Dozens of residents gathered Thursday to dedicate the new Cardinal Route 66 Memorial Park on the east edge of Webb City, Missouri.
The park sits on a formerly grubby triangle of land near Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Co., which was a major driver of the project, including a $25,000 donation from the company’s president. The park not only beautifies the tract, but it pays tribute to the area’s local history and Cardinal Scale’s founders, William and Marion Perry.
The Joplin Globe reported:
Driving down Route 66 from Carterville, visitors will see a replica of the sign on Main Street proclaiming Webb City as “The Zinc City.” At one point, Southwest Missouri was one of the largest providers of zinc in the world.
On the other side of the sign sits a pavilion with tables and three flagpoles. Surrounding the pavilion was pieces of mining equipment, donated by the Joplin Museum Complex, along with explanations of what each piece did during the mining era.
The newspaper also reported William Perry at one point turned down a salary offer from Philadelphia that would have earned him three times as much money. He wanted to stay in Webb City, his son said.
Missouri State University has a 35-minute audio interview with William Perry in 2005. The interview was conducted the Route 66 Association of Missouri president Tommy Pike. Perry died not long after this interview, but his memory obviously still was good.
The Globe also reported the triangle once was the site of a gas station, long ago.
Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Co. was founded in 1950, according to the company’s website.
In the development of the nation’s highways, bridges and other structures, builder demand was at an all-time high for appropriate, new weighing systems. All concrete, stone and asphalt were batched and sold by weight; manufacture of the right weighing equipment called for someone with the right experience, resources and ability to respond. That individual was William H. Perry.
At the time, Perry was employed by the Webb Corporation, a Webb City manufacturer and distributor of heavy-duty industrial scales and mining machinery. He was authorized to start his own company for the production of the new, lighter capacity scales, which would then be marketed through Webb.
The new scale line proved to be so successful that Perry had to resign from Webb in 1956 and devote his full attention to his new and rapidly growing company. And so, Cardinal Scale was born.
(Images of Cardinal Route 66 Memorial Park by Cardinal Scale via Facebook)