Road Trip on Route 66 to Galena

Kansas Route 66 sign

As Route 66 left Joplin, Missouri, it was only a short distance westbound to the Kansas border. The route through Kansas was the shortest of all the states, only about 13 miles.

It traveled through Galena, Riverton and Baxter Springs. From there it entered Commerce, Oklahoma, and headed southwest through Miami, Alton, Chelsea and Claremore and Tulsa.

Although the Route through Kansas is short, there are a number of attractions for Mother Road travelers, such as the following in Galena:

  • Cars on the Route in Galena - Restored Kan-O-Tex service station
  • Mining and Historical Museum in Galena
  • "Welcome to Galena" mural
  • Luigi's Pit Stop
  • The Buick of the Radiator Springs Sheriff
  • Gearhead Curios
  • East Galena Route 66 Historic District
Map of Historic Route 66 through Galena, Riverton and Baxter Springs in Kansas
Click the map for an interactive routing map
Map of Historic Route 66 through Kansas
Entering Kansas, on Historic Route 66
Entering Kansas, on Historic Route 66
Kansas Miracle Fold Road Map from MobilGas

Galena, Kansas

Welcome to Galena Kansas sign ... The Oldest Mining Town in Southeast Kansas

Galena, Kansas was settled in 1877 and is the oldest mining town in Southeast Kansas. It was the first major city on Route 66 that travelers passed through westbound from Joplin to Tulsa.

The “Mother Road” continues to bring visitors to the community today. Travelers have a variety of shops and restaurants to choose from and a number of attractions to enjoy from the International Harvester boom truck that was the inspiration for the character “Mater” in Disney’s Cars to Schermerhorn Park and the Southeast Kansas Nature Center.

Today, it is a popular destination for Route 66 road trippers!

More about Galena at the Travel Kansas Website

The well known mural in Miners Park ... Greetings from Galena, Kansas, on Historic Route 66
Located at the corner of Main Street and West 7th Street (Route 66)
"Route 66. Just the name is magic. Route 66. It will always mean going somewhere" ... Michael WallisThe "Greetings from Galena, Kansas" mural, on Historic Route 66 with a quote from Michael Wallis

Route 66 Roadside Attraction in Galena
"In 2001, members of the community joined with the Chamber of Commerce to donate a block of the downtown Route 66 main street to construct a park for everyone to enjoy."
Route 66 Roadside Attraction in Galena, Kansas: Chamber of Commerce Park and Route 66 mural in downtown Galena, Kansas

Cars on the Route

Cars on the Route is located in a restored circa 1934 Kan-O-Tex service station at 119 North Main Street in Galena.

It features the rusted 1951 International Harvester tow truck "Tow Tater" and other restored vehicles on display. The tow truck was the inspiration for the character "Tow Mater" in the Pixar classic movie "Cars".

Cars on the Route: Galena Kansas on Historic US Route 66

Kan-O-Tex gas pumps at Cars on the Route in Galena Kansas on Historic US Route 66 Tow Tater at Cars on the Route: Galena Kansas on Historic US Route 66

Luigi's Pit Stop

The cute yellow car at Luigi's Pit Stop in Galena, Kansas

Luigi's Pit Stop is located at 205 East Front Street in Galena. It is home to a number of the "Cars" movie replicas – from the tractor tippin’ to the sheriff looking over everything (see photo of the sheriff's car below). Nearby is the well-known "ghost bike memorial" and the 19-foot tall miner named Frecs who overlooks the Galena Route 66 viaduct.

The building and great photo-ops are provided to visitors courtesy of the Kansas Historic Route 66 Association.

Shown above is the yellow Fiat that resembles the Luigi character from “Cars” parked in a garage at the site!

In November of 2021, the Association unveiled a replica of Montgomery “Lightning” McQueen from the Pixar animated movie “Cars”. Lightning is painted a bright red, and features racing tires and similar decals as the movie character. It has the signature blue eyes in the windshield and gleaming smile on the bumper. The new addition marks the eighth character from the movie “Cars” in the city of Galena

The Route 66 mural at Luigi's Pit Stop in Galena, Kansas

Outside view of Luigi's Pit Stop in Galena, Kansas Montgomery “Lightning” McQueen at Luigi's Pit Stop  in Galena, Kansas
Inside view of tables and the mural at Luigi's Pit Stop in Galena, Kansas Route 66 map at Luigi's Pit Stop in Galena, Kansas

The Sheriff in Galena!

Here's the Buick of the Radiator Springs Sheriff !

If one looks closely on the upper driver-side front door, they will see the signature of Michael Wallis. He is a well-known Route 66 author, historian, and the "voice of the sheriff" in the animated Disney-Pixar "Cars" movie. It is located at 205 E. Front Street near Luigi's.

A plaque at the base of the display reads "this sheriff's car is dedicated to Michael Wallis for his hard work and dedication to all the small towns on Route 66".

Radiator Springs Sheriff's Buick in Galena, Kansas


Galena Mining & Historical Museum

Located at 319 W 7th in Galena is the old M-K-T Katy Railroad Depot housing the Galena Mining & Historical Museum. Phone 620.783.2192 for current opening days and hours.

At first glance, the Museum is small, occupying the railroad depot that was moved from another location on Route 66 in Galena.

But there is a much larger museum building behind the depot. Features unique to the Galena Museum are a large display of mineral specimens, mining equipment and a model of the Grand Central Mine which was located just east of Galena in Central City, Missouri.

Also featured is a collection of oil paintings titled "Abandoned Mine Scenes" by local artist Carol Bliss-Riley.

The sign at the Galena Mining & Historical Museum in the old MKT Railroad Station in Galena, Kansas

Galena Mining & Historical Museum in the old MKT Railroad Station in Galena, Kansas Galena Mining & Historical Museum in the old MKT Railroad Station in Galena, Kansas

Gearhead Curios

Located at 520 South Main Street in Galena, Kansas in a circa-1939 Texaco service station. It offers Route 66 curios, artwork for the Gearhead and a place to gather to share stories. The 1951 blue Hudson Hornet parked there is a popular photo-op for Route 66 travelers!

Gearhead Curios on Facebook

Gearhead Curios in Galena, Kansas

Route 66 East Galena Historic District

The Kansas Route 66 Historic District, East of Galena, includes a 1.2-mile stretch of US Highway 66 (Route 66). The district begins at the Missouri state line and continues west to a point approximately 300 feet northeast of the intersection with Front Street at the north end of the Galena business district.

In addition to the historic roadbed, the district includes several functional concrete structures and culverts.

The historic district also includes the Route 66 viaduct (seen in the NPS photo below). This graceful structure measures 215.9 feet in length, and curves gently as it carries the two-lane road across the tracks of the Missouri Kansas and Texas Railroad.

Read more at the website of the Kansas Route 66 East Galena Historic District at the National Park Service

Route 66 East Galena Historic District in Kansas

Interactive Map of Galena, Kansas


More Information & Resources about Galena

City of Galena

 

Kansas Route 66 East Galena Historic District: NPS

 

Travel Kansas: Galena

 

Weather Conditions at Galena: Weather Underground

 

Kansas Historic Route 66 Association

 

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Route 66 Road Trip from Kansas to Tulsa, Oklahoma
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