Joplin increases its downtown historic district
May 03, 2011

This map shows designated districts in downtown Joplin. Solid blue is for part of the local historic district, dotted blue represents National Register Buildings, solid red is the Sunshine Lamp National Register Commercial District, dotted red represents proposed National Register Commercial District and solid green is for potential historic residential areas. For a larger map go here.

The State Historic Preservation Office has notified the city of Joplin that the 800 and 900 blocks of South Main have received the National Register of Historic Places Commercial District Designation. These blocks will be added to the 10 blocks of the downtown Joplin corridor that has previously received this designation.

"This marks the third and final commercial district designation within the historic downtown Joplin corridor eligible for National Register status," said Becky Brill, grants coordinator for the city. "We are pleased and grateful that both the state of Missouri and the National Park Service recognize the value and the significant role the 800 and 900 blocks of Main played in the development of the city of Joplin."

This is a postcard view (photographer unknown) circa 1910 of Main Street, Joplin looking south.

Brill also noted that this particular historic district was home to a smaller train depot (now located on Range Line) and thus provided travelers with several hotel options along the Main Street district. Unique trade businesses also began within this area in order to meet the growing commercial needs of our mining community. In addition, entrepreneurs built theatres designed to capture both the travelers and growing number of individuals lured to Joplin to work in the mines.

Nancy Morton, chairperson of the Joplin Historic Preservation Commission, in recognizing the important elements that this National Register designation brings, said, "It affords property owners with access to both federal and state historic tax credits for restoration work to their properties. It promotes the architecturally rich heritage of the building stock within the city of Joplin, and it provides an open door of communication and education to the general public about the important role those who built these buildings played within the emerging Zinc capitol of the world."

The National Register of Historic Places Commercial Districts within the city of Joplin now comprises roughly the 100 block of South Main, the 400- 600 blocks of South Main the 100-300 blocks of South Joplin and Wall Streets, and the recently names 800 and -900 blocks of South Main.


The 900 block of Main Street was declared blighted several years ago by the city of Joplin. An article that was posted by the JOPLIN INDEPENDENT in November 2008 reported that at the time the state of Missouri was interested in erecting a large office building in the area. The main eyesores there surround Soul's Harbor, 915 S. Main St., a shelter for the homeless.

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