The Lope: A Block of Mother Road Christmas

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Block of Mother Road Christmas

I've always been fond of this block and this sign along Main Street in Joplin, MO. Route 66 News gave me an excuse to go out and shoot a picture with Christmas decorations when the owner of that website asked its readers to submit holiday scenes along the mother road. This is the middle of the west side of Main Street between 1st and 2nd Streets, two days after a rather thorough ice and snow storm. This block used to be part of Route 66 back when the now-demolished Broadway Viaduct channeled traffic from Broadway to Main Street. The replacement viaduct channels traffic onto Main at 2nd Street, one block south, thus excluding this block from many Rt66 tours.

One of Ace's main drivers, a Joplin resident, tells me the designs in the windows were painted by Nancy Tebbe, an employee of Watts Paint about ten years ago. Watts Paint is no longer in the building, but the sign remains. I have not seen in lit in some time, but I'm glad it's still there. If you're inclined to document Christmas along the mother road, please consider sending Route 66 News a picture or two.

(Update on sign, August 25, 2007: The Watt's Paint sign has been removed from the building and, as it has been offered on Ebay, is not likely to return. Joplin has lost another bit if its visual character.)

I hadn't realized it 'til I wrote this post, but two years ago I actually drove in a Christmas parade on Route 66 - the Joplin Christmas parade, right down the part of Route 66 that follows Main Street from 7th Street to 1st Street. My brother shot this picture of my helpful crew and I driving Clarence the Christmas Dinosaur, the only time we ever put lights on him.

Oh, an update from yesterday's post: At 11:22 PM Saturday, almost 48 hours after first going outside, Ace Jackalope has partially thawed out and reports the new parka is a success - he's trying to decide how to warm up.

2008 Update:

The central building in the block of Joplin's Main Street (Route 66) between 1st and 2nd streets has changed. It has been painted, the front slightly altered and the old As noted above, the Watt's Paint sign is gone. I saw it on Ebay in 2007 - as a matter of fact the seller hot-linked one of the photos above - but it did not sell.


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