Experience a unique crossroads of history, art and culture in Carthage, Missouri, America’s Maple Leaf City. Welcoming travelers from all over the world, Carthage sits at the junction of the Historic U.S.Route 66 and Jefferson Highway. You can wander through Red Oak II and experience a town plucked from an earlier time. Book your night’s stay at the Boots Court Motel where notable clients such as Clark Gable and Mickey Mantle stayed. Built by Arthur Boots in 1939, this iconic hotel has been restored to its original glory. If you plan your trip in the warmer months, make plans to be entertained at the Route 66 Drive-In Theatre with popular Hollywood movies. Enjoy a double feature under the night sky and during intermission, be sure to take a walk around the 1949 structure where you can admire the original neon sign out front along with the ticket booth and concession stand.
History Buff? We have you covered. The Battle of Carthage was the first full-scale land battle of the Civil War, preceding Bull Run by 11 days. The state of Missouri was a battle ground state which had a tug of war between Confederate and Union forces, ending in the town being destroyed by fire in 1864 and reconstructed at a later date. Plan a visit to the Civil War Museum, where admission is free and learn from knowledgeable staff about the Battle of Carthage. After, take a trip to the Battle of Carthage State Historic Site that contains a silent meadow and spring making this a perfect set up for camp for both the Union and Confederate troops during the battle.
Mesmerized by historic buildings and architecture? Architecture is one of Carthage’s most prominent features. The Jasper County Courthouse, the towns ‘Crown Jewel,’ built in 1894-95, features the famous Carthage marble and is said to be the second-most-photographed building in Missouri, sitting center of the Historic Carthage Square. Inside, you will find a wrought-iron cage elevator still operating today; a display representing the history of Route 66; and “Forged in Fire,” a mural by the famous artist Lowell Davis, that portrays the history of Jasper County.
Take a stroll around the square and learn about the history of the buildings and their original owners dating back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s with a self-guided walking tour. Unique merchants, and eateries now fill these historic buildings, making it the perfect experience to shop and dine. One unique merchant – The Pie Safe, give customers the opportunity to dine in a delightful atmosphere while enjoying a selection of a unique variety of teas and pies.
Your experience in Carthage is not complete without the Carthage Historic Homes Driving Tour. Just a few blocks south from the Historic Town Square sits a residential district that grew as bankers, mine owners, lawyers, doctors and merchants flocked to town. Examples of Italianate, Romanesque, Queen Anne, Eastlake architecture are on display.
Fall in October is our favorite month, but more specifically the 3rd Saturday in October, the Maple Leaf Parade welcomes 80,000+ visitors to town. Part of The Maple Leaf Festival, lasting a week long, named after the beautiful fall foliage in Carthage (hence the name, America’s Maple Leaf City), this week long event leading up to the parade features hometown classic events like a band festival, a lip-sync competition, arts & craft vendors, car and tractor shows, a quilt show, chili cook-off, food vendors, and live entertainment.
Carthage is more than a planned visit, it’s an experience. Visit www.experiencecarthagemo.com to learn more.
Photo credits: Holmes Photography