Tracing Route 66 through Missouri represents one of America's favorite exercises in nostalgia, but a discerning glance among the roadside weeds reveals the kind of sordid history that doesn't appear on postcards. Along with vintage cars and picnic baskets, Route 66 was a conduit humming with contraband and crackling with the gunplay of folks like Bonnie and Clyde, Jesse James and the Young brothers. It was also the preferred byway of lynch mobs, murderous hitchhikers and mad scientists. Stop in at places like the Devil's Elbow and the Steffleback Bordello on this trip through the more treacherous twists of the Mother Road.
Lisa Livingston-Martin is a lifelong resident of Missouri, living in Webb City with her children. She has practiced law in Southwest Missouri for more than 20 years, and has longstanding interests in history and the paranormal. She is the author of Civil War Ghosts of Southwest Missouri and Haunted Joplin, also published by The History Press.