Route 66 News

Galena’s remarkable comeback story

It’s not out of the woods yet, but the long-moribund Route 66 town of Galena, Kan., is looking more prosperous these days.

The Joplin Globe newspaper, based in nearby Joplin, Mo., published a long story about the town’s comeback. The whole thing is worth reading, but I’ll highlight what has happened in Galena in recent years:

  • A downtown streetscape with rustic light posts, planters with automatic waterers, and speakers that broadcast music for shoppers.
  • The opening of the Streetcar Station Coffee Shop in downtown.
  • The opening of the Xtreme Wingz & More restaurant in downtown.
  • The soon-to-open Belleview Brewing on Sixth Street.

One of the big reasons for the town’s resurgence is Galena procured local, state and federal grants to fill the 800 shafts that dotted the town from its lead-mining days. A collapse of one of the shafts in downtown claimed a 100-year-old building a few years ago, and discouraged business owners from starting there.

Also, the City of Galena landed a new hospital, Premier Surgical Institute, which is increasing the number of visitors in town.

Finally, locals were determined to rejuvenate Galena’s downtown when they saw the number of tourists driving on old Route 66 every day.

“We started noticing 50 to 60 vehicles some days, or several tour buses, going through Galena,” Oglesby said. “And we said, ‘We’ve got to get them to stop.’”

It’s not mentioned in the story, but 4 Women on the Route — in a restored gas station that opened in 2006 in downtown — deserves a lot of credit for the Route 66 traffic. It is now called Cars on the Route — a nod to the Disney-Pixar “Cars” movies that were partially inspired by a rusty old boom truck that still sits on the property.

10 thoughts on “Galena’s remarkable comeback story

  1. Carolyn McLean

    Very good for Galena except for the “House of Deceit: Staffleback Murder Mansion”…Where a “Con Artist” is ripping off the “Unsuspecting” public.

    The “Naked Lady Stained Glass Window” is insulting to the townspeople & disgusting. The people of Galena are ashamed and up in arms that their Mothers and Children are seeing it as they pass that house..

    The “Con Artist” is giving our Galena children “Staffleback” History lessons.. and taking Ghost Hunters to “Oak Hill Cemetery” and we do not like that one bit.

    “Historians” vs “Con Artist”

  2. Dan Imming

    I’m amused at the report that “…Galena procured local, state and federal grants to fill the 800 shafts that dotted the town from its lead-mining days.”

    Sounds more like the Mayor’s wishful thinking then fact.

    The undertaking to fill abandoned mine shafts in Galena has been TALKED about for years — but, except for emergency work to fill sinkholes as they appear, it’s just more hot air coming from the Municipal Building.

    If I’m not mistaken, the city of Galena TURNED DOWN a $250,000 federal grant in 2007 to begin the process of just MAPPING the abandoned mineshafts. The reason? There was just too much “red tape” for the city to deal with, Mayor Dale Oglesby said. Further, Oglesby commented, ““By the time they loaded up all the things they wanted, the city didn’t have that kind of money,”

    Pretty much why we’re still treading water today in Galena.

  3. Carolyn McLean

    Dave Alexander and I have got the correct information there was some misunderstanding, on my part, as to what happened in June 2010. Here is the real story.. Thank you Dave…
    *****************************
    Dave from “Kansas Legends” just called me and we had a nice long conversation..
    He met “Russell Keeler” at a Route #66 Festival in June 2010 at the Casino south of town.

    Russell Keeler invited him and his wife Kathy to look at the house, at 206 North Main Street in Galena, and told them that it “was’ the “Staffleback house”.

    Kathy was very excited about getting a picture to go with her Staffleback story.
    Dave and Kathy took pictures of the house an put it on their “Kansas Legends” site.

    Dave said that even though it was a “Legends” site that he wanted it to be true to the real history of the Stafflebacks.. When they found out they gave Russel Keeler a week to respond with documents and when he did not then they, immediately, took the Picture from their site.
    Now they have went one step further and are correcting the Staffleback information to the actual story.. Kathy cannot remember where she got the story to begin with.
    They have corrected the site and removed, also, anything about it being haunted..
    Dave has asked me to look at the site and make sure the information if correct..

    My hat is off to Dave and Kathy Alexander….Should anyone want to contact them to verify this..please call: (913) 708-5119

  4. Melba

    Hi guys
    Tow Tater had never left he was just across the street we got new concrete and we had to let it set he is back in his spot now Red is still across the street but he is going to be restored and after yrs of saying the Sheriff car is coming he is this yr along with Doc…please come and see us soon

  5. Carolyn McLean

    I have turned this into all of the area media and the Denver Post..
    o: Brad & Berry Klinge…Chip Coffey of A.& E. Paranormal State & Psychic Kids…
    Studio Lychee of Austin, TX, Michael Wallis, The City of Galena, Doug Gatewood,
    and Brian Jordon the owner of the house..
    ***********************************
    This has nothing to do with tourism or Route 66..
    It has to do with you all condoning and standing behind Russell Keeler…

    This is about Russell Keeler…Nothing more..Nothing less..

    “We ask that you stop this film” …………

    Brad & Berry Klinge..You have known about this since May 6th. when I e-mailed you..

    All of you have been notified that “Russell Keeler” is making a “Mockery” of our town by his lie’s…
    This house was ‘never’ known to be haunted… It never had a Murder in it.. It was never the
    “Staffleback” house…It is just a plain old house nothing more nothing less..

    Russell Keeler is making a fortune off his lie’s..A percent of the revenue…$450/12hr.night/7 people..
    He is degrading our “Oak Hill Cemetery”…
    He is giving our Galena children “HIS” history lessons..
    The house now has a Stained Glass Window “Naked Woman” for all of our Mother’s and children to see..
    Now he is doing a film that will be full of lie’s about the “Stafflebacks”..
    If the film goes out “World Wide”…… We will be the laughing stock of the world..
    Because from what I have read on “Galenas Murder Bordello” site… It is full of lie’s…

    Russ Keeler, to this day (see “Galenas Murder Bordello”) is trying o convince everyone that it was
    the “Staffleback” house.. He had it all over the Paranormal sites, in the newspapers, on the Radio etc..
    “All the while saying”: I “never” said that was the “Staffleback” house..
    The City of Galena says the same thing but by insinuation they are saying it is by selling cups and T-Shirts..

    Russell Keeler in “under investigation” by the State of Kansas File no Cp-13-oo1729…..

    Dave from “Kansas Legends” just called me (yesterday) and we had a nice long conversation..
    He met “Russell Keeler” at a Route #66 Festival in June 2010 at the Casino south of town.

    Russell Keeler invited him and his wife Kathy to look at the house, at 206 North Main Street in Galena, and told them that it “was’ the “Staffleback house”.

    Kathy was very excited about getting a picture to go with her Staffleback story.
    Dave and Kathy took pictures of the house an put it on their “Kansas Legends” site.

    Dave said that even though it was a “Legends” site that he wanted it to be true to the real history of the Stafflebacks.. When they found out they gave Russel Keeler a week to respond with documents and when he did not then they, immediately, took the Picture from their site.
    Now they have went one step further and are correcting the Staffleback information to the actual story.. Kathy cannot remember where she got the story to begin with.
    They have corrected the site and removed, also, anything about it being haunted..
    Dave has asked me to look at the site and make sure the information if correct..

    My hat is off to Dave and Kathy Alexander….Should anyone want to contact them to verify this..please call: (913) 708-5119

    1. Ron Warnick Post author

      Carolyn, you provided me a letter from the Kansas Attorney General. It says it is not investigating, but turned over the information to the Cherokee County district attorney. Whether the Cherokee County D.A. investigates is entirely up to him. But the Kansas A.G. has washed its hands of it.

      1. Carolyn McLean

        Are you saying that he is “not” being investigated? I have not heard any such thing from the Prosecuting Attorney at Columbus..and I would be the first to hear..

        As I told you…I do not care one way or another.. what they do..
        I want Russel Keeler out of my town with his lie’s and his distortion of our history..
        I do not wish him to go to jail..but if he continues with all of this deceit he might..
        I don’t care if you delete this..

      2. Ron Warnick Post author

        I’m saying there is an option to investigate Keeler. There also is the option to NOT investigate Keeler. It’s up to the D.A. whether to do so.

  6. Carolyn McLean

    That is Ok with me… As I have said I do not wish anyone to go to jail… I don’t know the law… Seems “Fraud” to me but maybe it is not..

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