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Riverton

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Route 66: Riverton, Kansas

Riverton: Is the smallest town along the Kansas segment of Route66. It is well known for two Historic places: The Williams' Store (Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store) and the Brush Creek Bridge (Rainbow Bridge), both of them are listed in the National Registry of Historic Places

Riverton KS

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Galena ¦ Joplin (Missouri) ¦ Webb City

 

About Riverton, Kansas

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation: 833 ft. (254 m). Population: 929 (2010 census).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).

Riverton is located along Route-66, in southeastern Cherokee county, Kansas and Historic Route 66 crosses the town with a west to east direction.

A 1940s view of Williams' Store:

A 1940s view of Williams’ store on US 66 Riverton Kansas
A 1940s view of Williams' Store Route 66, Riverton, Kansas

Riverton's History

This part of Kansas was the home of Paleo-Indians over 10,000 years ago. In historic times, Francisco de Coronado, a Spanish "Conquistador" explored the area in 1541, seeking for gold. The French took possession of the territory and named it Louisiana. It was sold to the U.S.A. in 1803.

The land was set apart as the Cherokee Neutral Lands, and white men were banned from entering it. But the mining wealth and the fertile territory west of the Ozarks attracted settlers.

Settlers encroached on the Region, and just south of Riverton, and the confluence of Spring River and Shoal Creek, the settlement of Lowell sprung up in the 1860s.

After the Civil War, the Quakers came to the region Lowell had grown into a town with flour mills, lime kilns and a school.

Across Spring River, 3 miles to the east, Galena was founded in 1876.

The Quaker Valley settlers wanted a post office and they got the help of an influential person living in Baxter Springs to help them, His name was "Dad Varrick" and the Quakers had requested that the post office be given his name. The Postmaster General agreed but cut the name short, to "Varck".

The Frisco railroad linked Joplin, Galena and Baxter Springs and, at had a stop by the Varck post office. This was the origin of the community and the School District #5. It soon changed its name for Riverton, and began to grow when the power company plant was built in 1906-7 (it supplied electricity to the mining industry).

Riverton, the name

"Ton" is an Anglo-Saxon word for "village" or "settlement", "town", and the nearby Spring River led to the name: "Riverton" (town on the river).

It is an unincorporated community.

Where to Stay

There are several hotels near Riverton; you can lodge in the neighboring towns in Kansas, Missouri or Oklahoma:

Lodging Nearby...

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Weather in Riverton

Weather widget for the town nearest Riverton

Latest Galena, Kansas weather
map showing location of Riverton Kansas on Route 66
Location of Riverton, Cherokee Co., KS, Route 66

Riverton has an average temperature of 60°F (15.6°C). Summers are quite hot with maximum temperatures averaging 92°F and minimums around 70° (32.8 and 21.1°C).

Winter average highs are 44°F and the lows are 24°F (7.2 and -3.8 °C) respectively.

Rainfall is fairly regular with peaks of 5.3 in. in late spring (160 mm) and minimum values of 2.5 in. (65 mm) in winter. The town experiences about 8 or 9 days of rain or drizzle every month. About 12.4 inches of snow falls between November and March (32 cm).

Tornado Risk. Riverton is located inside the Kansas "Tornado Alley. Read more about the Tornadoes on Route66.

Getting to Riverton

Riverton is the second town in Kansas to the west of the Missouri state Line, it is 12 miles west of Joplin, Missouri and 5 miles north of Baxter Springs on the Kansas - Oklahoma state line. Galena is 4 miles east of the small town.

Map of Route 66 in Riverton

Map of Route 66 in Riverton

through Riverton.

Display Map

  Click for Map to appear below
 

The red icon marks the location of Riverton

Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment.

map of US 66 in Riverton

Static map of Route 66 in Kansas, through Riverton

Google Maps. Terms. Nicolas Mollet, CC BY SA 3.0 License

Color key to the map

Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment through Kansas.

Alignment of Route 66 through Kansas: Historic U.S. 66 in Riverton

Route 66 logo

Route 66 across Kansas

Click on the following link and see our overview of Route 66 across the state of Kansas.

Below you will find full details on Old Route 66 in Riverton.

Riverton: Attractions & Sights

Things to Do and See

Town Attractions

Riverton

There is one "must-see-sight" in the small town, it is the historic Williams' - Eisler Brothers Store on Route 66, the oldest store still in operation of the whole Route-66:

The Williams' Store (Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store)

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003

7109 SE Highway 66, Riverton, KS.

The oldest continuously operating store on Route 66: Open since 1925.

Leo Williams opened a small diner after he returned from serving in the US Army during World War I. He worked for the Empire District Electric Plant and his wife Lora took care of the shop.

A Tornado destroyed the premises in 1923, so he rebuilt it: a one-story store in 1925, which is still opeen; it was known as the Williams' Store

Williams' Store, now Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store, Kansas

Williams' Store, now Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store, Riverton Kansas.
Google, click image for Street View

Eisler Store

Photograph of the "William's Store"
National Register of Historic Places

When Route 66 was created in 1926, a growing flow of visitors passed in front of the store and it was included as an official stop on the maps of the 1930s and 40s.

Besides the diner, the store had a shop that sold food, candy, ice and clothes. It even had a croquet court, but later removed it to add parking space.

The Williams ran the store until 1945, and then leased it out, but after Leo died in 1948, Lora took it over again and ran it until she retired in 1970.

Lora's daughter's mother in Law purchased the store 1972 and sold it to Isabell and Joe Eisler in 1973.

The store was renamed as Eisler Bros Old Riverton Store. Their nephew, Scott Nelson worked there and managed it until he bought it from the estate after his aunt and uncle passed away.

Enjoy its virtually unchanged ambiance, with a glass-enclosed porch, pressed-tin ceiling and old shelves. It sells groceries and Route 66 souvenirs.

The Store and the Pixar ⁄ Disney movie "Cars"

When the studio decided to make the animated film, it sent out scouts along Route 66 to identify iconic characters and unique features. They reached Kansas and stopped at the Eisler Bros. Store. It inspired them and apparently the short "Mater and the Ghostlight" was also inspired by the story of a Ghost Light by Dean Walker.

The film's credits give "A Special Thanks To Those Who Inspire Us On Route 66, "The Mother Road" ... Scott Nelson, Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store, "Home Of The Hand-Crafted Sandwiches", Riverton, KS".

Ghost Lights - Spook Light

By the way, "Ghost Light" or "Spook light" are a mysterious phenomenon; read more: at our Spook Light web page.

Tours & Itineraries

Bush Creek Bridge

(the "Rainbow Bridge")

Old Route 66, Riverton, KS.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983

Original Route 66 concrete arch bridge built in 1923.

American engineer, James Barney Marsh (1856 - 1936) studied bridge building and came up with a novel design, for which he was awarded a patent in 1912: the "Marsh Arch Bridge". He would build over 70 concrete bridges in the Midwest, of which half are still in use.

Historic Rainbow Bridge built in 1923:

Bush Creek Arch Bridge on US 66 in Kansas
Historic Concrete Marsh Arch Bridge, or Bush Creek Bridge Route 66, Riverton, Kansas

The concrete road which would become part of Route 66 in 1926, was created in the early 1920s, it was built to link the mining towns of the region (Baxter Springs, Galena and Riverton). The bridge was constructed on this road in 1923.

It is a slender and elegant bridge, with a pair of concrete arches. It is 130 feet (40 m) long and is the only one of its kind in Kansas (two other bridges were also located on the Route 66 stretch in Kansas Willow Creek and Spring River were demolished in 1992).

The bridge was repaired in 2005 and is no longer open for traffic, but you can still walk across it.

Getting to the Bridge

From Riverton head west. At the end of the town, there is an intersection with U.S. 400 - Alt US 69. Keep on westwards and reach the bridge, 2.5 mi west of Riverton.

After crossing the river, the road curves to the south and heads towards Baxter Springs.

US Highway 66 Towns close to Riverton

Visit the neighboring towns of Galena and Baxter Springs, to see other attractions in this very short (only 13 miles long!) segment of US Highway 66 in Kansas.

Route 66 itinerary through Kansas

Route 66 logo

Route 66 in Kansas

With only 13 miles, this is the shortest segment of US 66 in any state.

Current mileage: 13 mi.

Alignment of US 66 in Kansas, from Missouri to Oklahoma

Route 66 crosses the southeastern corner of Kansas, the shortest segment of the whole Route66: 13 miles.

From Joplin, in Missouri, we described the alignment up to the KS-MO state line following W. Old 66 Blvd., at the State Line (mile zero), it changes its name to Front St.

Galena

Follow it to Main St., Galena (1.3 mi) and take a left. At 7th St, (KS 66) take a right. Stop at the Kansas Route 66 Historic District-East Galena, a Historic Place.

The road runs to the west, crosses Spring River and entering Riverton (5 mi).

Riverton

Visit the Williams' Store, a Historical Place.

At the west of the town, the alignments split at U.S. 400 - Alt US 69: the later one follows U.S. 400 - Alt US 69), but the 1926 road keeps on west. Follow it to the Historic Bridge, over Brush Creek (7.5 mi): the Rainbow Curve Bridge is the last Marsh Arch Bridge of all Route 66, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After the bridge, the road curves south towards Baxter Springs.

Baxter Springs

It enters the town (10 mi) and curves left to meet again with Alt US 69. Take a right. The road passes through the central part of the town. The road leaves town, curving around a Walmart (the 1926 alignment went behind it, along Roberts Rd. on the east and W 30th St. on the south). Keep straight until you reach the Oklahoma state line (13 mi). US 66 keeps on southbound, along Alternate US 69 towards Commerce in Oklahoma.

Fate of old US 66

After I-44 bypassed Kansas, US-66 was decommissioned and in 1985 US-69 Alternate took over part of its alignment, the rest became K-66.

Sources

Riverton School History, Danny Anderson.

History of Cherokee County, Kansas and representative citizens, 1904. Nathaniel Thompson Allison, Ed. Comp.

Williams' Store, Riverton, Kansas. National Park Service

Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.