7 interesting stops in southeast Kansas
Southeast Kansas is the heart of the former Tri-State Mining District. Here are the most fascinating landmarks.
Brush Creek Bridge in Riverton, Kansas
Eisler Bros. Old Riverton Store
7109 S.E. Highway 66
Back in 1925, Leo Williams built a small store that served his community and the growing number of travelers in the area. He wanted to offer a place for people to buy food locally and provide sandwiches on-the-go. The Eisler family purchased the store in 1973 and has continued the grocery-and-deli tradition. People stop in from all over the world to get a sandwich, buy a souvenir and swap stories with the old-timers out front. It’s like a trip back in time.
Route 66 Shield Sculpture and Brush Creek Bridge
Southeast Beasley Road
In spring 2018, local high school students built a 20-foot-tall structure just east of Riverton in the classic spirit of Route 66 quirky roadside attractions. The sculpture is not far from the Brush Creek Bridge, the only Marsh Arch-style bridge left on Route 66. The concrete span is on an old alignment of the Mother Road and makes for a great photo op.
Baxter Springs, Kansas
Decade of Wheels Museum
1143 Military Ave.
This attraction opened in October and is suited for Route 66 travelers or lovers of the automobile. The museum is the showcase of over 200 vehicles from a private collection, including a 1971 Husqvarna formerly owned by Hollywood star Steve McQueen.
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Baxter Springs Heritage Museum
740 East Ave.
This museum is a showcase for local history from the days of the early frontier to the era of lead and zinc mining that made the region famous through 1945. The museum itself is well-regarded by tourists and historians alike for its comprehensive collections and knowledgeable staff. Closed on Mondays.
Sweet Creek Diner and Bakery
300 W. Seventh St.
This breakfast and lunch spot is the latest eatery established by Alan and Cheri McCamey, whose previous business in Baxter Springs (Angels on the Route) had become a popular stop on the Mother Road. Sweet Creek serves breakfast all day as well as traditional diner fare.
Cars on the Route
119 N. Main St.
If you like the movie “Cars,” you’ll love this stop on the north end of downtown Galena. The restored Kan-O-Tex service station hosts several classic vehicles that will look familiar. This is the home of the real-life truck that inspired “Tow Mater,” the tow truck in the Disney-Pixar film. It’s a great photo opportunity even when the gift shop is closed.
Galena Mining and Historical Museum
319 W. Seventh St.
A repurposed railroad depot is now the home of the Galena Mining and Historical Museum. It has several displays showing various minerals mined from the Tri-State District, as well as the equipment used for excavation and a model of the Grand Central Mine. The hours here can be irregular during the winter, so call ahead if you’d like to stop by.