, Carterville, Webb City, and Joplin,” says Brad Belk, MSSU community historian.

For years, Route 66 was heavily traveled through many important moments in history.

“It also had a great bearing during our mining heritage moving the rock and minerals. It had the era of World War II where we were moving military men and machinery, so it’s got a great history,” says Belk.

Although life is more fast paced now, with travelers using major interstates instead, people from across the world still travel to the United States to experience the small town communities along Route 66.

“You can’t imagine the countless people we had from not only from the United States … From Asia and Europe that are fascinated with Route 66 and they like that slower pace. They like going through the communities of Carterville, Webb City, and Joplin,” says Belk.

And for one Webb City Resident, Route 66 will forever be a part of her history.

“My husband and I on our honeymoon, we went all the way on Route 66. That was in 1953 and it was just a two lane gravel road all the way,” says Frances Pyle.

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