Visit Historic Carthage, Missouri on Old Route 66

Carthage, Missouri was established in 1842 and served as the county seat of Jasper County. The state of Missouri was located between the secessionist southern states and the abolitionist northern states. As a result, several civil war battles occurred in and around Carthage along with very violent attacks from southern guerrillas. The first battle at Carthage occurred on July 5, 1861 and again in October 1863. Carthage was also burned by Confederate guerrillas in September 1864. Carthage, Missouri was reconstructed during the Victorian era.

carthage mo courthouse

Jasper County Courthouse, Carthage Missouri

Carthage from the Civil War and Beyond

As mentioned above the state of Missouri was at a real crossroads at the start of the American Civil War and Carthage, Missouri was one of the flashpoints. Missouri’s loyalties were divided at the outset of the Civil War and the war tore the state apart.

After the civil war, Carthage was a prosperous rail town,as well as a supplier of  “Carthage Marble” and a busy highway crossroads when U.S. Highways 66 and 71 came to town in 1926. The new Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California was a economic boost to many towns along it’s path. One of the first concrete-paved portions of Missouri’s highway system was the stretch of road west of Carthage to Joplin, laid in 1920. In 1926, this route became part of Route 66.

Jasper County Courthouse

Carthage enjoys a rich history which is reflected in the many structures found throughout the city.

The current Jasper County Courthouse, built of Carthage stone in 1894, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This Romanesque Revival building is constructed of Carthage stone and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its turrets, towers and arches evoke the feel of a medieval castle looming over the city below.

The building is great to look at from the outside but even more fascinating when you enter. On the ground floor in the main hallway are cases filled with historic artifacts. There is a case that shows you the mining history, artifacts from Route 66, an old phone booth, and even a mine from the Spanish American War. One of the most interesting features was the mural of the history of Carthage complete with narration.

carthage courthouse square

Carthage Courthouse Square

Carthage Courthouse Square

Carthage Courthouse Square Historic District is, as the name implies, a grouping of shops and stores, most of them with relatively unspoiled nineteenth-century facades, set in traditional Southern fashion around a courthouse.

Carthage Courthouse Square Historic District is significant in American architecture for several reasons. First, it superlatively illustrates the two major phases of post-Civil War commercial architecture — brick Italianate and Romanesque Revival. In addition, the Carthage Courthouse Square Historic District and its side streets contain unusual and beautiful examples of cast-iron ornamentation.

Carthage Civil War Museum

A museum filled with information and artifacts covering the Civil War Battle of Carthage and the Civil War in southwest Missouri. The museum covers the history of the Battle of Carthage, the first full-scale land battle of the Civil War. The museum displays offer an excellent explanation of the several battles and the effects of the War on the area of southwest Missouri .There is also a display on the outlaw Belle Starr, who grew up in Carthage during the Civil War. The museum is located at 205 S. Grant St.

Boots Court-Motel

Another historic structure going back to the days of old Route 66 is the Boots Court-Motel. The Boots Court – Motel was built in 1939 by Arthur Boots, and still carries his name today.

carthage boots motel

Boots Motel

Americans took to the road in unprecedented numbers with the lifting of World War Two rationing and travel restrictions during the Mother Road’s golden age that began in 1945.

The “Motel” was saved from demolition by two sisters who are presently restoring the property to the way it was in 1949, and with the five rooms in the detached annex being completed and opened-for-business in 2012.

Battle of Carthage State Historic Site

This historic site is the location of the final confrontation of the Battle of Carthage, a day-long running skirmish that began on July 5, 1861, about 9 miles northeast of Carthage. Battle of Carthage State Historic Site preserves a small area associated with the battle, as skirmishes were spread over 10 miles. The Battle of Carthage involved the Missouri State Guard, a pro-Southern force, against Union volunteer regiments.

carthage civil war battlefieldThe Battle of Carthage was the earliest full-scale battle of the Civil War, preceding Bull Run by 11 days. Battle of Carthage State Historic Site contains a quiet meadow and the spring that made the area an encampment for both the Union and Confederate troops during the battle.

The area is little changed in its appearance since the battle was fought on July 5, 1861. A few minutes off of Interstate 44, the site interprets the battle that set the stage for a decisive showdown a month later at Wilson’s Creek.

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Kansas Route 66 Attractions

Texas Old Courthouse Tour

Carthage, Missouri features more than 600 buildings listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. These are buildings and structures that at one time housed a wide variety of individuals including Civil War guerrillas, wild west outlaws, business titans, Ragtime musicians and women’s rights pioneers.

Carthage is located just six miles north of Interstate-44 in southwestern Missouri and very close to the Kansas border. The city offers great historic tourist sites that highlight it’s early years including the devastation and battles of the Civil War and the days that Route 66 brought travelers through by the thousands.

It’s a must stop when your travels take you through southwest Missouri and well worth the time.

(Article and photos copyright Trips Into History)

Historic Attractions and Events in Georgetown, Texas

Georgetown, Texas was founded in 1848 and was named for George Washington Glasscock. Glasscock had donated the land of which the new town was built. Interestingly enough, the site had much earlier been a village for the Tonkawa Indians.

georgetown texas shops

Shops around the Georgetown Square

The people who originally settled Georgetown were immigrants comprised mostly of  Swedish, German, Austrian, Swiss, Moravian and Czech. Other early settlers were  Americans from the southern states.

The growth of Georgetown, Texas was spurred by the founding of Southwestern University in 1873 and with a railroad line coming through in 1878. By 1904 a railroad connected down to Austin, the state capital.

 

In addition to these, cotton was a huge economic driver and brought jobs and money to Georgetown.

When you visit Georgetown, Texas, the structures on all four sides of the courthouse square are a part of the Town Square Historic District. Below are stories about two of these major historic structures…

Williamson County Courthouse

The Williamson County Courthouse is one of the many beautiful old county courthouses you’ll see throughout the state. The town became the county seat in the year of it’s founding. This was some twelve years after the Texas Revolution which freed the land from Mexican rule. The first of what would be five courthouses was built in 1849. Court was first held under a live oak tree one block south of the courthouse square until the county’s first courthouse, a very small one-room log house, was completed in early 1849.

williamson county courthouse history

Williamson County Courthouse in Georgetown, Texas

The second courthouse for Williamson County Texas was a one story, 14 x 30 foot, wood frame home just off the square on the same block as the log courthouse. This second courthouse was used from 1851 to 1857.

The third courthouse was constructed directly on the square in 1857. This third structure was a 50 foot square, two-story limestone building with 2 foot thick walls and a hipped  roof and it was the first stone building in Georgetown. The third courthouse had various structural problems which had to be completed over several years. In 1873, four iron rods that were the length of the building had to be installed to stabilize the entire structure.

The county’s fourth courthouse was designed in 1877 by Austin architect Frederick E. Ruffini and his partner Jasper N. Preston. Ruffini himself was involved in the design of many courthouses in Texas including the Bell and Bastrop County structures. The cost of this fourth Williamson County Courthouse was $27,500 and was a was a large three story Second Empire style building made of stone with pediments, roof cresting, an elaborate cornice, corner pavilions with Mansard cupolas and a large rounded cupola over the front entrance. The new building was completed in 1878. By 1909, the fourth courthouse was no longer considered safe and plans were made to erect a new courthouse.

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Visit Historic Round Rock Texas

Visit the National Ranching Heritage Center

The current and fifth Williamson County Courthouse was completed in 1911. The corner­stone was laid Oct. 6, 1910. The building has gone through several renovations and modifications. The architectural style is Greek Revival. With the assistance of the Texas Historical Commission and the dedication of preservation minded county citizens and officials, the fifth courthouse of Williamson County has been returned to its original 1911 splendor, once again becoming a focal point of the county.

masonic building georgetown texas history

Historic Masonic Building

Historic Georgetown Texas Masonic Lodge Building

Prior to 1900, the Lodge had a two story wooden building on the same lot, used the upper story for meetings, and rented the first floor to the post office.The current San Gabriel Masonic Lodge building was built in 1900 and is one of the most interesting structures on the Georgetown Courthouse Square. Masonic ceremonies for lay­ing the cornerstone were held July 6, 1900, and the building was completed December 8, of that year.The building is topped off with an onion dome, an architectural element common in Eastern Europe. One hundred and three years after it’s construction, the Masonic Lodge building was renovated in 2003.

Georgetown Texas Events

Located just 27 miles north of Austin, Georgetown is a fun town to visit and features many events throughout the year. Georgetown hosts some of the biggest family friendly events and festivals in the Texas Hill Country. Walk around the Georgetown Square and visit the unique shops including antique stores. You’ll find many great dining choices when in Georgetown which offers kid menus and ranges from American classics, Mexican, French and more.

An excellent website for a calendar of events is…http://visit.georgetown.org/events/

(Article and photos copyright Trips Into History)

 

One Of A Kind Trip Stops Along Old Route 66

Old Route 66

The old Route 66 is one of the most historic drives in North America. this highway stretching from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California in many ways tells the story of the modern day expansion across America’s Southwest. Over the decades portions of  Route 66 were altered and with the beginning of the Interstate highway system, a good portion of the Mother Road was lost altogether.

amarillo route 66The western road traveler can still find substantial portions of the old Mother Road in several states. The longest uninterrupted section being found in western Arizona. Many old landmarks remain and the signage you’ll see on the Interstates are pretty good in pointing them out.

During the heyday of Route 66 travel, motels sprang up right and left. Prior to the Interstate Highway System, Route 66 was the main artery into the southwest and into California. Thousands of people traveled the Mother Road to California during the Great Depression as was chronicled in John Steinbeck‘s 1939 novel, The Grapes of Wrath.

Route 66 was the trail out of the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s and hopefully to a new start and employment in California.

old route 66 bridges

Old Route 66 bridge west of Albuquerque, NM

Surviving Landmarks Along Today’s Route 66

Some of the Route 66 landmarks still remaining include bridges, abandoned service  This applies to towns and cities all along Interstate 40 from Oklahoma all the way to the West Coast. When you exit the Interstates and take a short drive through many of these towns there is quite a lot of old history to explore. Along this stretch of Interstate 40 you’ll find that the original old route still runs through the center of many towns and cities, usually as main street. This is true even though the Interstate itself passes either north or south of the town.

Theaters

When Route 66 was being developed during the 1920’s, the movie theater industry was expanding. As a result there still remains many old theater buildings along old Route 66 with the type of architecture you don’t see too often today. Some theaters of note along the way include the Kimo Theater on old Route 66 in downtown Albuquerque New Mexico. The Kimo’s art deco style is very unique.

The Kimo design  is actually Art Deco blended in to the Southwest style. Many believe that the Kimo Theater is Albuquerque’s most popular landmark. The city purchased the theater in 1977 to keep it from being demolished. There have been several renovations and today the Kimo Theater is open showing films, featuring live plays and is also used for various private and civic functions.

albuquerque historic landmarks

Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, NM

Amarillo Texas also offers an historic old movie theater. The Paramount Theater was located in the southern section of downtown Amarillo about one block off old Route 66. The Paramount Theater was built in 1932. Similar to many large theaters built in this period, The Paramount Theater included a wide-set staircase with covered with maroon carpeting as it curved to the upper balcony seating area. The theater could seat 1,200 beneath a blue sunburst design on the ceiling. The one large screen was behind heavily draped curtains and gold framing. The Paramount in Amarillo charged fifteen cents for admission when it opened for business during the Great Depression. The Paramount Theater building still sports it’s marquee and definitely worth a drive by when passing through downtown Amarillo, Texas. Today the handsome and historic structure serves as an office building.

Grants, New Mexico is also the site of an old rundown theater that was built during the Great Depression in 1937. The theater is found along the main street through town which happens to be old Route 66. Grants is located about 79 miles west of Albuquerque via Interstate 40. The Lux Theater was capable of seating some 500 plus patrons

Much of the structure which is situated in a strip of three buildings is now boarded up but the marquee and old neon tubing remains. The theater was built when a great many people traveled Route 66, many heading west to California looking for employment.

Historic Hotels

East of Flagstaff you’ll find a luxury hotel, La Posada, directly on old Route 66 in Winslow Arizona. The La Posada was originally built by Fred Harvey and the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.It was and still remains a popular and historic destination.

This Route 66 landmark was originally built next to the Winslow train station in 1929. Winslow was chosen as an ideal site for another Harvey House because it’s location in Winslow is a days drive or less from many popular northern Arizona tourist destinations  including the Grand Canyon to the west and Navajo Reservation just to the north. The La Posada Harvey House could attract travelers from either the railroad line or old Route 66. The AT & SF railroad operated the hotel for twenty-seven years and then closed it to the public in 1957.

old harvey house hotels

Interior of La Posada Hotel, Winslow, AZ

The future of the structure was of course in doubt when the railroad gave it up. The fear of many was that the building might be torn down. Efforts were underway to preserve it. The National Trust for Historic Preservation became aware of the situation and became involved. Fortunately, the La Posada Hotel was purchased by a small group that restored the hotel to it’s grand condition.

The hotel is very popular today with many making it a regular stop when traveling through Winslow. If you travel on Interstate 40, you will enjoy stopping at Winslow and visiting and/or lodging at this historic hotel. If you’re traveling on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, the train makes a scheduled stop at the hotel.

There’s plenty of interesting sites to see along the old Route 66. If you haven’t driven this historic route yet we recommend it as a fun and educational family trip.

(Article and photos copyright Trips Into History)

Luling Texas / Railroads, Oil and Watermelons

Luling Texas is one of those historic towns with more than one version of how it got it’s name. One version has the town named after a Chinese railroad worker, another that it was named for a Judge and yet another that it was named after a railroad owner’s wife. Whatever story is true, there are plenty of attractions in Luling Texas both historic and recreational and it makes a fine addition to your Texas travel vacation planner.

luling texas theater

Luling’s original 5,000 sq ft. theater

A Fun Visit to Luling Texas

Luling Texas is located on the San Marcos River south of Austin Texas and northeast of San Antonio. The town is located just off I-10, near the US Hwy 183 – I-10 interchange. Luling is 45 miles from Austin, 139 miles from Houston and 90 miles from Victoria Texas.

This is a trip stop that will make a good addition to your Texas travel planner. Luling is renowned for its barbecue, rich oil history, decorated pump jacks, fresh produce and plants, abundant watermelons, and Texas’ first inland canoe paddling trail on the San Marcos River.

luling texas watermelon stump

Luling Texas Watermelon Shop

Luling the Railroad Town

Luling as a community came into being because of the railroad. In 1874 the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio railroad laid track from Columbus to a terminus three miles west of Plum Creek. The area around this terminus became the city of Luling. Most of the first settlers in Luling were from the area of Plum Creek and from the Atlanta community.

Fifteen years later in 1889, a second railroad, the San Antonio and Aransas Pass, laid tracks through Luling, connecting it with both Lockhart and Shiner, Texas.Luling’s population rose and fell during the last part of the 1800’s and by the year 1900 the population was estimated at about 1,500 residents.

oil museum luling texas

The Luling Texas Oil Museum

The 1922 Oil Discovery

The discovery of oil in Luling Texas in 1922 led to rapid growth. Prior to this discovery Luling, Texas had an economy that relied essentially on one crop, cotton.

A man named Edgar B. Davis moved to Caldwell County Texas from Massachusetts to manage oli leases on his brother Oscar’s property. In 1921 Edgar founded the United North and South Oil Company. When his brother passed away Edgar bought the oil leases from the estate and began drilling. After six dry holes, Edgar Davis hit oil on the seventh try in August 1922. This was despite the claim of geologists that there was no oil to be found there.

The discovery was large. By December 1924 Davis’ field was producing 43,000 barrels of oil per day. In 1926 Davis sold his oil leases to the Magnolia Oil Company for a reported $12 million.  In celebration of the sale Edgar B. Davis threw a barbecue and reportedly gave a substantial cash bonus to each of his employees.  Davis was known as an oilman and philanthropist.

Oil fields attract a good number of retail and service businesses. The 1922 oil discovery drove population steadily over the years and by 1930 Luling’s population was about 6,000.

When you visit Luling Texas make it a point to stop into the Luling Oil Museum located at 421 East Davis Street. The museum is located in the historic Walker Brothers Mercantile Store which was established in 1885.The museum pays tribute to Luling’s rich cultural heritage and the significant role the oil industry played in the growth of the area. As of this writing, the museum hours are M-F 9A-5P Their phone number is (830) 875-1922.

luling texas attractions

East Davis Street

The World famous Luling Watermelon Thump

The world famous Luling Watermelon Thump is always held the last Thursday-Sunday in June in downtown Luling, Texas. The Watermelon Thump is comprised of several events over it’s four day run.

One such event is the “watermelon seed spit” contest. Luling has the distinction of having the world’s record for this event. The Guiness Book of Records Watermelon Seed Spit Record is 68 feet 9 1/8 inches from the starting line.  The Championship Watermelon Seed Spit record was set in 1989 by Lee Wheelis from Luling.

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luling texas historic buildings

Historic Walker brothers Mercantile Bldg.

The Best Kept Secret in Texas, Luling’s Paddling Trail

Luling has one of the states inland paddling trails for canoeing/ kayaking recreation. The paddling trail, designated by Texas Parks and Wildlife, is a six mile stretch of the San Marcos River. This stretch of river offers a relaxed paddling experience for both novices and seasoned paddlers. The paddling trail takes an estimated 2 to 3 hours to complete. You can put in your canoe or kayak at  the Hwy 90 Bridge two miles west of town and take out at the Zedler Mill.

Shuttle & Equipment Rental can be arranged through Luling Parks & Recreation Department. Phone  (512) 227-1724.

An Area Where Early Texas History Abounds

You’ll find plenty of attractions in Luling Texas and it makes a fine addition to you Texas travel planner when you visit other nearby towns and cities such as Austin, San Antonio, Lockhart and Gonzales. All of these towns and cities offer Texas historic museums, historic buildings and structures dating to the 1800’s and fun recreational activities like canoeing and kayaking.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Trips Into History)

Why We Need To Save Our Historic Post Office Buildings

While traveling around the U.S. many historic sites include old post office buildings. The historic appeal of some of these structures has to do with their architectural style, the era in which they were constructed and some of the unique artwork found on their walls and ceilings.

bronx post office

Bronx Post Office Bldg

While these buildings were built to handle mail, some indeed are more like living museums and are important to a communities history. Some are in historic districts and are visited by tourists.

The USPS idea of selling off post office buildings has met with solid opposition from preservation groups from coast to coast. The sales were going to go ahead without adequate time for public comment and fortunately this opposition has had some positive effect.

The Need For Money Meets the Need For Historic Preservation

The USPS has been putting post office buildings, many quite historic, on the selling block  along with an effort to cut back mail delivery to five days a week to help save an estimated $20 billion over the next several years. Their plan to sell some of the larger buildings raises cash faster but the downside of course is that many of the larger facilities have a lot of history attached to them.

old philadelphia post office

Old Philadelphia Main Post Office Building

Architecture Heritage At Risk

Local post office buildings have traditionally played an essential role in the lives of millions of Americans. Many are architecturally distinctive, prominently located, and cherished as civic icons in communities across the country.

Unless the U.S. Postal Service establishes a clear, consistent process that follows federal preservation law when considering disposal of these buildings, a large part of the nation’s architectural heritage will be at risk.

What is key in this controversy are the historic buildings planned for sale and the fact that some are planned for sale to developers. The U.S. Postal Service is required to take several steps before actually selling a building. After announcing their intent to sell a property, it is required to hold a public meeting and a comment period for feedback.

houma louisiana post office

Houma Louisiana Post Office constructed in 1935

Only after this is completed is the USPS allowed to make a final decision about selling. In this respect, some in the opposition feel that due process has been worked around. Others protest the dual roles that developers have had in the actual sale of buildings. On the flip side of this and a major concern for the USPS, holding on to an old building no matter how historic it might be requires a lot of funds for it’s upkeep.

Bronx General Post Office

One very historic structure is the Bronx General Post Office, and it’s beautiful murals  by artists Ben Shahn and Bernarda Bryson Shahn which, was built during the Great Depression as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The USPS believes that the Bronx Post Office has a value of around $14 million. The building went on the market in January 2014.

It was announced in September 2014 that Youngwoo & Associates has purchased the historic Bronx General Post Office.

Berkeley California Post Office Building

The Berkeley Post Office building is located within the city’s Civic Center Historic District and was built in 1914-1915 in the Renaissance Revival-style. The historic post office lobby has a mural by Suzanne Scheuer depicting Berkeley’s history and a limestone bas-relief by David Slivka on the exterior arcade wall are two examples of New Deal-era works of art.

In regards to the building’s sale, Berkeley residents have shown up in droves to city council meetings and hearings with the postal service to voice their concerns. Some city officials, including Mayor Tom Bates, have thrown their support behind efforts to fight the sale of this iconic Berkeley California structure.

As of September 9, 2014, The Berkeley City Council passed a Zoning Overlay.  After a second reading at the next Council meeting, the Zoning Overlay Ordinance will become law. The Berkeley Zoning Overlay provides protections for the Post Office, Old City Hall, and our historic Civic Center against commercial development.

Philadelphia Main Post Office

This very historic post office building in Philadelphia was sold to the University of Pennsylvania for $50.6 million.  now is planning to sell the iconic building to Brandywine Realty Trust, owner of the nearby Cira Centre, for $20 million.

Brandywine Realty Trust completed a $252 million renovation of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Main Post Office, converting the building into office space. While taking on one of the largest historic rehabilitation projects in the nation, Brandywine modernized and retrofitted the building while maintaining its designation as a national historic site.

Brandywine also built a $90 million parking garage to support the new office space, and serve future development.

berkely california historic post office

Beautiful architecture of the Berkeley Post Office Bldg constructed in 1914-15

The National Trust For Historic Preservation

The National Trust For Historic Preservation has outlined goals regarding the sale of post office buildings. These are as follows…

  • Work directly with the U.S. Postal Service and other federal agencies to develop a consistent,  public process that follows established federal preservation law and protects those historic post office buildings identified for closure or sale.
  • Promote and support successful advocacy campaigns for saving post offices around the country.
  • Identify and encourage sensitive and appropriate reuses for post office buildings.
  • Support policy and legal solutions that encourage the preservation and reuse of post offices nationwide.

For more information on the status of post office building sales, see website http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/11-most-endangered/locations/historic-post-office.html

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While the USPS has an urgent need to cut losses and raise money, we believe that the sale of old post office buildings, particularly one’s that have high historic value, must be approached with preservation concerns high on the list.

(Article copyright 2014 Trips Into History. Photos in the public domain)