The Airport Drive Cafe, located just behind the Tidol Filling Station. That building was a cafe until the early ’90s.
On the southeast corner of Stone’s Corner in the ’40s was a filling station built by Bill Fowler in 1927. It was later known as the Tidol Filling Station. The Airport Drive Cafe is in the background.
Have you ever heard the joke about the city guy stopping to ask the farmer for directions to a certain place? The farmer gives him directions like this… “Go on down the road fer a piece and take a left where Farmer Brown’s cow usually stands. Then in a short while, ya’ll come to where the tornader took the barn last year, turn to yer right. And right past where ya see Maude Pickens sittin’ on her porch is another left. Drive on through Possum Holler until ya hit Skunk Pass, and then ya only have another few miles till yer there.”
Old timers can recall special places that have names that are not marked, but the local folk know it by a special name. One such place is Glen Elm or Stone’s Corner. The intersection of Joplin’s North Main Street and Highway 171 was originally named Glen Elm by Ed Daniels in the early 1890s. The name Glen refers to the creek valley and Elm because of the many elm trees that were three foot in diameter. The small branch that cuts through just east of Glen Elm was known as Poverty Creek. Ed owned a nursery just east of the intersection all the way to Poverty Creek.
There was a small grocery store on the southeast corner of the intersection owned and operated by a lady known only as Mrs. Flood. After Mrs. Flood shut down the store, the building stayed vacant for a few years. In 1920, Dr. Stone, a local veterinarian, bought the store and converted it into a garage to store his Model T Ford coupe.
About a year later, Dr. Stone moved the garage to the south and turned it into a home for Walker Howard. That allowed him to build a gas station on that corner. Then in 1927, Bill Fowler built another gas station just behind the previous one and tore the first one down.
Meanwhile, across the street on the southwest corner of the intersection, Dr. Stone had a beautiful brick home built for his family. And the new cement road between the intersection and Webb City was completed. If you were heading east on the road it was called Webb City Road. But if you were heading west from Webb City it was called the West Fourth Street Road. Then Joplin concreted the north-south road from the intersection to downtown Joplin and called it North Main Street.
This lazy little area known as Glen Elm was coming to life with businesses. There was a filling station on each of the east corners. Dr. Stone’s home and veterinary business were on the southwest corner, and there was William’s Dairy just a little to the south of Dr. Stone’s home. As more and more clients headed out to Stone’s Corner to see the vet, the name began to click. So if you were local, you knew where to find Stone’s Corner, but the location was never officially given that name. And the prairie field on the north side of Webb City Road between Stone’s Corner and Webb City became the airport. Thus the village of Air Port Drive came into existence.
The baby boomers of the 60s will recall their favorite spot at Stone’s Corner, on the southeast corner, was Lugie’s. Carhops, hot rods, french fries, ice cream, hamburgers and great atmosphere!