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Rt. 66 – Kansas!

By Diana Blidy

During the month of April, we continue our journey along Rt. 66 and celebrate the state of Kansas. Residents will enjoy a fictitious stop at a typical roadside diner for some sweet treats and a good, old-fashioned cowboy sing-a-long with country music performer, Mr. Kim Olson.

Later in the month, as we cross through the tip of the Kansas Bible Belt on Rt. 66, we’ll stop to enjoy the joyful sounds of an amazing gospel choir, whose music will be sure to keep us singing and smiling as we continue our travels along “the Mother Road.”

BEING THE SHORTEST STRETCH (ONLY 13 MILES) DOESN’T MEAN THAT RT. 66 IN KANSAS IS SHORT ON ATTRACTIONS! HERE ARE SEVEN INTERESTING SITES YOU’LL DISCOVER IN KANSAS:

  1. Cars on the Route: At the end of Main Street in Galena, Kansas, stands the restored Kan-O-Tex Service Station which is home to “Tow-Tater”-the inspiration for a character in the movie, “Cars.”
  2. Angels on the Route: Originally opened in 1865 as a dry goods store, this interesting building is now a top-rated restaurant/diner in Baxter Springs, Kansas.
  3. Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store: In operation since 1925, it is known as one of the most authentic, still working, 75-year-old stores of its kind. Added to the National Registry of Historic places in 2003, it is now the headquarters of the Rt. 66 Association of Kansas.
  4. Brush Creek Bridge: Located in Baxter Springs, Kansas, Brush Creek Bridge is the sole surviving bridge of its type on the entire length of Rt. 66. Built in 1923, the bridge has been preserved and is still enjoyed by many residents and motorists. However, because the bridge is a one-way road and is quite narrow, a replacement bridge was built nearby to allow for today’s traffic. A bypass road from the new bridge was made so that motorists who wish to do so may cross the original bridge.
  5. Galena Mining and Historical Museum: Located in Galena, Kansas, this old Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad depot is home to this historic museum packed with mining memorabilia and features a model of the Grand Central Mine.
  6. Baxter Springs Independent Oil and Gas Service Station: Located in Baxter Springs, Kansas, this cottage-designed gas station is now the Kansas Rt. 66 Visitors Center. After the Great Depression, surviving oil companies rebranded their properties to make them blend in more with the surrounding community, giving their stations a more “homey” look.
  7. Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum: Also located in Baxter Springs, Kansas, this 20,000 sq. ft. building is home to exhibits that celebrate the rich history of this fair city along Rt. 66.

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