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Webb City

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Webb City, Missouri

Mining town with Historic Downtown District

Webb City still has its Downtown Historic District with typical red-brick buildings from the 1880s-1930s, it comprises:
The Route 66 Middle West Hotel (a historic site) and the Route 66 Movie Theatre, and Bruner Pharmacy, Aylor House and the Civic Theater.
As well as two classic service stations U.S. Filling Station (1920) and the Route 66 Welcome Center in a 1950s service station.
The town's claim to Americana are the gigantic Praying Hands statue.

Webb City MO

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About Webb City Missouri

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation: 1,001 ft (305 m). Population 10,996 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).

Webb City, is a city in Jasper County in the southwestern corner of Missouri next to Oklahoma and Kansas. (Map of Webb City).

Webb City in a 1913 Postcard Main St. and W. Daugherty

Webb City downtown in a 1913 postcard
Downtown Webb City, Main Street in a 1913 Postcard Webb City, Missouri, by
Click to Enlarge.

Notice that the Unity Building and Merchant and Miners Bank (left) and Bruner Pharmacy (right) are still there, though the streetcar has long since gone:

Webb City, today, the same spot as the one shown in the postcard above.

Downtown Webb City today
Downtown, Main Street, present view Webb City, Missouri, by
(Click for street View).

The history of Webb City

John Cornwall Webb

John Cornwall Webb, www.ancestry.com.

Southwestern Missouri has been inhabited for the last ten thousand years. The native Osage arrived here ca 700 BC from expelled by the Iroquois from their land along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

In 1682, the French explored the area naming it after their King Louis XIV: Louisiana and what would become Missouri was part of the Upper Louisiana district.

France ceded the territory to Spain in 1763 after the Seven Years' War, but Napoleon recovered it in 1800, only to sell it to the U.S. in 1803.

It became a U.S. Territory in 1812 and incorporated to the Union in 1821. In the meantime treaties signed with the Osage (1808, 1818 and 1825) made them give up their land in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma in exchange for a reservation in the latter territory.

Jasper county was created in 1841 and Carthage was named county seat in 1842. In 1855, John Cornwall Webb (1826 - 1883) followed his father and uncle and moved to Jasper Co. from Tennessee, buying 320 acres. He fought in the American Civil War during the early 1860s, when Carthage was evacuated and completely destroyed in two battles.

Webb found a solid lump of lead while plowing his farm in 1873 and joined up with W.A Daugherty to mine his land. However, after battling with water that flooded his digging he sold his share and leased his land to Daugherty and Ashcroft in 1875.

That year he platted the townsite as miners flocked in settling in Joplin, the town incorporated in 1876 and became the home of the wealthy mine owners.

The St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad reached the town in 1879 and in 1893 the Streetcar linked it with the major cities in the area.

Lead and zinc were the basis of the economy that grew greatly between 1875 and 1918, when, after World War I, production declined. The town then industrialized in the 1920s.

The name: Webb City

The town was named after its founder, John Webb. The surname is the occupational name for a weaver (webbe in Middle English).

In 1926 Route 66 was aligned through it. Cars displaced the streetcar and the gravel from the mine shafts (known as "chat") was used for road building.

The streetcar closed down in 1939 and mining ended after World War II. Later Route 66 was bypassed by I-44 which opened in 1958 from Oklahoma City to Joplin and then headed east along US-166.

Where to Lodge in Webb City Missouri

Lodging close to Webb City in neighboring Joplin...

>> Book your hotel in Joplin.

More Lodging near Webb City along Route 66

Motels and Hotels close to Webb City

West, in Missouri

Heading West... Hotels & Motels in Kansas...

Further West... Hotels & Motels on Route 66 in Oklahoma...

Heading East in Missouri, more accommodation

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Book your Hotel along Route 66

>> Check out the RV campground in Joplin

Weather in Webb City

Webb City's climate is wet and subtropical, with humid, rainy summers and cold and dry winters. Most of the rainfall takes place between April and July, the "severe weather" period.

Rainfall averages 46.5 in per year (1.180 mm). And 11.9 in. of snow (30 cm) falls each winter.

The summer (Jul) average high is 90.6°F (32.6°C) and the average low is 69.° (21.1°). During winter (Jan) the average high is 44.9°F (7.2°C). The average low is a cool 25.0°F (-3.9deg;C) -below freezing.

Route 66 and Webb City, MO
Location of Webb City on the Old Route 66

Tornado risk

Webb City is located within the infamous "Tornado Alley" and has its share of tornados (some 6 tornadoes hit Jasper county each year).

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
 

Getting to Webb City

You can reach Webb City along historic Route 66 and Interstate I-44 that links it with Tulsa and Oklahoma City in the west and with Springfield and St. Louis in the east. U.S. Route 71 (overlapping I-49) links it with Fort Smith, Arkansas and Kansas City.

Map of Route 66 in Webb City

in Missouri.

The map below shows the alignment of Route 66 through Webb City and the color key which is for Webb City only is the following:
(for the other parts of the map, check the color key of the map of the corresponding city)

Red: where you must drive along the Interstate I-44 as Route 66 is no longer open to traffic.
Black: The 1926 to 1937 alignment from Joplin to Webb City.
Blue the 1937 to 1945 alignment which later became U.S. 66 Alt.
Pale Blue: The 1945 and later alignments of Route 66 through Webb City

See Route 66's alignment in Missouri Map

  Click to See the Webb City alignment (Western MO: the road from "Phillipsburg to the Kansas state line")

Remove or restore State shading
 

Google Maps. Terms. Icons.

Alignment of Route 66 in Missouri: Historic U.S. 66 through Webb City

Route 66 logo

Route 66 across Missouri

U.S. Route 66 is a State Historic Scenic Byway in Missouri and this includes Jasper County; it is pending Federal designation as a Byway.

Click on the following link for an overview of Route 66 across the state of Missouri.

Below you will find detailed information on Old Route 66 in Webb City

Sights and Attractions in Webb City, Missouri

What to Do, Places to See

Historic Downtown

Webb City and its Route 66 attractions

Webb City has a Downtown Historic District with many historic buildings such as the historic Route 66 Middle West Hotel, the Route 66 Movie Theatre, Unity Building and Merchant and Miners Bank and Bruner Pharmacy. There are two classic service stations U.S. Filling Station (1920) and the Route 66 Welcome Center in a 1950s service station. Don't miss the giant Praying Hands statue or the Streetcar.

Historic context, the classic Route 66 in Webb City

Jack DeVere Rittenhouse drove U.S. 66 in 1946 gathering data for his book "A Guide Book to Highway 66". This information is very useful for for those seeking to know more about Route 66 during its heyday. Rittenhouse wrote the following about Webb City: "Midwest hotel; Empire garage; stores", he added that "This was where the first important lead discovery took place when John Webb, who was a local farmer found a chunk of pure lead". He added that Webb City did not suffer the fate of neighboring Carterville when the mines closed as it had an industrial base. The Midwest Hotel is still standing.

The route 66 landmarks in Webb City

Downtown Webb City Historic District

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Centered on Main and Broadway, it spans two blocks north and south along Main St., and comprises roughly one or two blocks east and west of it, along Daugherty and Web, bound by Austin St. (north), First (south) Liberty (west) and Tom (east).

It has many brick buildings of one to three stories, built between 1883 and 1982 in different styles (from Italian Rnaissance Revival to Art Deco and even Queen Anne style).

Park your car and begin your walking tour at Broadway and Main St.

Middle West Hotel

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

1 S. Main St. (SE corner of S. Main and E. Broadway)

Built in 1883, it was listed in 1982, before the creation of the Historic District. It is a three-story brick building that originally faced E. Broadway but was realigned on S. Main when the streetcar was built. It was mentioned by Rittenhouse as a Route 66 hotel in town.

Originally it was the Grand Opera House.

Middle West Hotel, in Webb City Route 66 runs along its north face.

Midwest Hotel in Webb City on Route 66
Historic Middle West HOTEL on Route 66 and Main Street Webb City, Missouri, by
(Click for street view).

Head south, cross Church St. and half way down the block, on the western side of Main is the Movie Theatre.

Route 66 Movie Theatre

24 S. Main Street

The two story building with Art deco style with a neon sign on its marquee it dates back to 1928.

At first it was part of the Newland Hotel which partly burned in 1925. In 1945 it became a movie theatre as the Dickinson Movie Theatre Later Dixie and Larsen bought it, and it became the Larsen Theatre.

The town grew smaller, audiences vanished and the place closed. It reopened as the Route 66 Music Theatre with live shows in the early 2000s. It reopened in 2005, purchased by the Hutsons. See the Street View of the Movie Theatre and the Newland Hotel.

Next to it is the former Newland Hotel (1890). Head north again, and pass by the Minerva Candy Co. at 12 S. Main St., built in 1913. Cross Broadway and keep north. On the intersection of N. Main and Daugherty are three interesting buildings:

Unity Building and Merchant and Miners Bank

114 N. Main Street

Built ca. 1906 it is a three-story corner building built in light brown brick which housed a bank and a jewelry store. Notice its rounded corner and stone cornices.

It is shown in the images above (on the left).

Across Daugherty on the NW corner of N. Main St., is Bruner Pharmacy in the Wright Building:

Bruner Pharmacy

101 W. Daugherty

A two story brick building from 1899, which was the Jackson Drug Store and now is Bruner Pharmacy. Notice the mural on its eastern face on North Main St., painted by the city's Mayor John Biggs in 2010 it is 16 ft. wide and 8 ft. tall, see the Street View of Mural. The old pharmacy can be seen in the 1913 postcard shown above (behind the streetcar).

Across Main, on the NE corner of E. Daugherty was the 1930s Bradbury-Bishop Deli and Soda Fountain, now closed.

Head west along W. Daugherty and on the SW corner of N. Webb is a mansion:

Aylor House

128 N. Webb

A two story Queen Anne style home build in 1890 by Joseph Aylor, a local businessman. It pitched roof, chimney and towers are great. See this Street View of Aylor House today.

On the same block, but on the north side of the road, is a former theater:

Civic Theater

215 W Daugherty

This theater was built in 1931, a one-story building with a combination of styles (Art Deco, Streamlined Moderne and Spanish Mission). Street View of the Civic Theater.

Keep west and at the corner of Liberty and W. Daugherty is the "U.S. Filling Station":

The U.S. Filling Station

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Corner of Liberty and Daugherty, Webb City

U.S. Filling Station

1920s US Filling Station in Webb City
1920s US Filling Station in Webb City, Missouri, by
(Click for street View).

The building dates to ca. 1920 was the gas station of the U.S. Post Office and served the vans and cars that moved the mail in Webb City. The Post Office was located across the street. It was the only post office in the U.S. to have its own filling station.

It had a garage built in the 1940s to repair and service the postal fleet. Later it sold Sinclair and Tydol gasoline and finally became a hair salon and a used car shop.

The posts that support the canopy were once Doric columns.

Retrace your steps and take a left along N. Webb towards Broadway and on the SE corner is the Route 66 Welcome Center:

1950s Service Station

112 W. Broadway and Webb

This was until recently an abandoned gas and service station that had been built in the 1950s. It has been restored (and its leaking oil tanks and soil pollution remedied) and is now the Webb City Route 66 Welcome Center.

Former 1950s Service Station which is now the Webb City Route 66 Visitor Center

Former 1950s Service Station which is now the Webb City Route 66 Visitor Center
Former 1950s Service Station which is now the Webb City Route 66 Visitor Center Webb City, Missouri, by
(Click for street View).
Giant Praying Hands statue

Praying Hands, click image to enlarge. Google Street View

Pick up your car and drive south along Main to visit the Giant Praying Hands and the Streetcar:

The Praying Hands - a giant sculpture

W. Tracy St. King Jack Park, Webb City.

The statue of two praying hands is the work of local artist J.E. Dawson, who built in between 1972 and 1974.

It is 32 feet high (9.8 m) and weighs 100 tons. It is a stucco covering on a steel frame and is located on top of a 40-foot hill.

The pedestal reads: "Hands in prayer. World in peace".

Trolley - Streetcar

Between Webb City and Carterville, on the north side of Route 66 you will see some concrete abutements with wingwalls belonging to the tramway (streetcar) that formerly linked the whole region, from Carthage in the east, through Carterville, Webb City and Joplin to Galena, KS and Commerce and Miami in OK, in the west.

It was the Southwest Missouri Electric Railway, established in 1893 and was the main means of transport in the area. However, by 1926, when Route 66 was created it had already began using buses instead of streetcars. It ran next to U.S. 66 in many locations. There is a restored original streetcar in Webb City, at the south tip of Main Street, by King Jack Park, at the Chamber of Commerce.

Now head towards Joplin along W. Broadway.

Broadway Garage and service station

902 W. Broadway

Built in 1929 and still standing, with its canopy and empty filling bay on Jefferson and Main, a key point on the old Route 66 into Joplin. See its Street View.

Tours & Itineraries

Old Route 66 in Webb City, Missouri

From Carterville to Webb City

The 1926 alignment and later ones from Carterville into Webb City followed the same roadbed shown in Pale Blue in the Map above:

From Pine and Main St. in downtown Carterville, turn right (westbound) along Main St. After 8 blocks, at the corner of Carter St. turn south (left) for 2 blocks and at W. Lewis St., take a right (west).

The road crosses open countryside, in a low area where a river flows and the railroad crosses Route 66 just before reaching the outskirts of Webb City. Here, to your right you can see the concrete abutements of the old trolley line belonging to its bridge over the railroad (See Street View).

In Webb City

Also in Pale Blue: Head into town along Broadway St., cross Main St. and take a left for one block along Webb Ave. Then a right onto Broadway and again west until S. Jefferson St. here the 1926 to 1937 and the 1945 to 1985 alignments overlap.

The 1937 to 1945 alignment is shown in Blue in the Map above and followed Broadway westwards after Jefferson, and then Powell Dr., then met with MO State Hwy. 171 taking a right along it until reaching what is now MO-43 where it turned south into Joplin. This later became U.S. 66 Alt.

Route 66 and Interstate I-44

Route 66 and Interstate 44 lived along together for many years (like many U.S. Higwhays do today), From Springfield west, to Halltown, they overlapped and at this point US 66 went northwards to Spencer and west to Carthage along its original alignment (now MO-96) while I-44 turned southwest and then west to Oklahoma. They coexisted until the federal government officially decommissioned Route 66 in 1985.

> > See the previous segment Carterville to Webb City (east)

> > See the next segment Webb City to Joplin and KS state line (west)

Sources

Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.

Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.

Image by Vítězslav Válka adapted under its CC BY-SA 3.0 CZ License

Map Icons by Nicolas Mollet under its CC BY SA 3.0 License