In 1889, a reporter with the Joplin News Herald met with P. Monneron, architect of Patrick Murphy’s new mansion. According to Leslie Simpson’s From Lincoln Logs to To Lego Blocks: How Joplin Was Built, the house was a prime example of the Romanesque Revival style of architecture. Located at 402 Wall, the Herald reporter described the house as follows:
“The building will comprise cellar and two stories. The ground plan somewhat irregular in outline to conform with the artist’s design of the superstructure, is about 40×60 feet. The basement will be constructed of a 24 inch stone wall, rising above the surface sufficiently to afford ample light and ventilation to the cellar. The portion above ground will be constructed of cut stone. In the cellar will be located the furnace and boiler for heating the entire structure by steam. It will in addition furnish ample room for all other purposes.”
The reporter remarked that the location of the house was “the handsomest building site in the vincinity of Joplin, lying directly south of the cemetery. The tract contains forty a cres, a greater part of which is already set in trees.” The land had a small rise on which Murphy planned to build the house so that it sat a reported 21 feet above a nearby reservoir.
The house itself was situated so that it faced east with a carriage drive “with walks on either side and lines of shade trees flanking both.” There was a second entrance located at the north end of the property. It too would be lined with trees and passed behind the house and on to the barn. The house itself had a “wide veranda with receding angles below; a short stretch of balcony in front of the upper story and a tower reaching a height of fifty feet rising from the southeast corner.” With a total of 17 rooms, the house cost an estimated $8,000. In today’s money, with inflation taken into consideration, the house would probably cost around $200,000 to build today.
Sources: Joplin News Herald, Leslie Simpson’s From Lincoln Logs to To Lego Blocks: How Joplin Was Built.