The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 22, 2014

Wally Kennedy: ‘Old green elephant’ once ‘grand, glorious’

JOPLIN, Mo. — When you shake a tree, you never know what will fall out.

Last week’s column about the Shank Foods building, 1209 S. Main St., provided one of those moments. I did not know that Golden Gloves Boxing was held there for many years. I did not know the building housed the Joplin Little Theater in the 1940s.

And I learned from a member of the Shank family that the building I referred to as the “old green elephant” on Main Street was not sea-foam green or turquoise. The family has lovingly embraced the color as its own — Shank green.

Cheryl Shank Morrow, granddaughter of H.E. Shank and daughter of Marvin Shank, wrote this: “She was pretty grand in those days. And if you go up the old concrete steps to the second floor, you can still get a feel for that time. As a child, that second floor held lots of mystery for me, and I loved to dream about how it once was.

“As far back as I can remember, the entire market was painted white. But at some point in my childhood, my dad decided it needed a fresh coat of paint. His intention was to paint her white again. But I was a daddy’s girl, and I wanted him to paint her green. Something natural. So it would blend in to the environment more. LOL!

 “I know she’s an old and ugly monstrosity now, but she was grand and glorious in her day. All my life I have dreamed about what she looked like in the beginning. It would be so incredible to see her restored to that. Wouldn’t it?”

I received this email from Cecie Fritz, historian for the Joplin Little Theater. Fritz wrote: “In 1945, Joplin Little Theatre moved from The Royal Heights Playhouse on North Florida Street to the second floor of the Shank Building, the City Market. It was owned by the city of Joplin, rent was $20 a month, which included steam heat.

“JLT particularly liked this location across the street from Wilder’s, as pre-show and intermission crowds would collect there — until over the Wilder’s loud-speaker would come: ‘Curtain going up!’”

The theater group staged productions there until March 1948 when it purchased its own building.

Not all of the memories were pleasant, as one patron remembered: “We had a saloon right below us, rowdy truck drivers streaming in and out, and the odor of onions, cantaloupes and overripe bananas floating through the cracked windows.”

I got a look inside the building this week. It is indeed an impressive structure. We’re talking heavy-duty concrete. Buildings from that era were made to last. Workers were removing items that could be salvaged. I was told by a worker that the building is coming down.

That’s too bad. If ever a building would be a suitable site for a Joplin farmers market, this would be it.

Text Only
Local News
  • Pseudoephedrine sales in Pittsburg to require prescription

    Starting Friday, those who purchase pseudoephedrine and related products in Pittsburg will need a prescription to do so.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cherokee County Commission accepts general counsel's resignation

    Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the Cherokee County Commission since 2005, submitted a handwritten resignation to the board on Monday in the aftermath of a landfill controversy.

    July 22, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Parents can get help with school supplies

    I don’t know much about demographics other than the fact that I no longer belong to a “targeted demographic.” When I was younger, I was bombarded by commercials and ads from companies that were trying to sell me things that I not only needed but wanted.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jasper County Commission reviews traffic plans

    The Jasper County Commission will hold public hearings today and Thursday on a number of traffic changes proposed in the county. No one spoke when the first hearing was held Tuesday as part of the regular commission meeting, according to Jim Honey, Eastern District associate commissioner.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho school board hires company to manage substitutes

    Citing its hopes of shifting health care costs and utilizing more time from retired teachers, the Neosho Board of Education granted a contract Monday to a temporary employee company to manage its substitute teacher program.

    July 22, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

Must Read


A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter