Kan-O-Tex Service Station

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Kan-O-Tex Service Station (Galena)
4 Women on the Route.jpg
Former names Little's Service Station
Alternative names 4 Women on the Route
Cars on the Route[1]
General information
Type historic filling station
Location Old US Route 66
Address 119 North Main Street
Town or city Galena, Kansas
Country United States
Coordinates 37°4′49.4″N 94°38′20″W / 37.080389°N 94.63889°W / 37.080389; -94.63889Coordinates: 37°4′49.4″N 94°38′20″W / 37.080389°N 94.63889°W / 37.080389; -94.63889
Completed 1934
Renovated 2007
Owner Melba Rigg, Renée Charles, Judy Courtney, Betty Courtney
Other information
Seating type roadside café
Seating capacity 12
Parking on-site

The Kan-O-Tex Service Station in Galena, Kansas, is a roadside diner and souvenir shop in the former Little's Service Station building, a Kan-O-Tex filling station which originally served U.S. Route 66 motorists in 1934.


Galena, Kansas is a former mining town, named in 1877 for galena, a lead sulphide ore extracted locally. U.S. Route 66 was designated in 1927; by 1929 Kansas and Illinois were the first to completely pave their respective segments of this highway.[2]

Little's Service Station installed its fuel pumps on the former site of the Banks Hotel[3] (demolished 1933) at 119 North Main Street in Galena;[4] an automobile repair shop was added later. Before Interstate 44 opened in the area in 1961, bypassing Kansas entirely, U.S. Route 66 in Kansas was a vibrant part of the "Mother Road" which led from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California and former local mining towns like Galena and Baxter Springs would be filled with roadside diners, motels, tourist camps, service stations and trucking companies to serve travellers on the U.S. Highway as it passed through Kansas on its way between Joplin, Missouri and Miami, Oklahoma.[5]

Lead and zinc mining in the Tri-State district had largely ended by the 1960s, leading to a local population decline and the closure of many of the town's businesses. In 1979, US 66 in Galena was taken off its former Main Street alignment (which came in from Missouri as Front Street, turned south on Main Street, then followed the current K-66 route to Riverton) and routed directly onto 7th Street, bypassing the station. US 66 would become Kansas state route 66 in 1985, but the station sat vacant, closed and largely abandoned until its 2007 restoration.


The Kan-O-Tex Service Station was restored in 2007 and renamed to 4 Women on the Route.[4][6] Located seven blocks north of the current (7th Street) Kansas Route 66, the station retains the original aesthetic design of the fuel pumps and exterior façade but places a diner-style lunch counter in what once would have been the service bay of the station's repair garage.

It bears the branding of the former Kanotex Refining Company (1909-1953), a now-defunct regional fuel brand named for Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The Kan-O-Tex logo was a Kansas sunflower behind a five-point star.[7]

The station is home to a 1951 International boom truck on which Pixar's animated Cars character Tow Mater would be based; a Disney/Pixar crew returned on April 2011[8] to interview the station's owners for a DVD release of Cars 2.[9][10]

As the "Mater" name is a Disney trademark, the original truck has been named "Tater".[11]


  1. ^ Bryan, Andra (2013-05-06). "Route 66 tourist attraction close to wrapping up overhaul". Joplin Globe. Retrieved 2013-08-20. 
  2. ^ Russell A. Olsen (2008-09-24). The Complete Route 66 Lost & Found. p. 8. ISBN 9780760334928. Retrieved 2012-05-21. 
  3. ^ Roger McKinney (June 30, 2008). "Galena station gassed about Route 66 award". Joplin Globe. 
  4. ^ a b Roger McKinney (June 28, 2007). "Unfinished tourist centre already attracting crowds". Joplin Globe. 
  5. ^ Historic Preservation Services (2002). "Historic Resources of Route 66 in Kansas - Cherokee County, Kansas (historic context)". National Park Service. 
  6. ^ "Betty Courtney (Sept. 7, 1930 - June 27, 2010), obituary". The Joplin Globe. June 29, 2010. 
  7. ^ Witzel, Michael; Steil, Tim (2003). Roadside Americana: Gas-Food-Lodging. St. Paul, MN: Crestline. p. 146. ISBN 9780760317723. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Disney Pixar makes a special visit to Galena, Kansas". KOAM-TV 7 Pittsburg KS. April 18, 2011. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  9. ^ Nikki Patrick (Apr 3, 2011). "Film crew comes to see inspiration for a 'Cars' character". The Morning Sun, Pittsburg, Kansas. 
  10. ^ Ciara Reid (August 1, 2011). "A 'route' you cannot miss.". Liberty Press. 
  11. ^ Shelton, Missy (June 25, 2011). "'Cars' Fans Get Their Rusty Kicks On Route 66". National Public Radio. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 

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