History in the News: Historic Home in Joplin In Danger

A historic Joplin home in danger of demolition.

This last weekend, the Joplin Globe published a story on the two story house on Schifferdecker Ave. The handsome house with a stone facade belongs to the late J.T. Goodman and his wife, Yvonne. The historic home, which likely dates to the early years of Joplin, was damaged by the May 2011 tornado. As seen in the above photograph, the home presently has no roof which is accelerating its danger of being declared condemned by the city. Joplin history expert and director of the Post Memorial Art Reference Library, Leslie Simpson, is presently trying to research the history of the home in an effort to help its preservation. So far, Simpson has discovered that it was on the property of Thomas Cunningham, one of Joplin’s wealthiest citizens at the turn of the century. Likewise, a mortgage deed indicates it might have even been built in 1873.

The historic home is currently before Joplin’s Building Board of Appeals. Unfortunately, due to the death of J.T. Goodman and a refusal by the Goodmans’ insurance company, the family has no funds to make the repairs needed to save the home. At the moment, Simpson is seeking to learn more of the home’s history which might translate to convincing the city Board of Appeals to spare the house more time to be repaired.

If you know anything about the house pictured above, located at 2725 S. Schifferdecker Avenue, please contact Leslie Simpson at the Post Memorial Library: (417) 782-7678. This is a piece of Joplin’s history, it needs to be saved!

84 Year Old Letters Emerge in Renovation of Tornado Damaged Building

For those who might have missed it, the Joplin Globe ran an article yesterday, September 28, 2011, on the discovery of four letters during the renovation of one of the historic buildings located at 18th and Main Street.

The former home of the long remembered 18th Street Bar was damaged by the May 22nd Tornado. The owner of the building, Randy Stanley, opted to renovate the building, rather than tear it down. In the process, four letters addressed to Ray Lavett “Herbie” Gano from individuals that ranged from loved interests to jailed friends from 1927. For more details, check out the article!

Joplin Metro Magazine: Issue 4 Volume 2

This month’s issue of the Joplin Metro Magazine has a number of Joplin history related articles.  First is a profile of Hannah Simpson, who is selling postcards printed with images of familiar iconic and historic signs of Joplin to benefit the Trees for Joplin Fund.  Next in the issue is the cover story, photographs of a number of Joplin landmarks relating to nearly every decade of Joplin’s history with brief histories.  The topics range from the Inn at Reddings Mill to Junge Field, as well as such familiar buildings as the Scottish Rite Cathedral.  Lastly, the issue wraps up its Joplin-centric history with a piece on the Mo-Kan Dragway.

For those interested, the Joplin Metro Magazine can be found about town, published by the Globe, and online here.

JMC Board Approves Next Step in Depot Plan, April 13, 2011

In a pleasantly surprising move, the Joplin Globe reports this morning that the boards which control the Joplin Museum Complex voted to approve a move forward to the next phase of the plan to restore the Union Depot as a new home for the museum. It was not without some concerns, however, as the boards did manage to find something to worry over; that being the cost of moving to a restored depot building and then, bafflingly, the cost of staffing it. Apparently, the new expected operating budget must be higher than the present one for the museum, or at least the Boards assume such.

None the less, we applaud the JMC boards for voting to go forward and hope that they continue to be bold and engage the future of Joplin and the museum.  The final result will only be beneficial to both.

City Manager Mark Rohr Guest Column – April 10, 2011

In today’s issue of the Joplin Globe,a guest column was penned by City Manager Mark Rohr. Rohr, who has been responsible for much of the downtown revitalization, discussed the city’s SPARK plan. SPARK, as Mr. Rohr explained, stands for Stimulating Progress through Arts, Recreation, and Knowledge of the past. SPARK is composed of three major points, the construction of a large gathering place known as the Town Green, construction of a Joplin Regional Arts and Performance Center, and lastly, the restoration of the Union Depot as a new home to the Joplin Museum Complex. Mr. Rohr argues in the column that by pushing forward on SPARK, it will result in more jobs and make Joplin home to more interesting pastimes and activities.

Part of this plan, hinges in theory, if not necessarily in fact, on the Joplin Museum Complex boards which will be meeting on Tuesday to discuss Mr. Rohr’s proposal to move the JMC to a renovated and restored Union Depot. While theoretically the City Council holds the purse strings of the JMC, it has so far been reluctant to support Mr. Rohr’s plans for Joplin’s future by reminding the JMC boards where the majority of the museum’s funds originate from. If you know someone on one of the two boards which oversee the museum, urge them to support the plan. It’s not just a plan to bring jobs to Joplin or money and entertainment to the city, but also a chance to help preserve one of the most important structures left in a city that has unfortunately watched too much of its history demolished and paved over.

February Joplin Metro Magazine History Offerings

The Joplin Metro Magazine has a couple offerings in the area of Joplin’s history for the February issue.  Perhaps its biggest piece covers the history of the Joplin Little Theater.  In operation since 1939, the Joplin Little Theater is purportedly the oldest running community theater west of the Mississippi.  The other facet of Joplin history presented concerns some of Joplin’s residents who have gone off to find a fortune in Hollywood, including the well known Dennis Weaver.  No stranger to Joplin after he found success, Weaver was more than happy to film commercials for Missouri Southern State University, which he had attended when the school was known as Joplin Junior College.

Joplin Metro Magazine can be found for free at various business locations around Joplin or you can read it online here.

Joplin Globe article on Joplin High School

For those who might have missed it, the Saturday edition of the Joplin Globe carried a brief history behind the construction of the Joplin High School building built at Eighth and Wall.   The article covers the story from the school building’s initial planning, its architect, as well student efforts to raise support for the idea, and its eventual construction.  At the end of the article, one can find a short note on the influence of the First World War and small pox.

Source: The Joplin Globe

Historic Joplin in the Joplin Metro Magazine

For those of you who have not yet had the chance to pick up the latest issue of the Joplin Metro Magazine, Historic Joplin was the focus of an interview. In addition, the magazine also featured a piece on what was going on a century ago in 1910 from the front page of the Joplin Globe.  You can read the latest edition online here.

Union Depot Update – Sorta

Joplin Union Depot

East Facade of Joplin Union Depot

We haven’t heard much about the Union Depot lately, be it its renovation or moving the Joplin Museum Complex to the Depot. Finally, last week, we received a small update in the form of a $48 million dollar proposal on establishing an arts center on North Main Street, which would incorporate the Union Depot (pretty much the same plan City Planner Marc Rohr announced earlier this year).

From the article by the Joplin Globe on the plans:

“The plan calls for a performing and visual arts center of about 150,000 square feet to be built at First and Main streets. It could house a 1,200-seat auditorium for touring shows, a 500-seat theater for Pro Musica concerts, the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. It could include spaces that could be used as classrooms, for convention and meetings, and for receptions.

An amphitheater could be built at the base of the hill north of the Union Depot, and the depot renovated for use as the Joplin Museum Complex, according to the North plan. Green space for use as a park or for outdoor events is proposed down the hill alongside Main Street, and another green space is envisioned between the depot and the amphitheater.”

The overall plan sounds both ambitious and a great improvement and addition to North Main Street. It’s a plan that would have been immediately accepted and lauded by the Joplin City Councils during the heydays of the City that Jack Built. The Joplin Globe, in an editorial, likes the idea and noted the extended helpful hand of the Walton Arts Center of Fayetteville, Arkansas, which has pledged assistance in booking shows and other events. The Walton Arts Center, located in downtown Fayetteville, is probably ten minutes away from the nearest interstate, and succeeded greatly in bringing rejuvenation to Dickson Street and surrounding area. Last we heard, the arts center current problem is not filling its seats, its having enough seats.

We support the plan as well. Joplin’s greatest moments occurred when the city took the bold steps of building a better future. It measured progress in the monuments of art and architecture that rose above its expanding streets, not by shying away or tearing down its former accomplishments. It’s wait to see if the funding is there to achieve the plan, but if it can be gathered, then by all means, full steam ahead.

HJ Joplin Union Depot

Be Bold, Joplin!

Post Memorial Art Reference Library Debuts New Website

For those of you who may have missed the announcement last week, the Post Memorial Art Reference Library recently unveiled a newly designed website. The new look is a good one, adding separate pages about the library which cover the library’s great benefactors Winfred and Elizabeth Post, the art and antique collection (broken down by type), library resources, and library news. Including in the library resources is information on resources concerning historic preservation. Additionally, the website now offers up to date information on exhibits at the library, as well exhibits of the past.

If you’re not familiar with the Post Memorial, it’s the little gem tucked away in the back of the Joplin Public Library by the computer area, directed by one of the experts of Joplin history, Leslie Simpson. If you haven’t visited it yet, there’s no excuse not to do so after visiting its new website.