Carthage, Missouri, is a unique crossroads of architecture, history, art and inspiration. Established in 1842, then burned to the ground during the American Civil War, the town was reconstructed during the Victorian era. Stemming from the tri-state mining boom of the late 1800s and early years of the 20th century, a diverse and robust economic profile was created for Carthage. Its families, businesses and industries as well as its social organizations, left the town with a legacy of architectural marvels that are now featured in four districts (comprising more than 600 buildings) listed on the National Registry of Historic Places including one of the largest residential districts in Missouri. These structures housed people and enterprises whose impressive tales continue to intrigue travelers today. Civil War guerrillas, Wild West outlaws, powerful capitalists, Ragtime music makers and women's rights pioneers have left their marks on Carthage history.
One of the first concrete-paved portions of Missouri's highway system was the stretch of road west of Carthage to Joplin laid in 1920. In 1926, the route became part of the national highway that we now call Route 66. Along the Mother Road today in Carthage, you will find Kellogg Lake, Red Oak II, White Rose Winery, antique shopping, the Historic Carthage Square, Carthage Civil War Museum, Jasper County Courthouse, Jasper County Records Center, the Boots Motel, Memorial Hall, Powers Museum, Carthage Municipal Park, Kiddieland, Powers Museum, Stones Throw Theatre and the 66 Drive-In Theatre.
Carthage offers a variety of leisure or group opportunities and is proud to have the world’s only Precious Moments Chapel and Gardens. The Precious Moments Chapel offers free Chapel tours daily. Serving as one of Missouri’s most beautiful and inspirational attractions, the Chapel grounds include the Visitor’s Center, Gift Shoppe, Royal Delights Café and attractively manicured gardens ornamented with bronze statues and fountains.
A variety of unique dining opportunities await the group traveler: a la carte opportunities on the square, an authentic rodeo show at the Lucky J Steakhouse and Arena, delightful entertainment at the Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre, and fine dining or classic home cooking at a historic home.
The Historic Carthage Square boasts the second most photographed building in Missouri; the Jasper County Courthouse is the crown jewel centered in the hometown square. Built in 1894-5, this Romanesque Revival building is constructed of Carthage stone and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its turrets, towers and arches evoke the feel of a medieval castle looming over the city below. Inside, a wrought-iron cage elevator still operates and an array of military artifacts and mining specimens are displayed along with the "Forged in Fire" mural by Lowell Davis that portrays the history of Jasper County.
Complete your trip to Carthage with a guided tour covering your choice of themes. The Carthage Convention and Visitor’s Bureau offers a Civil War tour, a historic homes tour and a Route 66 tour. Groups and leisure visitors are welcomed daily to share in the legacy and inspiration of Carthage, Missouri.