Joplin, Missouri

Roy and I spent one afternoon wandering Joplin, Missouri. Joplin was created because of extensive zinc and lead deposits.

We started at City Hall, which also housed the Visitor Center. The building was originally built by Newman’s Department store. The first floor was the haberdashery, the mezzanine housed the beauty salon, second floor was dry goods, etc. Here’s the mezzanine:The visitor center rep said if a woman was rich enough to have her hair done, she wanted the whole town to see it!

The store commissioned a stained glass window with the letter “N” and a stylized picture of the city. No clipper ships brought goods to the city, nor took minerals out. It was mule team and trains.In the lobby are mounted paintings by grandfather and grandson. Thomas Hart Benton came out of retirement to paint a picture celebrating Joplin’s 100th anniversary. Entitled “Joplin at the turn of the century, 1896-1906” it depicts the community with some well known (at that time) faces.Just 6-8 feet away is mounted a painting entitled “Route 66, Joplin, Missouri”, by Anthony Benton Gude. This is a mashup of stores and scenes from the 1940s and 1950s. Route 66 went right through the center of Joplin. It’s now called 7th Street.Leaning against an adjacent wall is a 900 pound string art piece created during an Extreme House Makeover in 2012. It depicts the places that the television crew (production, cooks, security) and volunteers came from to build seven homes in a week. They brought their own trailers and RVs since housing was so scarce in 2012.On May 22, 2011 an EF5 (devestating) tornado tore through Joplin, killing 158 and injuring more than 1,000. We were told hundreds of homes and businesses were flattened.

Next we wandered a neighborhood called Murphysburg, just west of city hall. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

318 Sergeant Ave. is the Charles Frye/Fred Basom House. Circa 1891~Second Empire style.Here’s the whole front.

This is a Prairie style home, the Frank Childress house, built in 1922 at 302 South Sergeant Ave.

This is the James Geddes House, circa 1890s in the Queen Anne style. The porch is being rebuilt. Love the paint job.

Here’s the Charles Schifferdecker House, under extensive renovation. Built in the 1890s in the Romanesque style. Now owned by a corporate tycoon who is renovating 2 or 3 other properties in the neighborhood.Schifferdecker made his money brewing beer, then invested in the mines in the area. He left Baden, Germany at 18, but designed his home based on castles along the Rhein. A generous philanthropist, a park, a golf course, and streets are named after him.

When his home is renovated, furniture now kept in the local history museum will be returned to the house and tours will be offered. Here’s another angle.

Here’s the Julius Miller house, built in 1895 in the Queen Anne style. It has an Oculus window.

Finally, here is the Arthur Waite House, built 1906 in the American Foursquare style. The pilasters and art glass are noteworthy.

There were dozens more listed on the National Register, but we mostly walked along Sergeant Ave. Some day we will return to walk more of it.


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