Joplin, MO

June 05, 2020

The Joplin police are notoriously bad. They are all over town all of the time, and they will pull folks over for any minor infraction (real or manufactured), including things like loud pipes. Be careful!

The damage from the 2011 tornado was breathtaking. Immediately after it happened, there were parts of Joplin in which everything was leveled for as far as the eye could see in every direction. In some neighborhoods, the locations of the streets could not be identified. 

In March 1932, the Bonnie and Clyde Gang was hiding out in an apartment over a garage at 3347 ½ Oak Ridge Drive (at 34th Street), less than a mile off Route 66, in Joplin.

Local residents informed the police about suspicious activity at the address. On April 13, a five-man squad armed with hand-guns went to the apartment expecting to confront some bootleggers.

A gunfight ensued. Clyde and Buck Barrow were armed with Browning Automatic Rifles, and two of the policemen were killed.

The gang escaped, but they left all their possessions, including a poem Bonnie had written called “Suicide Sal” and a camera with several rolls of film. This film turned out to have the now famous photos of Bonnie and Clyde brandishing weapons and the photo of Bonnie posing in front of a car smoking a cigar and holding a pistol.

This house now is available for nightly rent, and if you want to try something historic and off beat you should check it out.

Wilder's is a former speak easy, now a steak house, that survived the tornado. The original owner had a painting of he and his wife hanging in the restaurant. When he found that she was cheating on him, he had the painting redone to cut her out. The painting still hangs in the bar. The current owners found a bunch of postcards in perfect condition showing Wilder's in the 1930s. Ask to see one, and if you are lucky, you may get to keep it.

Frank's Lounge was not so lucky. This smokey Old School bar was completely destroyed by the tornado, but it has been rebuilt, complete with a new neon sign just like the original featuring a green martini glass. It has more of a sports bar atmosphere than the original, but Frank's still is a great place.

Turtle Head's is a good bar with live bands most nights on a patio out back. Thursday is Bike Night.

The Undercliff Grill and Bar is built into the side of a mountain. It's a nice ride out there and the food is good, especially the home made chili.

Route 66 going West out of Joplin follows 7th St. Check out Guitars, which is biker friendly bar that features murals of ZZ Top and other Rockers outside, along with a motorcycle graveyard out front.


Westbound
from Joplin:
Galena

From Hwy 43/Main in Joplin, go right on 7th St/Hwy66 and follow it out of Joplin - After the "Old 66 Next Right" sign, go right onto Old 66 Blvd - Cross the RR tracks and go left onto Main St Galena


Eastbound
from Joplin:
Webb City

From Downtown Joplin, go right off of Main St onto 2nd St - Follow signs that say "Missouri 66 Byway" - Jog left from 2nd St onto Broadway - Go about half a mile then go left at the first light onto St Louis St - Go about half a mile and go right onto Euclid - Go about half a mile and go right on Utica - Go left on Florida - Go right on Zora - Go left on N Range Line Rd, which will become Madison - Follow Madison past the Hwy 71 sign, and past continue on Madison and take a right on Broadway, which which has a small street sign and is a block before a Stop light - Follow Broadway all the way until it ends on Webb St and go left left on Webb St - Go about half a block then go right back onto Broadway

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