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Missouri FlagMISSOURI LEGENDS

Ghost Stretch Beyond Springfield

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After heading west from Springfield, Missouri on old Route 66, you’ll drive through a scenic stretch of the Mother Road on your way to Carthage that provides numerous peeks at the past along this almost abandoned piece of payment. Though still populated by large farms and ranches, the old towns along this slice of the highway have long passed their prime when I-44 barreled through. Though some of the settlements along this section still have a few people living in them, almost every one of the dozen or so towns that once thrived here, have long since become ghost towns or don't

exist at any more. 

 

Old Route 66 meanders westward out of Springfield on Missouri Highway 266 through rolling hills that are situated along the western edge of the Ozark Plateau. Within a few short miles, you'll come to what must be one of the oldest cemeteries on Route 66 - the Yeakley Cemetery, established in 1852.

 

Yeakley Chapel, Missouri

The Yeakley Chapel has been standing since 1887

 and continues to serve congregations today.

 Kathy Weiser, September, 2007.

 

 

 

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Named for a prominent farmer and rancher named Thomas Yeakley, this well-tended cemetery also boasts the Yeakley Chapel, built in 1887, that continues to provide services today.

 

The Ghost Town of Plano

 

A few more miles will bring you to what was once the small community of Plano, Missouri. Today, there are but two buildings left that clearly pre-date Route 66. As you roll westward, you will probably first notice and crumbling stone building on on the northwest corner of an intersection. It looks as if it might have survived a number of Missouri's many Civil War battles when this old route was known as the "Wire Road,” a strategic path that extended from St. Louis to Fort Smith, Arkansas. The tree-invested limestone building has even been alleged to have served as a casket factory and mortuary. Apparently all that is not true though, and the fact is, according to the Springfield News Leader, it was built in 1902 by the Jackson family, with the occasional help of neighbors, with two rooms becoming a general store where families would sell produce, eggs and baked goods. 

 

Casket Factory in Plano, Missouri

Along this lonely stretch of highway sits this long abandoned building about

 ten miles west of Springfield, Missouri. Kathy Weiser, September, 2007.

This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!

 

The Leader reports that upstairs had a living quarters with another large room for meetings and even church services. The Jackson's also had another building, no longer standing, just across the street that served as a mortuary and undertakers parlor where caskets could be purchased, which apparently is where the confusion has come for the stone buildings past. (updated December 2013)

 

Just across Route 66 to the south side of the old highway is a former Tydol Station and Garage, that now serves as a private residence.  

 

The old road continues to roll over gently sloping hills before arriving at Halltown.

 

Halltown - Where Yesterday Meets Today

 

Halltown, which was founded in the 1870's when George Hall opened one of the first stores in the area. In 1879 the post office was established and named after Mr. Hall. During Route 66’ heydays, the town supported almost 20 businesses including three grocery stores, a drugstore, a blacksmith shop, service station, garage, and a variety store. In fact, business was so good during those days that Halltown was known as the "Antique Capital of the World."

 

Today, Halltown exudes small town charm in its few surviving businesses. But, mostly, it’s boarded up stores sit quiet in this small town populated with  farmers and Springfield commuters. One store that remains open is Whitehall Mercantile, providing a treasure trove of antiques and collectibles displayed from floor to ceiling in this long standing building. First built in 1900 as a grocery and general store, the false front mercantile, complete with stone foundation and wooden porch, provides a rich view of the past in both its building and its merchandise.

 

Other historic buildings include the 1930 Las Vegas Hotel and Barber Shop, the old Hamilton Brown Shoe Company, and several other old buildings.

 

While covering the next three scenic miles to Paris Spring Junction look for the 1923 Billies Creek Bridge, as well as the remains of an old station on the side of the road.

 

Continued Next Page

 

Whitehall Mercantile in Halltown, Missouri

Whitehall Mercantile in Halltown, Missouri. Kathy Weiser, September, 2007. This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!

 

Halltown Garage

This building was once a livery, today it looks as if its used for storage, Kathy Weiser, September, 2007. This image available for photographic prints and downloads HERE!

 

Whitehall Mercantile 2005

Whitehall Mercantile in Halltown, Missouri before renovation. Kathy Weiser, 2005. This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!

 

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