In 1904, at a cost of $105,000, Carthage received a new high school to replace its predecessor from 1870. The building received an addition in 1951 and a renovation in 1956. Further additions followed, one as late as 1988. However, the high school transitioned to a junior high school in 2009, when a new high school was built elsewhere. A visit down Main Street Carthage will show the 108 year old building in its current in use condition.
Our featured building today was not built in Missouri, but in neighboring Kansas. In 1902, at a cost of $7,500, Garstang & Rea designed a stone building for the town’s Young Men’s Christian Association. This was not their first building for the organization, as they had previously built Joplin’s first YMCA building on Fourth Street and a YMCA building in Webb City. However, while a number of historic buildings in Winfield survive to this day, unfortunately the YMCA building is not one of them.
Jackson school was once the crown jewel of the Joplin School system and one of the first high schools in the city’s school system. $30,000 was set aside in 1889, in part for the construction of a high school, on land that had once been owned by the Joplin pioneer, John B. Sergeant. The school, located on the west side of the 400 block of Jackson Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets, was “a three story brick structure, the third story, of which consisted of two study rooms, and an auditorium which was used for the high school. The principal’s room on the second floor was used as the superintendent’s office.” The school was dedicated on the evening of December 12, 1890, by the editor of the North American Journal of Education, Maj. J. B. Merwin, of St. Louis. Jackson was expanded in 1892 due to continual student growth in the school district. Still, the school had a divided purpose. Its upper floors were used for high school students and the lower for elementary. For a photo of the school from around this time period, visit this link.
It’s role as high school ended not long after the expansion, when in 1897, Joplin High School was opened down the street at 4th and Byers Ave. Tragically, it was in the process of moving the superintendent’s office from Jackson to the new high school that many early school records were accidentally burned by a janitor as kindling. Eleven years later, Jackson School received a radical renovation. Under the design of Garstang & Rea, the third floor of the school was removed, as well a large Romanesque-revival tower and peaked roof line. As one article described the reasons for the remodel were, “Its old style of architecture, and its inadequacy to house students of the district…” While it lost rooms on the third floor, four new rooms were added on the south side of the building for a total of twelve rooms.The photograph above reflects Jackson School after this radical renovation.
For over thirty more years, Jackson School welcomed children to its hallways and classrooms. However, by 1932, the school was deemed no longer needed by the Joplin school district and sold to Porter Lea for salvage by the school board. Prior to its demolition, it had been vacant for approximately two years. Presently, an open lawn and the Red Cross sit where the students attended Jackson School.
For the early shining decades of Joplin’s history, there was one place to have a drink and a meal. It was the House of Lords. It was an attitude cultivated by the establishment, as shown in the advertisement below from the first decade of the 1900’s. Also below is a glimpse inside the famed locale, a view of the cafe area and above, the bar.
The year 1910 witnessed the passing of one of America’s greatest authors and one of the galaxy’s most famous celestial events. Missourian and celebrated author Mark Twain was born in 1835, the same year that Halley’s Comet made an appearance, and by sheer coincidence, he died shortly after the comet graced the heavens once again in 1910. The comet’s brief appearance sparked interested across the world and Joplinites took note.
The comet, which only returns every 75 to 76 years, was quite the big deal and Joplinites were not going to miss out on enjoying it. Invitations were sent to friends and family that stated, “You are cordially invited to attend a Halley comet party which will be held on the roof of our home tomorrow morning at 3:30 o’clock,” or so the Joplin Daily Globe claimed in the May of 1910 in its coverage of the once in a lifetime event. The same article noted that comet gazers had an extra treat in the presence of a spectacular Venus, the “celestial celebrity.” The paper claimed hundreds of Joplin residents were awake for the opportunity to see the visitor, which became visible around 3:45 am and grew brighter over the next thirty minutes. The Halley’s Comet parties were, the headline proclaimed, “the Latest and Most Popular Functions.”
The last time Halley’s Comet visited Joplin, as well the rest of the planet, was 1986. For those who missed it they will have to wait until 2061.
The Grome Building was constructed in 1901 at a cost of $24,000 (more than $548,436.36 in 2011 dollars) for Edward Zelleken, one of Joplin’s wealthiest German immigrants. The building at 506 S. Main Street was home to the Ben F. Wurzel Clothing Company and medical and dental offices. Notably, the offices of Garstang & Rea were located in the Grome Building home until their move to California. In later years, the building was home to Ralph L. Kassab’s business. At some point in the second half of the twentieth century, the beautiful facade was replaced with the current exterior. Nonetheless, the Grome Building still stands, one of the century old residents of Joplin’s historic Main Street.