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.
Although the Route through Kansas is short, there are a number of attractions for Mother Road travelers, including Luigi's Pit Stop in Galena.
|Map of Historic Route 66 through Galena, Riverton and Baxter Springs in Kansas
Click the map for an interactive routing map
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. Today, it is a popular destination for Route 66 road trippers!
The well known mural in Miners Park
... Greetings from Galena, Kansas, on Historic Route 66
Luigi's Pit Stop
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 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".
Gearhead Curios is located at 520 South Main Street (Route 66 and Jefferson Highway) in Galena in a restored Texaco filling station. The building was constructed out of native stone in 1939, and served Route 66 travelers for decades under the ownership of Logan Thompson.
The station closed shortly after 2000, but renovations were begun by Aaron Perry in 2018. Today, it offers Route 66 curios, artwork for the Gearhead and a place to gather to share stories. Plus clean, unique restrooms! The 1951 blue Hudson Hornet "Doc" parked there is a popular photo-op for Route 66 travelers!
Read more about Gearhead Curios
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".
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. 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.
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
More Information & Resources about Galena