1950 photos of the chats between Webb City and Carterville, as taken from the side of Route 66.

Old News

From the 3rd floor
of the Webb City Public Library

‘A monument to human exploitation of natural resources’– back of a 1957 photo of the chats

Webb City Area Genealogical Society

Someone stopped along Route 66 on June 7, 1950, possibly as part of a research project, to document the remains of the mining era between Webb City and Carterville.

It appears you can see the edge of Highway 66 in the foreground of the top picture. The back of it reads, “Chat piles of the Tri-State lead and zinc field. A scene of desolation. 1877-1920, a busy area on a tributary of Center Creek which flows into Spring River.”

Th bottom photo shows the remains of a mining derrick. It reads on the back, “Abandoned shafts among the chat piles of the Tri-State lead and zinc region. A monument to human exploitation of natural resources.”

Of course, the chat piles between Webb City and Carterville have now been removed by the EPA. The area is returning to its native state as part of the Cardinal Valley Habitat.

The following clipping from the Tulsa Sunday World, July 30, 1967, shows that the stretch of US 66 along the mining belt was sometimes a dangerous place to drive.

Old US 66 Highway on the south edge of Commerce, Oklahoma, has caved in several times. One mile south of Baxter Springs, Kansas, on the Kansas-Oklahoma line, one lane of the present US 66 suddenly fell into the tunnel beneath it. This, of course, was quickly repaired, but it is possible to drive along the “Main Street of America” and with only a little stretching of the neck, look into the depths of a mine only a few feet from this national highway.

On US 66, one mile from the west city limits of Joplin, both lanes of the road suddenly fell. The first vehicle along after this fall was a motorcycle. Since this machine was moving too fast for the rider to stop, he did the only thing he could do. He jumped the chasm. When he reached the safety of solid ground on the other side, he stopped, dismounted, and flagged oncoming traffic until authorities could be notified. US 66 fell again near Webb City.


A “US 66 in Webb City” sign.

The Missouri Pacific depot, located between Webb City and Carterville, adjacent to Route 66, circa 1960.

Sentinel bound volumes are now in the Genealogy Room

The WCAGS has accepted ownership of the complete collection of bound volumes of the Webb City Sentinel, from 1983 (after the fire) until the final issue on Dec. 30, 2020.

Those issues can also be viewed on microfilm, along with much older issues.

Webb City Area Genealogical Society

WCAGS members staff the Genealogy Room on the third floor of the Webb City Public Library. Current hours are noon to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the Geanealogy Room.

Everything you want to know about Jasper County Missouri Schools is available at a site compiled by Webb City Area Genealogical Society member Kathy Sidenstricker.

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