As I reached the outskirts of Carthage, I was thinking that the day was nearly done, and all that was left to do was to find a motel. If I was lucky, I would find a place to take a nice picture of the sunset. Remarkably, I found a great spot, just moments before sunset, when I pulled up to Kellogg Lake, northeast of downtown.
Kellogg Lake is a popular fishing spot for locals. It’s also not a bad place to picnic on your Route 66 trip…
… or watch the sunset. I snapped a few pictures before the sun disappeared, then drove on into town.
At the center of Carthage is the beautiful Jasper County Courthouse, built in 1895 using stone from local quarries. From what I’ve read, the courthouse was famous in its early days as the site of public hangings — people would come for miles around, and enjoy a picnic as criminals were put to death.
-Carthage was home to the first major land battle of the Civil War in 1861
-Carthage was once home to more millionaires than any other U.S. city
-A native of Carthage is called a Carthaginian
After visiting downtown, I had to call it a day. There are several motels along US Hwy. 71, just west of downtown, and south, towards I-44.
Day 3 Begins…
I had considered driving back into Carthage’s downtown before heading west on Day 3. It looked like there are plenty of local businesses still in operation in the square surrounding the Jasper County Courthouse. But, I hit the road too early in the day. Knowing that everything would still be closed so early in the morning, I found my way back to Route 66, and continued west.
On the outskirts of Carthage is the beautiful old 66 Drive-In, complete with a neon sign out front, and an absolutely HUGE billboard sign behind the big screen.
If your route 66 drive includes an overnight stop in Carthage or anywhere else nearby, you’d be crazy not to catch a flick at the 66 Drive-In. It is closed during the winter months, and in 2008, re-opened for the season on April 4th.
Just about everything at the 66 Drive-In Theatre is original: the 66 foot high screen, the ticket booth made of glass block, the neon sign out by the roadway.
Note: This trip was first published in 2008.