Route 66 News

Schifferdecker Park in 1959

Ace Jackalope, one of our favorite bloggers, posted this neat little find on YouTube — footage of Schifferdecker Park’s amusement park in 1959.

Schifferdecker Park is on the west side of Joplin, Mo., and has always been next to Route 66.

Ace explains the video:

Tinker Town was a children’s amusement park in the SE corner of Schifferdecker Park, Joplin, Missouri. As such, Tinker Town bordered Route 66, which was still official at the time.

According to information furnished by the Joplin Museum Complex, Tinker Town was established in the late 1940s by Harrison and Alice Anderson. The attraction featured kiddie-sized versions of a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, airplane ride, boat ride and a small car ride. The museum’s information mentions that a miniature train run by Ed Gilbert “ran through the park.” Given that the train in this film only runs on a short oval, I do not know if it is the train to which the information refers. It is clearly lettered “Tinker Town.”

The 8 mm film was shot by Ace’s father in 1959. It was eventually transferred to VHS videotape, then recently was digitized.


2 thoughts on “Schifferdecker Park in 1959

  1. Jim Price

    TheTinker Town train, which I rode often as a kid (61 now) did in fact run on a longer track than just this short oval, and was “engineered” by a man with one arm. Was this perhaps the Ed Gilbert mentioned in the writeup above? He always wore a train engineer hat, and I remember that the sleeve of his missing arm was safety-pinned to the shoulder of his train engineer overalls.

    1. Mike Gideon

      The train was operated by Ed Gilbreth, who had lost his left arm. He was my wife’s grandfather. He was killed in a traffic accident in ’63 or ’64. Having lost his arm trying to jump a train as a teenager he had a love for them, he also had a large model train set taking up most of his basement. He was employed by the Joplin Globe.

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