Trolley stops at MSSU, revisits Joplin history

Trolley stops at MSSU, revisits Joplin history

Trolley stops at MSSU, revisits Joplin history

Christina Faris

Connecting Missouri Southern students to Joplin the Sunshine Trolley has rolled onto campus. Students are learning how to wait in line again, this time it is to wait for the trolley to take them around town.

“This will give them [students] access to the rest of the Joplin community and makes them feel a part of the community,” said Penny Petersen, junior psychology major.

Beginning and ending its route each day at the corner of Second and Main, the trolley makes eleven stops throughout Joplin. It runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Children 12 and under ride free but must be accompanied by an adult, rides for adults cost $1 for each ride. The MAPS buses are under the same management as the trolley

“I think it’s a great benefit for those [students] who may not have transportation. Of course the international students will benefit from it,” said Lynn Onstot, public information officer for the City of Joplin. If students do not have classes back-to-back, they could ride the trolley to do errands instead of fighting traffic and parking around the city.

“I love the idea of any sort of public transportation,” Petersen said.

Joplin used to be a mining town, which is what made it the town it is today. Mining for lead and zinc, workers lived in small homes in the surrounding area. When people come into a town the first thing they see is downtown and Joplin’s downtown, once an eyesore, is getting some new life.

Joplin’s newest restoration project is the Sunshine Lamp District. Located between the streets of first and tenth on Main Street, the goal of the revitalization project is to revive the historical part of Joplin.

“We’re trying to bring back the heritage look to the downtown,” Onstot said. Restoring buildings downtown along with the trolley are both part of the larger vision for the downtown area.

The Sunshine Lamp Trolley is not the first of its kind to run through Joplin. The first trolley called the Southwest Missouri Electric Railway Co. Trolley is replicated with the green and yellow colors and the Sunshine Lamp Trolley is reviving history. Even though it is really a bus, the trolley was made with wooden seats and swinging doors so the passengers get a realistic feeling of riding the old trolley.

The lights from the old miner’s caps inspired Joplin’s city manager, Mark Rohr, and other business leaders to come up with the Sunshine Lamp name.

In appearance and name the trolley is a way for Joplin to pay tribute to its history and the miners who founded the town.

“If it wasn’t for the miners people wouldn’t have come here,” Onstot said.