The subject of today’s post in the Alfred W. Rea portfolio series is still found at 616 S. Sergeant Avenue, the Arthur H. Waite house. Waite arrived in Joplin in 1880 at the age of 27. He grew up splitting rails in Nebraska and at the age of 21, applied and received a job at the country bank in Brownville, Nebraska. Thus began a lifetime career in the banking industry. Eventually he rode a “hog train” to St. Joseph, Missouri, and worked as a book keeper at the Merchant State Bank for Thomas Tootle. Tootle, meanwhile, was a partner of Joplin founding father, Patrick Murphy, in the ownership of the Miner’s Bank. It was a job at Miner’s Bank, located in the same building as the old Joplin Hotel, that brought Waite to Joplin.
Later on, Waite took a job as cashier at the Joplin National Bank, which for a time was located in the Keystone Hotel building. Eventually, Waite rose to the position of president of the bank. Established as a major figure in the Joplin banking community, he was the president of the Joplin National Bank and Trust Company, the Missouri Bankers Association, Jasper County Bankers’ Association and was a member of the Elks Lodge in Joplin.
Waite remained involved in banking and in the house that Garstang & Rea designed until his death in April, 1934.