Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee

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I love when an activity in one area of my life results in unexpected benefits and explorations in another area.

In preparation for a Blue Zones 4 Week Challenge, that I’ll document on my Journey With Healthy Me blog, I am mapping my neighborhood. The idea behind that suggested activity is to establish places to eat, shop and enjoy nature within my own neighborhood…meaning within walking distance. With the Challenge beginning Monday, I’m using the weekend to check off some of the activities for Week One.

I love the mapping the neighborhood activity. Although I frequently walk in my neighborhood, I’m seeing it with different eyes as I look for specific places that I can visit. There’s a little fresh market nearby. And numerous fast food restaurants line Main Street, however they are not what I’m looking for. The Blue Zones Challenge encourages a plant based diet. That’s definitely not a problem for me as I already eat that way.

Rather, I spent time looking for a cute coffee shop within a mile of my home where I could grab a cup of hot herbal tea. I found it! And although it’s only three blocks away, I’ve never visited it before.

As I map out my neighborhood, I’ll share at least one other post about my “backyard explorations”. This is Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee.

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee title meme

Zinc Coffee

In November 2018 entrepreneurs Austin Daniel and Matt Johnson opened Zinc Coffee at 1825 S. Main Street in Joplin. Their intention, to offer superb coffees in a unique setting, led them to purchase commercial property…a former gas station…six months earlier.

Zinc Coffee offers a variety of coffees including classic brews, lattes, espressos, cappuccinos and Americanos. Plus a variety of teas are on the menu as well, along with smoothies, hot chocolate, Boylan soda, mineral water and locally made pastries and treats.

The name comes from the historical fact that Joplin began as a mining town. And while the discovery of lead established the town, zinc grew it. By 1900, Joplin was the lead and zinc capital of the world. Additionally, the mineral zinc possesses healing properties.

Zinc Coffee bears a name that acknowledges Joplin’s mining history and the owners strive to bring healing to their customers.

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee outdoor seating
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee outdoor seating
Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee former gas station
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – the building was formerly a gas station

Visiting Zinc Coffee

On a chilly but beautiful spring morning, Greg and I walked the short three blocks to Zinc Coffee.

I appreciate that the owners didn’t change the former gas station exterior too much. I love the industrial look. There’s an outdoor seating area, for when the weather warms up a bit.

Inside, the interior is clean, bright and spacious, with two rooms offering an assortment of tables, cozy groupings of sofas and chairs and a high bar with views out the window. The original overhead doors from the gas station remain, letting in lots of natural light. There’s a barber shop on site, with a barber available during the week. And a meeting room adjacent to the seating areas for special occasions.

Greg and I ordered hot teas…green jasmine for me and plum cinnamon for Greg…and small treats. I enjoyed a blueberry scone while Greg sampled a cookie. We found a couple of comfy chairs in a corner, with a small round table between them for our cups of hot tea.

The staff is extremely helpful, polite and attentive. The young man who took our order brought out our teas after they steeped for a few minutes.

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee treats
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – order counter
Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee interior
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – inviting interior

Happy to Find Zinc Coffee

We enjoyed a leisurely time sipping hot tea and looking around. Exposed beams in the ceiling, white painted brick walls, natural woods and concrete floors create an inviting space. Lots of green plants soften the industrial look. And the many windows are perfect for bringing in light and allowing views of South Main Street.

People sat with their laptops or clustered in groups of two or three for conversation. The environment is friendly, uplifting and soothing. I love it.

I’m so grateful for the activity in the Blue Zones Challenge that led me to Zinc Coffee. It’s exactly what I hoped to find in my neighborhood.

Although I’m a bit embarrassed that this lovely place existed for almost four years before I visited, I intend to remedy that. This is my new “go to” spot for a relaxing cup of hot tea or to meet a friend for conversation.

And I love that I can walk to Zinc Coffee. It’s good exercise and walking reduces my carbon footprint. I’m excited to see what else I discover, exploring my neighborhood!

Have you made such a discovery in your own neighborhood?

Exploring My Neighborhood Zinc Coffee green jasmine tea
Exploring My Neighborhood: Zinc Coffee – green jasmine tea

The Blue Zones 4 Week Challenge Book

Interested in the challenge? Pick up your book by clicking on the photo below. And watch for weekly challenge updates on Journey With Healthy Me.



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CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO

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I’ve experienced a couple of different escape rooms, where you must find clues and solve puzzles in a set amount of time to unlock the door. However, this weekend I participated in my first CluedUpp Games Event, a fun outdoor immersive adventure that took place in my city’s beautiful downtown area.

Read on to learn more about CluedUpp and my team’s experiences in the CSI Crime Scene Detective game in Joplin, MO.

CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO title meme

CluedUpp Games

Before I share the adventure, here’s a little bit about CluedUpp Games.

CluedUpp Games began in 2016, with a desire to move beyond traditional board games to interactive outdoor experiences. They started with downloadable paper-packs for towns across the UK. The next year they expanded into the mobile realm, creating virtual reality gaming events. They launched their game app in January of 2017, hosting 30 teams at the first event.

In 2018 CluedUpp went global with events in the US and Canada. And the following year the company included Europe, Asia and the Middle East in the fun. CluedUpp is now the world’s biggest geogaming company, hosting immersive events around the globe. They continue working tirelessly to bring players brand new mysteries and incredible outdoor experiences.

The company’s mission is bringing family members and friends together to enjoy the outdoors in shared adventures.

CluedUpp offers fun events in more than 1,200 locations in 55 countries worldwide. To date, over a million players have taken on the challenge and immersed themselves in a multi-award-winning CluedUpp event.

CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO app
CSI Crime Scene Detective App

How it Works

On the day of the event, which typically runs from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm, teams compete to solve a mystery or crime. Using the app on a SmartPhone, teams explore their city’s streets looking for virtual clues, interviewing witnesses and solving challenges. All of these are done via the phone app, using the GPS system and an online map for guidance.

Piecing together the information and gathering important evidence, teams try to solve the mystery, with prizes awarded to the fastest team.

If you start the game early enough in the day, you can pause at any time, stop for lunch, grab a drink, or just take a break and then unpause the game to continue playing. Stay mindful however that the game ends at 5:00 pm whether you complete by then or not.

Up to six people, age 16 and up, can play together on a team. If you have more than six people simply create a second team and you can still work together. CluedUpp allows children to accompany adults, for free, and the family dog is even allowed to tag along.

The game typically takes 2 – 3 hours to complete. And on average players walk 2 – 4 miles while solving the mystery. You don’t need to reserve a start time. Just show up at the starting point. as stated in the welcome email, and start the app.

CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO group
Our CSI Crime Scene Detective team – Pinkerton Detective Agency. Finley was not into sitting still! Greg took the photo.

Pinkerton Detective Agency

My daughter Elissa purchased the tickets for this event and invited the rest of us to join her. Our team, the Pinkerton Detective Agency, included Elissa, grandson Dayan, daughter Adriel, her husband Nate, Greg and me. Finley was our littlest detective and she did wonderfully well during this experience.

Due to work, Elissa turned the leadership of the group over to me. Together we came up with a name…a nod to the famous Scottish detective agency…and set up a time for all of us to meet in downtown Joplin on Saturday. Spiva Park was designated as the starting point to begin the game.

Finley participated in her first Easter Egg Hunt Saturday morning and Elissa had a 1:00 pm appointment. So we chose 2:00 pm to begin, the latest possible starting time. We were all a bit nervous, being new to the event and knowing we only had three hours to solve the crime.

And a crime it was! Our mission: discover the mastermind behind a string a murders plus uncover the motive. Each of us downloaded the app the day before the event and listened to the briefing to get an overview of the case. Gathering in the park at 1:45, we started the apps on our phones and began.

CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO downtown
It was a gorgeous spring day in downtown Joplin for the CSI Crime Scene Detective virtual game.

Tips for Playing the Game

We had such a fun afternoon together, playing this immersive, interactive game. The weather was absolutely perfect…not too hot, not too cold, plenty of sunshine and a cooling breeze. Finley rode in her stroller part of the time and walked with us the rest. And walk we did, all over a six block long by four block wide area. I logged 3.5 miles on my phone’s health app. We all wore comfortable clothes and shoes, smoothed on sunscreen, and brought caps or sunglasses to protect against glare and sunburn.

Here are some other things we learned, during our first time playing.

Helpful Tips

  • carry water and snacks and remember that you can pause the game, if desired, to take a break. Because we started the game so late, we did not take a break however we did carry water and enjoy healthy snacks as we walked.
  • make sure phones are fully charged. Mine was at 100% when we started but by the end, my phone dropped to 10%. Fortunately, you can allow another team member to assume leadership. That’s important because only the team leader inputs answers to riddles and puzzles although all team members contribute, read the interviews and investigation reports and vote on suspects, whether they are guilty or innocent.
  • the game is reading intensive. Assign someone to read all the info and someone else to take good notes. Daughter Adriel thought to bring a notebook and pen and served as our recorder.
  • allow everyone in the group to have input and toss around ideas. The more discussion the better!
  • stay mindful of other teams playing at the same time and in the same area. Speak quietly in your group so as not to give away information to others working on their own solutions.
  • in the case, there were three different crime scenes. We decided, after the fact, that visiting those places first cuts down on the amount of walking.
  • have fun. It’s a timed event. You can subtract time from your score by walking through specific locations and add time to your score as a penalty by asking for hints or incorrectly answering a riddle. However, enjoy the experience. We weren’t going for fastest team. We wanted to solve the crime.
  • take photos and submit them on the CluedUpp Facebook page assigned to your city. The game awards prizes for best costumes, if you want to dress up, best team name, best group photo, best little detective and best dog detective.
CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO church
CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO – we appreciated beautiful buildings in the downtown area

And the Result…

Keeping an eye on the time and knowing we needed to submit a guilty suspect and a motive for the crime by 5:00, we moved steadily through all the points of interest marked on the map, gathering info.

We found a shady place to sit, 2.5 hours after beginning play, to discuss our findings. After we all agreed on a suspect…the mastermind behind the murders…and the motivation for the crime, Elissa submitted our answers.

Our answers were correct! We solved the crime with half an hour to spare. Out of 72 groups playing in Joplin, our team came in 29th, based on correct answers and amount of time taken to solve the crime. We are happy with that.

And our Finley won best little detective for Joplin!

We all enjoyed playing this game. So much so, in fact, that we are looking at playing again this fall, in Springdale, Arkansas. A new Alice in Wonderland themed adventure awaits.

Have you heard of CluedUpp or played this outdoor adventure game? You can find a location hosting the event near you by clicking this LINK. If you enjoy solving mysteries, playing outdoors and working as a team, you’ll love this adventure!

CSI Crime Scene Detective Joplin MO finley
Best Little Detective


Dress the Part



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12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri

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I love to travel, for so many reasons. As travel restrictions ease, I have several upcoming trips planned that I’m excited to experience and share about later.

For today, I decided to share about my own hometown, Joplin, Missouri. I’m working with Missouri Tourism on their summer campaign, “Visit MO”. My assignment was to feature a Joplin location. Partnering with them, I’ve deepened my appreciation for my city.

For this fun post, discover 12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri. I enjoyed working on this one and shooting a few new photos. And, I discovered something I didn’t know about my hometown!

12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri title meme

Joplin Began as a Mining Town

First settled by the Reverend Harris G Joplin in 1839, lead was discovered in the area before the Civil War. Mining operations were interrupted during the war. However, in 1870 a large lead strike occurred, bringing scores of miners to the area. Mining camps rapidly sprang up. By 1873 the City of Joplin incorporated.

The riches of the mines drew investors and speculators, businesses and dance halls, gambling establishments and brothels.

While lead helped establish the town, it was the discovery of zinc that grew it. Railroads crossed the town, bringing more and more people and businesses. By the turn of the century, Joplin was the hub of Southwest Missouri and the lead and zinc capital of the world.

Most of the mines closed after World War II.

The Story Behind Joplin’s Maiden Lane

Do you enjoy knowing the origins of city street names? Many streets are named after prominent people associated with the city…founders, business men and women, celebrities. Most towns have a Main Street, numbered streets or directional avenues.

Joplin contains  a couple of streets named for the mining operations that founded it: Mineral and Galena. Furnace is named after the first smelting company in town. And others reflect the names of business men or mining companies, such as Rex, Picher, Sergeant and Moffet. We even have a series of streets named after US presidents.

The most colorful story belongs to Maiden Lane, a demure sounding name for a street. However, in Joplin’s wild mining days, this street on the west side of town was so named for being the red light district of Joplin. Brothels supposedly lined the street.

Another possible explanation is that “maiden” refers to horses that have not won a race. Near Maiden Lane was Barbee Park, a horse racing track that operated from 1872 until 1909.

Which story do you prefer?

12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri maiden lane
12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri – Maiden Lane backstory

It Feels Like a Bigger City

With its population of 51,567 as of 2020, Joplin is the 12th most populous city in the state. However, it’s the 5th largest hub in Missouri, with the metro Joplin area coming in at 220,000. People in surrounding towns and nearby states come into Joplin to work, shop and play.

Many visitors are surprised to discover that Joplin feels like a bigger city with two large nationally recognized hospitals and many thriving businesses and restaurants, locally owned and big name franchises. We have a regional airport, a historic downtown district, industries, universities, theaters and a variety of parks and green spaces.

Famous Saloon with a Tunnel

Joplin’s House of Lords, a three story building near the corner of 4th and Main Streets, was the most famous saloon. A bar and restaurant occupied the first floor. Gambling rooms filled the second floor. And the third floor housed a brothel. The House of Lords provided patrons with every kind of vice imaginable.

The owner of the House of Lords constructed a tunnel that connected the saloon to his office at the Joplin Globe, where he was part owner as well.  The tunnel allowed him and other gentlemen to enter the building discreetly.

In 1897, the House of Lords introduced visitors to ragtime piano, played by the great black musician, Scott Joplin. And the establishment helped to launch the artistic career of Thomas Hart Benton.

The House of Lords closed in 1920, with the coming of the prohibition, and the building was later torn down.

12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri house of lords
12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri – House of Lords, most famous saloon

Reign of Terror

During Joplin’s early days, it experienced a reign of terror in 1871 – 1872. As more and more miners arrived in town, lawlessness prevailed. Many of the miners left their families in other towns or states, as they began working in the mines.

They spent their hard earned cash on drinking and entertainment and generally, made merry. The nearest sheriff resided in Carthage, Missouri, about 15 miles away. The lack of law enforcement and the wild excitement of the prospectors resulted in street fights, rowdiness, disorderly conduct and occasionally a shooting.

The reign of terror ended when a miner named JW Lupton disarmed a stranger in town who was causing trouble. Lupton was appointed Joplin’s first constable.

Bonnie and Clyde Lived in Joplin

For a short time, this infamous couple, along with three members of their Barrow Gang, lived in a rental in Joplin.

On April 1, 1933, the gang rented an over the garage apartment in a quiet, affluent neighborhood. The upstairs apartment’s many windows provided vantage points to watch for the approach of law enforcement.

For 13 days the group hid in the apartment while committing a series of robberies in Missouri and neighboring states. Their unusual activities drew suspicion from the neighbors.

On April 13, 1933, police arrived, expecting to find bootleggers. Instead, a furious shootout occurred. Joplin police detective Harry McGinnis and Newton County Constable John Wesley Harryman lost their lives.

Bonnie and Clyde, Buck and Blanche and WD escaped, however they left all of their belongings behind. Police discovered a camera and undeveloped rolls of film. The circulated photos from those film canisters allowed law enforcement officers across the lower US to see what the outlaws looked like and resulted in the eventual capture or death of all of the gang.

I enjoyed an overnight stay at the Bonnie and Clyde Apartment in Joplin last year. Read about it HERE.

12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri bonnie and clyde apartment
12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri – Bonnie and Clyde apartment living room

Four State Area

Joplin is in Southwest Missouri, in what’s called the “four state area”. The Kansas and Oklahoma state lines are minutes from Joplin. And Arkansas is a 30 minute drive south.

People drive to Joplin for shopping, doctors’ appointments and dining from the small towns in those other states. Additionally, Joplin is a hub for the smaller towns surrounding it. The nearest large city is Springfield, Missouri, an hour’s drive to the east.

Route 66 Crosses Through Town

Also known as the Main Street of American or the Mother Road, Route 66 is one of America’s original highways. It was established on November 11, 1926. It originally ran from Chicago, Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before terminating in Santa Monica, California…2,448 miles of highway.

Route 66 was officially removed from the US Highway System in 1985. However, the segments that remain are designated a National Scenic Byway and currently called “Historic Route 66”.

Route 66 runs east to west through Joplin, along our 7th Street. There’s a mural located near the corner of 7th and Main Streets that provides a fun photo opp.

12 Things You May Not Know About Joplin Missouri route 66
12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri – Route 66 runs through the city. Stop at this mural near 7th and Main Streets for a photo opp.

Joplin’s Nicknames

Like most cities and towns, Joplin has nicknames. Two common ones are J-Town and JoMo. MO, of course, is the abbreviation for Missouri.

Hit by an EF5 Tornado

May 22, 2011 is a date Joplin residents will never forget. At 5:41 on a Sunday afternoon, a massive EF5 tornado struck. Thirty percent of the city was destroyed, including thousands of homes and businesses, and 161 people lost their lives. It was the deadliest tornado in the US since 1947 and the most costly in history with 2.8 billion in damages.

I experienced that tornado, as did several family members. Looking at photos this evening, my body still reacts to what happened that day and I still feel sorrow.

I’m grateful to say that today, ten years later, Joplin is mostly recovered. There are still vacant lots in neighborhoods and businesses that never rebuilt. However, I saw my community come together and become stronger than before. And I witnessed the amazing compassion of others as thousands of volunteers arrived to help clean up the devastation.

There are memorials and reminders of that day throughout Joplin. We are strong. And we will never forget those we lost.

EF5 tornado
Whole neighborhoods were obliterated by the tornado. Photo by Keith Myers, from the book Joplin 5:41

Joplin Motto

I just learned Joplin’s motto today, and I’ve lived here for almost 41 years.

“The city that Jack built.”

Jack is a slang term for the mineral sphalerite (ZnS). It is the main mineral found in zinc, the element that put Joplin on the map. It’s a fitting motto!

Largest Continually Flowing Waterfall in Missouri

Just south of Joplin is Grand Falls, the largest continually flowing waterfall in the state. These gorgeous falls cascade over a 163 foot wide ledge of chert rock, plunging 12 feet into Shoal Creek. A must see for anyone in the area, the craggy outcropping of chert next to the falls creates pools of water and miniature waterfalls that invite all visitors to splash, play and explore.

Chert is a type of rock unique to Missouri. Joplin has the largest existing chert glades in the world.

The chert and falls create a beautiful nature area that is perfect for picnics, hiking, swimming, meditating or simply watching the sun rise or set.

This is the Joplin location featured in Missouri’s “Visit MO” campaign. Take their fun quiz to discover your perfect “M-O” destination.

Grand Falls near Joplin MO
12 things you may not know about Joplin Missouri – Grand Falls, largest waterfall in MO

Exploring in My Own City

Putting together this post about my city inspires me to get out and explore Joplin more this summer. After more than a year of mostly staying close to home, literally, it feels good to get out and learn new things about interesting places, starting with Joplin.

I especially enjoyed snapping photos and seeing familiar locations with fresh eyes.

I hope you learned something new about Joplin, Missouri. And that you feel inspired to explore your own community.

Tell me where you live, in the comments below!

Joplin Tornado Memorial
One of the tornado memorials, located in Cunningham Park.

Joplin Mementos


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Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center

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My hometown, Joplin, Missouri, has a newly opened coffee shop…with a twist! Located at 2201 East 7th Street, Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center brings a fresh concept to the city. Customers can enjoy locally roasted coffee, tea or smoothies in the company of cats…or humans. Yummy treats are offered for sale as well.

This afternoon I visited this intriguing shop, to experience my first cat lounge.

Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center title meme

What is a Cat Lounge?

Cat lounges, also called cat cafes, originated in Taiwan in 1998. Japanese tourists took the idea back to Japan. The first cat lounge opened in Osaka in 2004. Since then, their popularity has increased. Japan has more than 150 such lounges currently.

Perhaps because of the “no pet” policies in many apartments, the Japanese people enjoy spending time with cats in the lounges. Pets, cats included, are known to reduce stress and offer other health benefits. Interacting with cats lowers stress and blood pressure and decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Plus we just feel happy, watching them play, loving on them and talking to them.

Cat lounges sprang up in other countries around the world, including the US. While Japan allows cats to be in the food and drink area, the US has more strict regulations. The cats must reside in an area completely separate from where food and drinks are served. Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center meets that requirement.

Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center logo
Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center logo, on an interior wall.

Checking Out Nine Lives Cat Lounge

I arrived at the cat lounge mid afternoon, thinking it might be a lull time. I thought wrong! When you can’t find a place to park, you know you’ve come to a “happening” place.

After locating a spot behind the lounge, I entered into the coffee bar area and looked around while waiting to order a hot tea.

Large windows allow natural light to fill the interior. Concrete floors and walls covered with wooden slats create a clean, homey environment.

Groups of people, in twos, threes and fours, chatted at tables spaced apart to observe social distancing. Face masks are required for admittance and may be removed while enjoying a drink or snack.

Nine Lives offers coffees and teas, espresso drinks, sugar free smoothies and pastries, cookies and baked goods from local bakeries.

Two steps down from the main level is a cozy seating area. A large glass window allows a peek into the cat lounge. I chose to sip my tea in this inviting spot.

Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center coffee shop
Stop by the coffee shop first. Baked goods by B’s Breads & Bakery.
Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center coffee bar
Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center – coffee bar
Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center seating
Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center – cozy seating area

Visiting the Cats

The cat lounge is located in a separate, enclosed room. To enter there is a $5.00 fee for 30 minutes in the room. The fees help the cats live their best lives, while waiting for their forever homes. Lounge fees go toward vet care, food, kitty litter, cat toys and disinfectant for cleaning.

The living room style lounge provides the cats with a homey atmosphere, complete with climbing towers and a bridge, tunnels to play in, hammocks and a variety of toys. Furniture for humans includes a sofa, chairs and tables. A TV mounted on the wall features birds hopping about outdoors. And a sturdy bookcase at one end of the room holds books and games. Humans can play the games. Cats can climb the shelves!

At any time as many as 12 cats may lounge about the room, depending on recent adoptions and availability. Three cats call the lounge their permanent residence and are not up for adoption. Princess Pat owned the room this afternoon, reclining above us on the bridge.

To make sure the cats remain happy and unstressed, up to 16 people may enter the room at one time. Visitors receive a timer and when their 30 minutes are up, they leave so others can come into the room.

Because the lounge was very busy this afternoon, I only spent 10 minutes in the room. I had permission to take photos…no flash photography…and used my time wisely. However, I enjoyed watching the interactions between cats and visitors. We all had masks on, but I know there were smiles behind them.

Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center kitty
Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center – sweet kitty
Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center loft
Princess Pat at Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center

Adoption is the Goal

At Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center, finding homes for kitties is the goal. Adopting a cat, versus purchasing one from a store or breeder, allows for an additional opening at an animal shelter so that another cat can be saved.

Nine Lives works with the Joplin Humane Society and local cat rescues to bring kitties to the lounge for adoption. Having the cats in a home-like setting allows people to see their unique, fun personalities better than if the fur babies were caged.

With the three full time residents, Sissy, Boots and Princess Pat, that means up to nine cats are available for adoption. One of the staff members shared with me that nine cats were adopted last week. That’s amazing! Click this LINK to see some of the recent adoptions.

Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center sign
Fun sign outside the cat lounge!

Visit Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center

Whether you want to play with the kitties, adopt a cat or enjoy a drink and snack, stop by this unique new shop in Joplin. Hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday and Tuesday. And 10:00 am to 8:00 pm Wednesday through Sunday.

If you have cat allergies but want to watch the cats, you can. That large glass window in the cozy sitting area provides the perfect vantage point. And if you just don’t like cats, stop by anyway. The fun atmosphere and yummy snacks and drinks make Nine Lives a great meetup or rest break spot.

There’s also a merchandise shop where you can purchase tee shirts and other fun items. Proceeds go toward caring for the cats and helping them find homes.

I enjoyed my time there and left with a light heart…and a half finished cup of hot peppermint tea. And although I’m a cat mom to three rescue kitties at home, I’ll return soon to sip a hot tea and peek into the lounge.

There is good going on in the world, if you look for it. You can find it here, daily, at Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center.

Nine Lives Cat Lounge and Adoption Center store
Merchandise for sale in the store.


Fun Cat Finds at Amazon:



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Ghost Stories from Joplin

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What fun during October, to share ghost stories from some of the most amazing cities in the world. Dublin, Venice, Edinburgh and London, with their long and oft times intense histories, are considered paranormal hot spots.

I’m ending the series with my own hometown. While Joplin, Missouri does not have the ancient history, it certainly has an interesting past. The truth is, of course, that ALL cities, towns, communities and even houses, have histories and stories. And some of those stories veer sharply into the dark side.

The five ghost stories from Joplin are a mere sample of the hauntings in this area. I’ve included these because I have personal experiences with each one.

Ghost Stories from Joplin title meme

Joplin the Mining Town

Tucked into the southwest corner of Missouri, Joplin began as a mining town. After the discovery of lead, prior to the Civil War, mining camps sprang up in the area. By 1871, John C Cox filed a city plan and named the community Joplin after the earliest known settler.

Because the nearest sheriff resided in Carthage, about 15 miles away, lawlessness flourished in Joplin, along with saloons and brothels. In fact, this historic time is referred to as the “Reign of Terror”. Zinc became the primary mineral mined and railroads connected this booming town to other markets, making it a hub for the area and the lead and zinc mining capital of the world.

Construction focused primarily on Main Street with fine homes clustered in surrounding neighborhoods. Stores, bars and hotels lined Main Street. The three story House of Lords became Joplin’s most famous saloon, with a bar and restaurant on the first floor, gambling on the second and a brothel on the top floor. Secret tunnels connected several downtown businesses with the House of Lords, so that Joplin’s wealthy patrons could enter the building discreetly.

Although no longer a mining town, approximately 75% of Joplin is undermined with mine shafts up to 100 feet deep. These tunnels beneath the city are flooded and sealed, however, they contribute, I believe, to Joplin’s paranormal activity.

Ghost Stories from Joplin The Connor Hotel
Ghost Stories from Joplin – The Connor Hotel on Main Street

Ghost Stories from Joplin

Check out these five tales from my hometown.

The Ghosts of the Former Joplin Public Library

This one story building on north Main Street appears ordinary looking. Built in 1980, after outgrowing a prior location, the new library soon developed a reputation as haunted. Staff reported hearing footsteps  of someone walking up behind them, however found no one there when they turned around. They heard the sounds of books dropping from shelves onto the floor, but couldn’t find anything amiss upon investigation. And they heard whistling or music at night, when no one else was in the building.

Another building occupied that lot, before the city built their library there.

The Connor Hotel, built in 1908, was magnificent, even by today’s standards. Nine stories tall, the hotel boasted more than 300 fire proof rooms, parlors, restaurants, a barbershop, a formal ballroom, two nightclubs and a stunning rooftop garden.

The beautiful, luxury hotel welcomed celebrities and also hosted its share of gangsters and criminals. And, the building knew tragedy.

Two construction workers died during the building of the hotel, in separate accidents on site. And two died during the deconstruction of the grand old hotel, after the city purchased it. In 1978 the building suddenly collapsed during high winds, trapping three men inside as they prepared explosive charges to bring it down. Only one survived, rescued three days after the collapse.

Additionally, at least ten people committed suicide in the hotel over the years. Those tragic deaths, combined with people making shady deals in some of those fancy rooms, create some heavy energy that lingers still in that spot.

Paranormal investigators picked up unusual activity there, including a disembodied male voice that spoke to them. They confirmed what the librarians already knew…the library is home to unseen occupants.

My Experiences in the Library

I never saw or heard ghosts during my visits there. However, I always felt a heaviness in the building. Occasionally I passed through inexplicable cold spots. And often, while perusing books among the stacks, I’d glance up to see if the lightbulbs above me had burned out. They shone. But the light seemed dull and the room darker than it should have.

After the May 22, 2011 EF5 tornado tore through Joplin, the library built a new building on the corner of 20th and Connecticut. I LOVE this new library. It feels spacious, light and bright to me. The former library stands dark and perhaps not so silent, awaiting its next transformation as a satellite school to the university.

Ghost Stories from Joplin library
Ghost Stories from Joplin – the former public library

The Haunted Olivia

Another grand historic property in Joplin, The Olivia is a five story red brick building built in 1906. Anton Bendelari named the structure after his mother and when it opened, “nothing more elegant, more stylish, more convenient has yet been erected in Joplin”, said a local newspaper. The building offered 34 luxury apartments for Joplin’s wealthiest citizens and featured a beautiful lobby with pillars, a carriage house and a fifth floor restaurant where residents could dine together.

In 1908 Marvin Reynolds, a desk clerk in the building, went into the basement. He didn’t realize a leak had filled the lower level with gas. When lights didn’t click on, he struck a match, igniting the gas in a huge explosion. Sadly, he died.

Eventually, the luster wore off this building and it became low income apartments. Years later, the building in need of updates and repairs, the last residents moved out. However, those who have owned The Olivia since report someone or something still occupies the apartments. They tell stories of footsteps in the empty halls, the sounds of children running and laughing and various unexplained noises and occurrences.

Paranormal investigators explored this building too, recording distinct ghostly voices, the sounds of phantom furniture moving in empty rooms and other inexplicable noises. The Olivia is vacant still, and currently owned by a development company out of Springfield, Missouri. Future possible plans include apartments for the elderly.

My Experiences in The Olivia

In addition to writing blogs, I’m a realtor with 17+ years of experience in the Joplin area. My first scare at The Olivia happened before I got my realtor’s license however. After dropping someone off there and escorting her to her apartment, I exited the building and walked toward my car. The night seemed very dark. I turned to see several people, dressed head to toe in black, walking behind me. What disturbed me was the silence. I couldn’t hear footsteps. They didn’t talk or laugh or even breathe, it seemed. I kept glancing behind me, watching them. And then suddenly, they just weren’t there. They vanished, without a sound.

At one time, I listed the Olivia and frequently showed the  property. I’ve had numerous paranormal experiences there, including photographing an orb outside, at night, that seemed playfully engaged with a flag and hearing all kinds of unexplained noises inside.

The most curious thing that happened involved the third floor. Whenever I showed the property, that floor creeped me out the most. One apartment in particular puzzled me. Every time I entered the apartment, I’d find French doors leading to a balcony standing open. I’d shut them and continue the tour of the rest of the building. Then, checking everything before I left, I’d enter that apartment to find the doors open, again. Every…single…time. The owner tried securing the doors so that they couldn’t open at all. I’d still find them standing ajar.

I disliked that third floor and the basement the most. Once, I accidently locked myself inside The Olivia. It was all I could do to stay calm. The weight of those five empty floors above me felt oppressive. I pretended not to hear the noises echoing down the grand staircase. And the dark doorway into the basement seemed menacing. How grateful I felt when the owner arrived to let me out!

The Olivia
Ghost Stories from Joplin – The Olivia

Peace Cemetery’s Restless Spirits

You’d think a cemetery called Peace might exude that quality. You’d be wrong. Located north of the city, Peace Cemetery is one of the oldest burial grounds in Joplin, the resting place of early pioneers to the area. Visitors there report mysterious sounds, disembodied voices and strange lights. Some even tell stories about attacks that include scratches and being pelted with sticks or rocks.

And then there is the shadowy figure of a man that’s said to prowl among the tombstones. He is the most infamous person buried in Peace Cemetery.

Billy Cook, a 21 year old Joplin native, began a 22 day killing spree in 1950 – 51. Traveling through six states, Billy murdered six people, including a family of five and their pet dog, and a deputy sheriff in California. He dumped the bodies of the family members in a mine shaft near Joplin. Authorities caught him in Mexico. Billy spent time in San Quentin Prison before dying in the gas chamber.

Because of his crimes, no one wanted to claim his body when it returned to Joplin. Ultimately, he was buried in an unmarked grave, just beyond the edge of the cemetery. Billy’s restless soul cannot find peace.

My Experience in Peace Cemetery

My grandson Dayan and I used to have fun geocaching. One of the caches we tracked down lay hidden in Peace Cemetery. And, of course, it was near the Cook plot. Although Billy’s grave is unmarked, it’s not hard to figure out the general area of its location, even without a headstone.

Creeping toward the tree where the geocaching app indicated the prize lay, Dayan and I felt a strange heaviness in the area. In fact, Dayan, who was a young teen at the time, stopped walking and refused to go any further. In complete disclosure, he doesn’t like spiders and feared one might drop out of the tree. And yet, he also felt a strangeness that he didn’t like.

I located the container, tucked into a hole at the base of a tree, and marked it found. Billy’s grave was nearby. And I felt so disoriented, so dizzy. I stood frozen, staring at Dayan, who also stood very still, staring wide eyed back at me. Some sound broke through the weirdness…I believe it thundered…and everything returned to normal. We did not linger but jumped into the car and drove away.

I visited the cemetery today, to take a few photos. That weird feeling came over me again and stayed with me as I slowly drove down the dirt lane.

Ghost Stories from Joplin Peace Cemetery
Ghost Stories from Joplin – Peace Cemetery

Prosperity School Ghosts

Prosperity is a former mining community just east of Joplin. The big red brick school house, built in 1907, served as a school for children until 1962. After it closed, it sat abandoned for 30 years. Stories began then that the old school house wasn’t as empty as it seemed. Reports of ghost children running in the halls and of a spirit nurse circulated.

Eventually someone purchased the property and turned it into a bed and breakfast. The classrooms became small apartments, available for a weekend or for a longer lease.

Guests and tenants confirmed the stories about ghost children. They claimed the lively little spirits came into their rooms at night, played with toys and rearranged objects or even crawled into bed with them. Lights and other electrical appliances turned themselves on and off. And shadow figures slid down hallways or disappeared through the  walls.

Recently, one of the owners of Prosperity School died. The property went up for sale but no one would buy it. It went into foreclosure and sold. It is a private residence now. I don’t know how the new owners are doing in the school house!

My Experiences in Prosperity School

I joined a paranormal research team one night, in this property. Hearing the stories and creeping through the darkened building is unnerving. However, I got to watch the team work and see how the scientific equipment is used. It was exciting and a big step for me in overcoming my fears of the supernatural.

The team picked up voices using a spirit box. And we caught shadow figures moving in the upstairs hallway. In one of the bedrooms, a child communicated with us by turning lights on and off in answer to questions. I felt cold spots and my scalp and upper back constantly tingled with energy.

I did fine in the property, with other people. It is not a place I’d want to be alone after dark!

Prosperity School east of Joplin
Ghost Stories from Joplin – Prosperity School

The Joplin Spook Light

Joplin’s most famous supernatural phenomenon, people have reported sightings of this ghostly light for more than 100 years. Located south and west of Joplin, just across the Missouri – Oklahoma line, it’s also called the Hornet Spook Light, after the community that existed there long ago.

Most often described as an orangish white sphere, the light bobs up and down the dark country road called The Devil’s Promenade by the locals.

According to legend, the light may have been seen by Native Americans along the infamous Trail of Tears in 1836. However, the first published account of the light appeared in a pamphlet called Ozark Spook Light in 1881.

The sphere of light appears as a single orb that may split into two or more smaller balls. Spinning, rising and hovering, the light may soar above the trees or skim along near the surface of the road. It can be baseball or basketball sized and may suddenly bloom larger before disappearing. People have tried to approach it, by car and on foot, but it is usually elusive. However, some people, and my mother is one, have seen the light approach and bounce over the car or disappear and then reappear on the other side of the vehicle. Others claim it’s come into their car.

Studies of the phenomenon are inconclusive. Theories ranging from swamp gas (Joplin doesn’t have swamps) to headlights from cars on distant I-44 (the light doesn’t look like headlights or move like a car) to a luminescence created by rotting organic material seem to fall short of actually explaining what the spook light is.

Origin stories include a Quapaw maiden looking for her lost love, a miner looking for his missing family and an Osage Chief who was decapitated looking for his head.

Whatever it is, the ghostly phenomenon seems here to stay. The Joplin Spook Light is seen almost nightly.

My Spook Light Sighting

I really intended to visit the spook light before writing this post. That has not happened…yet. However, I did see the spook light myself, many years ago. My son and younger daughter, both in their teens at the time, went with me.

We parked on the dark road and didn’t wait long until the bright light appeared down the road. We watched it for some time. It would move, grow dimmer, grow brighter and disappear for a short time before bouncing back. I have no explanation for what it is.

And, I have no photo of the Joplin Spook Light, however, below is the best video I found. See what you think!

The End of the Stories…or Is It?

This post concludes the October Ghost Story series. Thank you for reading along. I’ve appreciated and enjoyed your comments!

I have a lifetime of paranormal experiences. I could tell so many more ghost stories, especially from the Joplin area. And in fact, I intend to.

I’m currently writing a book, tentatively titled “House H(a)unting: An Intuitive Realtor’s Journey Beyond Fear”. As a realtor, I’ve been in many, many houses. And as an intuitive, I can tell you whether they are haunted…or not…if you really want to know.

I’ll keep you updated on the book. And as always, I’d love to read YOUR stories in the comments below.

House Haunting Book Cover
More Ghost Stories from Joplin – coming soon!


Ghost Hunting

Check out this Joplin area paranormal group. They often host investigations and interesting talks. Paranormal Science Lab

And check out these books from Amazon:


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

This month, my Friday Road Trip became a Weekend Getaway, at a unique destination 1.4 miles from my home in Joplin.

My sisters joined me for an overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout.

And here’s how this interesting weekend came about. Wanting to include local sites of interest on my blog, I checked online to find the owner of this historical building in my city. Intending to gain permission to take photos in the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout, I instead discovered the apartment over the garage is an Airbnb available to rent.


My intention to take photos for a story turned into a fun overnight experience.

Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout title meme

The Barrow Gang Comes to Joplin

The Joplin connection is a vital one, in the saga of Bonnie and Clyde.

This infamous couple, Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow, traveled the lower Midwest between 1931 and 1934. The pair’s life of crime began with robberies of small stores and gas stations and escalated to bank heists and murder.

Clyde’s brother Buck and his wife Blanche and the youth WD Jones completed the Barrow Gang. During their years of crime, they killed nine police officers and four civilians.

On April 1, 1933, the gang rented an over the garage apartment in Joplin, Missouri. Located in a quiet, affluent neighborhood, the upstairs apartment’s many windows provided vantage points to watch for the approach of law enforcement.

For 13 days the group hid in the apartment while committing a series of robberies in Missouri and neighboring states. They slept late into the day, partied heartily at night and cleaned weapons in the garage.  A variety of stolen cars appeared and disappeared from the property. Their unusual activities drew suspicion from the neighbors.

On April 13, 1933, police arrived, expecting to find bootleggers. Instead, a furious shootout occurred. Joplin police detective Harry McGinnis and Newton County Constable John Wesley Harryman lost their lives. McGinnis died from his wounds in a nearby hospital while Harryman died instantly, his body falling into the garage.

Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout 1933
Bonnie and Clyde apartment 1933. Photo taken by Blanche Barrow.
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout 2020
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout in 2020.

The Importance of the Joplin Hideout

Bonnie and Clyde, Buck and Blanche and WD escaped, however they left all of their belongings behind. Police discovered a camera and undeveloped rolls of film. The circulated photos from those canisters allowed law enforcement across the lower US to see what the outlaws looked like. The brutality of the shooting in Joplin helped to change the public’s opinion about the gang.

Buck Barrow died as a result of gunshot wounds from a raid at Platte City, Missouri on July 29, 1933.

Blanche Barrow eventually served six years in prison for assault. After her release she remarried and lived quietly for the rest of her life. She died December 24, 1989.

WD Jones, who was only 16 when he joined with Bonnie and Clyde, received a 15 year sentence. He was paroled after six years. WD died August 20, 1974 from gunshot wounds, after an altercation.

And Bonnie and Clyde’s crime spree came to an end on May 23, 1934 on a rural road in Louisiana. A posse of Texas rangers and Louisiana officers set up an ambush, firing more than 100 rounds into the car carrying the duo.

Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout duo
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout – photo of the pair found in the camera left behind in Joplin.
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout Bonnie
One of the most famous photos of Bonnie Parker, found in the camera left in Joplin.

Spending the Night at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout

I reserved the apartment through Airbnb. My sisters and I, along with our mother, arrived at 3:00 pm sharp. We checked ourselves in through the access keypad on the door.

The apartment, which is registered as a historic site, contains a living room, full kitchen with a dining area, two bedrooms and a bathroom. One of the bedrooms is set up as a parlor without a bed.

Saundra, the owner and host, offers charming and meticulously clean accommodations with an authentic 1930s feel. The rooms contain photos, newspaper articles and books detailing the lives of the Barrow Gang. And guests can watch the 1967 film, Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, on the television hidden in a cabinet in the living room.

Join me on a photo tour of this unique apartment.

Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout stairs
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout – stairs leading up to the apartment. The door to the garage, lower right, is locked.
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout Ferni
Ferni’s first photo op. Check out our last adventure.

Bonnie and Clyde Hideout Kitchen

I love Airbnbs with kitchens. We toted in groceries for our evening meal, snacks and breakfast the next morning. The kitchen in the Bonnie and Clyde apartment offers a full sized electric range, a small refrigerator with freezer and an assortment of cooking pots, dinnerware and utensils.

A small dining table and two chairs provide a spot for meals.

With its windows and cozy decor, the kitchen became my favorite space in the dwelling. I enjoyed preparing aloo matar for dinner and fruit bowls for breakfast. A black tea kettle inspired me to prepare cups of peppermint tea.

Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout kitchen
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout – love this cheerful, bright kitchen.
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout making tea
Making tea. The full sized stove made cooking easy during our stay.
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout dining area
My favorite spot in the apartment.

Bonnie and Clyde Hideout Living Room

The living room, with its original wood floors and wall of windows, provides the perfect place to gather. The four chairs offer ample seating. We enjoyed thumbing through the books about Bonnie and Clyde.

Because Mom and my daughter Elissa joined us for dinner, we used this space for eating as well as lively discussions and watching the Bonnie and Clyde film together later.

Tucked into a corner is a large cupboard where the gang stashed their guns. There’s a bullet hole within it, from the spray of bullets that came through a window.

I also enjoyed looking through the guests books in this room, where visitors record their appreciation for this apartment.


Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout living room
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout – comfy living room
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout book
Copy of Blanche’s book, My Life with Bonnie and Clyde, available to read. We all read the Joplin chapter while there.

The Bathroom

The bathroom off of the short hallway still contains its original bathtub. However the rest of the bathroom is updated for convenience.

I love the black and white theme and the clean, bright space.

Saundra provides soaps and towels for her guests.

Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout bathroom
Cute and classy black and white bathroom.

Bonnie and Clyde Hideout Bedrooms

The original floor plan of the apartment shows two bedrooms, one at either end of a short hallway.

Although Saundra set up one room as a parlor, it’s easy to determine which bedrooms members of the Barrow Gang utilized.

The front bedroom, overlooking the street, is currently the parlor. Blanche and Buck Barrow slept in this room.

Bonnie and Clyde used the back bedroom. I read that WD Jones actually slept with the couple most of the time although in this apartment it’s possible he also claimed the living room as his space.

For our overnight, my sisters slept in Bonnie and Clyde’s room while I slept on an air mattress that I brought along, in the front bedroom.

Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout Blanche and Buck's room
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout – Blanche and Buck’s room, now a parlor
Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout Bonnie and Clyde's bedroom
Bonnie and Clyde’s bedroom.

Our Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout

We loved our overnight in this lovely apartment.

The neighborhood is indeed quiet and the windows in the upstairs apartment let in plenty of sunlight. After settling in, we savored our evening meal and snacks and chatted until early in the morning.

I enjoyed preparing tea for me and one of my sisters. And imagine the surreal experience of watching a movie about these notorious outlaws while actually sitting in the space they lived in for a short time.

With my sensitivity to energy, it was not hard to sense Bonnie, Clyde, Blanche, Buck and WD moving silently about the hideout. And while many romanticized this couple during the height of their crime spree, Bonnie and Clyde lived a life outside of the law. The consequences of their actions and lifestyle resulted in pain and death for innocent people. And yet, I recognize their humanity too and I’m willing to learn from their stories.

Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout tea time
Tea time during our overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout.

Sleeping Well

When I first arrived at the apartment, I felt some of that residual pain empathically. After all, two men died during the shoot out. Because of that lingering energy, I honestly didn’t know if I could sleep in Blanche and Buck’s room. However, by bedtime I’d made peace with the energy there, which mellowed out during the evening.

We slept well in the Bonnie and Clyde hideout, my sisters and I.

Awaking early, with sunlight streaming in through the windows, I curled up on the chaise lounge in the parlor and read in Blanche’s book. Taken from her diary, the book provides an intimate glimpse into life with the famous outlaws. Gratefully, I’m picking up the book at the Joplin Public Library tomorrow, to finish reading it.

Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout reading
A lovely spot to start the day.

Visit the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout

I highly recommend this Airbnb! Saundra is a super host, providing a unique experience for her guests. My sisters and I would definitely stay here again.

The apartment is located at 3347 1/2 Oak Ridge Drive, in Joplin, although the building actually faces 34th Street. There is a historic landmark sign in the yard.

If you appreciate unusual buildings, enjoy history or want to experience a space where famous outlaws once resided, book this outstanding Airbnb using this link. New to Airbnb? Save up to $65 off of your first stay with this link!

When you visit, soak in the history and the stories within those walls…and tell the Barrow Gang I said hello.

Overnight at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout sign
Historic landmark sign at the Bonnie and Clyde Hideout.

Purchase the movie and books below from Amazon:




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