Video Page Added!

Many months back, we created video slideshows from old photography books of Joplin and posted them on Youtube. Now they are accessible on our site without hunting them down elsewhere. Just click on the “Video” tab at the top of the site on the right. Enjoy!

The Architectural Legacy of Garstang & Rea: The John H. Cape House in Joplin

The John H. Cape Cottage

Today’s continuation of the Alfred W. Rea portfolio is the John H. Cape House in Joplin, Missouri. Cape commissioned the firm of Garstang & Rea to design his residence. After 1910, Cape and his wife Anna moved west to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he died in 1914. The Biographical Record of Jasper County, Missouri by Malcolm G. McGregor, has this to say about Cape:

John H. Cape, who since 1886 has been a resident of Joplin and has been actively associated with mining interests, is a native of southeastern Missouri, his birth having occurred near Desota. His people were pioneers of that portion of the state and took an active part in its development and upbuilding, reclaiming its wild lands for purposes of civilization.

The boyhood days of our subject were quietly passed. He had some duties to perform and in the school-room he passed a portion of his time and also enjoyed the pleasures of the playground. Since entering upon his business career he has worked his way steadily upward, overcoming all difficulties and obstacles in his path by determined purpose and energy. He has been connected with the St. Louis Ore & Steel Company and the St. Joseph Lead Company, acting as superintendent of both through a considerable period. In 1886 he came to Joplin and acted as superintendent for different companies, and since 1900 has superintended the Royal Blue mine on the Granby land and the Imperial mine on the Continental land.

These mines were opened in 1896 and the former was known as Blakny No. 2 and the latter as the Lead Mule mine. Before the present company was incorporated he was in the service of the Luther Company, controlling the Lead Mule mine. Since first assuming control of these mines Mr. Cape has remained in continuous charge, superintending their operation, and he also operates two mines ,on his own account, one of which is the Jackson, Jr. He is also engaged in prospecting to a considerable extent, and has done much to develop the mineral resources of the county and thus add to the general prosperity of the stockholders. He is well qualified for his present position, for long study and experience have enabled him to quickly recognize the possibilities of ore, the quality of the metal and what it will produce.

The lady who now bears the name of Mrs. Cape was Miss Anna Grace in her maidenhood, a daughter of Thomas J. Grace, a pioneer settler of Chariton county, Missouri, where occurred the birth of Mrs. Cape, who is a most estimable lady, and with her husband enjoys the high regard of many friends. This union has resulted in the birth of one daughter, Marvel A. He is a Mason and belongs to the blue lodge, chapter and council, and in his life he exemplifies the beneficent and helpful spirit of the fraternity.

The fate of Cape’s cottage is a mystery. According to one city directory, in 1905-1906, Cape lived at 101 N. Byers, but by 1910, resided at 410 Moffet Avenue. An examination of the existing addresses reveals no homes that match the exact appearance of the cottage, though, the Byers address reveals a new house which may have been built in the same location. Do you recognize the cottage? Do you know its fate?

New Joplin History Book Honors the Past & Helps Rebuild the Future

Leslie Simpson, Director of the Post-Memorial Art Reference Library, has a new book coming out on Joplin history, appropriately titled, Joplin. The book is a history of Joplin as told “in hundreds of vintage images” and will be launched at an event at Hastings on September 24, this Saturday, at 10:00 AM. Profits from the first printing will go exclusively to the Joplin Chamber of Commerce Business Recovery Fund.   Once we get a hold of a copy, we’ll be posting a review.  Until then, please find the press release below concerning the event below!

New Joplin History Book Honors the Past &
Helps Rebuild the Future

Longtime Joplin resident Leslie Simpson is the author of a new history
book that tells the story of Joplin’s past in hundreds of vintage images.
Joplin, the newest addition in Arcadia Publishing’s Postcard History series,
will be available on Saturday, September 24 exclusively at the Hastings
store in Joplin.

Covering a span of more than 130 years, Joplin traces all aspects of the
city’s history through vintage postcard images. Author Leslie Simpson
describes the book as “My love letter to the city of Joplin!”

Local history publisher Arcadia Publishing and multimedia retailer
Hastings Entertainment, Inc. will donate proceeds from the first printing of
the book to the Joplin Chamber of Commerce Business Recovery Fund.

The CEO’s from both companies have been personally involved in the
project and hope the initiative will support Joplin’s ongoing business
recovery efforts.

“When a tragedy like this happens, no matter how far away it is, your
first instinct is to want to find a way to help,” said Arcadia Publishing
president and CEO Richard Joseph. “I’m glad we could do this,” he

Hastings Entertainment CEO John Marmaduke shared, “We are
pleased to have this book available at a time when locals truly need
something to be excited about.”

Joplin will be exclusively available at Hastings through October 2011.
Non-local residents can order online at, from the
publisher at, or by calling (888)-313-2665.

About Arcadia Publishing
Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Books celebrate the
places and faces that give America its spirit and life. Distinctive sepia covers, local authors, and vintage images
present a curbside look and street level understanding of a town’s bygone times. Find your place in history at

About Hastings
Founded in 1968, Hastings Entertainment, Inc. is a leading multimedia entertainment retailer that combines the
sale of new and used books, videos, video games and CDs, and trends and consumer electronics merchandise,
with the rental of videos and video games in a superstore format.

Book proceeds to benefit Joplin local businesses

Author Leslie Simpson has
lived in Joplin for the past 32
years. She helped establish
Main Street Joplin and the
Joplin Historic Preservation

Postcard History Series
Price: $21.99
128 pages/ softcover
Available: September 24, 2011


Arcadia: Mrs. PJ Norlander, Director of Marketing
843.853.2070 x160


Phone: 417-659-9828

Joplin Book Launch Event
Saturday, September 24, 2011
10:00 a.m.


Come share your own stories.
Meet the author.
Take a walk back in time.

Hastings will host the author, Chamber of Commerce members,
community leaders, the publishing company, and any and all residents who
wish to attend.

A special launch event celebrating the publication of a new local history
book, Joplin, by Leslie Simpson.

Saturday, September 24, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
10:00 a.m.
Welcome, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony,
Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Presentation
10:30 a.m.
Author Book Signing


Hastings located at 526 South Range Line Road.

Proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the Joplin Chamber
of Commerce Business Recovery Fund.


Directions and event information can be found online at

Past and Present: First Methodist Church of Joplin

Home to one of Joplin’s oldest congregations, the First Methodist Church was built in 1905. Two years later, the church was host to one of Missouri’s greatest musicians, John William Boone, otherwise, and more popularly, known as “Blind Boone.” Below are three images of the church which approximately span the building’s 106 year history.

This image dates from at least 1906, which would place it within a year or so of the church's construction.

This image was taken sometime after it was built in 1905 and before the church lost its spire.

First Methodist Church as of Summer 2010

Joplin Before Urban Renewal

It is obvious to many the impact urban renewal had on Joplin’s downtown area. While the parking lots are many, many may not recall what once stood in those locations. In the photograph below, taken in 1955, we have a rare opportunity to see the downtown of Joplin right before the beginning of urban renewal in the following decade. See how many of the historic buildings you can spot. We’ll post again this weekend pointing out what is where.

Joplin, 1955.

Printed with permission from the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Close up on the downtown area.

Feel free to click on the images for slightly bigger versions.  Unfortunately, the internet publishing policy of the State Historical Society prevents us from offering larger versions.

Source: State Historical Society of Missouri

Glimpses of Yesterday

Painted on the sides and fronts of buildings are glimpses of another time in Joplin.  Prior to the more popular use of neon, plastic, and other materials, paint, often applied straight onto the building, was the most common form of advertising.  A drive around downtown Joplin reveals the remnants of these past days long gone.  Below are a number of shots of some, but not all such wonderful instances:

Joplin Main Street

An early photo of Joplin's Main Street reveals a number of painted signs.

Joplin's Ben Franklin Five and Dime

Ben Franklin Five and Dime

Franklin Five and Dime close up

Close up of the previous image.



Select Right

'S Electric

Bell Neon Center

Bell Neon Center

Bell Neon Center close up

Note the length of the phone number for the business.

Salvation Army

Salvation Army sign on the Hulbert Chapel (which is part of the next proposed historic district)

Salvation Army Close Up

Close Up of the Salvation Army sign

Engineers Building

Engineers Building


Rent-A-Car / Drive Yourself

Paige Service

Paige Service

Joplin Mercantile Company

Joplin Mercantile Company

Joplin Mercantile Company close up

Joplin Mercantile Company close up

These legacies of the past are easily lost, be it from neglect or intentional destruction.  Let’s treasure the ones we have, as they serve as a direct connection to the past and offer a glimpse of another time.