Five historic buildings are honored in Joplin
November 05, 2011
Missouri Preservation held its 25th Annual Statewide Preservation Conference in Joplin, recently at the Joplin City Hall, aka the historic Newman Mercantile Company, 602 S. Main St. As is their policy to do so, the group recognized people and projects in the host conference location that have contributed to the preservation of "Missouri's rich and diverse collection of historic resources."

Their way of recognizing "outstanding preservation work" was to make awards to five Joplin properties and their preservation teams. The one-time awards named in honor of Joplin's pioneering preservation organization, The Joplin Heritage Trust, all are located on historic Main Street.

They are:

Frisco Building - the largest of the properties - is a nine-story structure located at 601 S. Main St. that was built in 1913 in the Chicago style of structural design. The building had been used as a railway depot and an office building. The building was completely vacant by 1987. Four years later when the city of Joplin was considering demolition real estate developer Carlson Gardner was contacted about preserving this local landmark. Developer Mark Gardner, of the renamed Gardner Capital, completed a successful renovation to preserve the architectural integrity of the building while constructing modern apartments within. The project's historical researcher was Cydney Millstein, the architect was Tim Wilson with Architectural and Historical Research and the contractor was Larry Snyder Construction. State and federal historic tax credits and Community Development Block Grant funds were used to renovate this property.

The Inter-State Grocer Building - now known as the Gryphon Building, was renovated from a vacant building to an office and retail space at 1027 S. Main St. by the contractor Neal Group Construction. The Inter-State Grocer Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 after Paul and Mary McPherson, Tobias and Rayni Teeter, and Ken and Shirley Lees purchased the property and began restoration. The five-story building was constructed in 1915 and was originally used as a wholesale distribution and food processing building. The structure is not only architecturally significant, but is also an important example of early 20th century warehouse properties that contributed to the rapid growth of the wholesale industry in Joplin. The architect on this project was Butler Rosenbury & Partners and the preservationists were from Sally Schwenk Associates, Inc. State and federal historic tax credits and Community Development Block Grant funds, as well as Brownfield Remediation Tax Credits, made it possible to renovate this property.

The Empire Block - DeGraff Building - is located at 524 S. Main St. and is owned by Jonathon and Amy Koucky. The building was designed by T.R. Bellas, a famous architect of the early 1900s, and built by Charles DeGraff, a miner. A 1902 photograph shows a candy shop in one of the two retail spaces. DeGraff used the space as his office. Later the building was used as a bank, jewelry store, shoe store, and clothing store. The space now holds apartments and offices used by the Koucky family. General contractor Neal Group Construction, LLC, removed the metal covering the front of the building to expose the historic arched windows and decorative façade; the Kouckys rebuilt the storefront to more correct historic proportions. State and federal historic tax credits were used to rehabilitate this building.

The Columbia Block Building - at 418 South Main Street, was constructed circa 1893 and used as a retail space for a furniture and carpet dealer, a jewelry store, a bank, a billiards hall, and various other retail shops over the years. In the 1930s, the building housed a court room. The structure was remodeled in 1940 to be used as second floor residential apartments. After sitting as a dilapidated shell for years, the second and third stories of this building were remodeled into apartments and the first floor into retail and office space by Neal Group Construction, LLC. State and federal historic tax credits were used in the rehabilitation of this property.

The Krauch Building - is located at 512 S. Main St. and was renovated by Ed and Cheryl Vasquez of the Vasquez Law Firm . It was constructed circa 1883 and served as a saloon by 1906. In the early twentieth century, the building was expanded at the rear and the façade was remodeled. Neal Group Construction, LLC, restored this building by removing the façade coverings and restoring the original masonry and ceilings. This building participated in the city's façade grant program which utilized federal funds to hire architect Susan Richards Johnson and Associates.

These annual awards usually are named for an individual who has had a significant impact on local preservation efforts. In this case, however, the Joplin preservation community suggested honoring the Joplin Heritage Trust for its preeminent role in fostering early preservation efforts in this area. It was incorporated by volunteers in 1984 to use education and advocacy to promote the preservation of the city's historic buildings.

Key individuals recognized for distinguished work as part of the now disbanded Joplin Heritage Trust are: Brad Belk, Doris Carlin, the late Helen Chickering (received by Coco Chickering Berry), Cheryl Dandridge, David Glenn, Steven Head, Jim Krudwig, Blanche McKee, Honorable Ron Richard, Hilda Satterlee (received by Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Satterlee), Gary Shaw, and Leslie Simpson.

About Missouri Preservation

Known formally as the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation, the organization began in 1976 as the Missouri Heritage Trust. Missouri Preservation is the only statewide non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, supporting and coordinating historic preservation throughout Missouri.

Photos by Vince Rosati
Holly Peterson, administrator Missouri Preservation contributed to this report

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