The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 2, 2013

Historic preservation council to review Neosho nominations

By Roger McKinney
Globe Staff Writer

NEOSHO, Mo. — When the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation meets Friday to take up nominations for the National Register of Historic Places, it will consider the Neosho Wholesale Grocery Co., 224 N. Washington St.

“It is one of the largest early wholesale businesses of any kind left in Neosho,” said Debbie Sheals, a historic preservation consultant in Columbia who prepared the nomination.

Neosho Wholesale Grocery Co., built in 1908 and expanded in 1922, was one of two wholesale grocery companies known to have operated in town in the early 20th century. The company was run by Robert W. Fullerton and Oscar Robinett. They filed for bankruptcy in 1923.

The building has a brick exterior, and the interior has its original wooden posts, beams and floors. The third floor has a painted wall sign that reads, “Neosho Wholesale Grocery Co.”

According to Sheals, the building “looks much as it did in the 1920s.”

It later served as the home of Neosho Transfer and Storage, Camp Crowder Dry Cleaners and the Bone Dry Shoe Co., where shoes were made. Shaffer Apparel Co. made clothing items there for a while, but the building has been vacant for years, Sheals said.

“From the town’s first tannery near the Spring Branch to 20th Century wholesale companies on the east side of town, factories, warehouses and other buildings have played a vital role in Neosho’s economy,” reads a nominating document prepared by Sheals. “Very few historic utilitarian buildings have survived to bear testament to that influence. Those that have are worthy of additional study and recognition.”

Other properties on the agenda for Friday’s meeting include historic residential and commercial districts and schools in Missouri, as well as a site related to Western emigration trails in Arrow Rock.

12-member council

The Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is a 12-member group of historians, architects, archaeologists and citizens with an interest in historic preservation. They are appointed by the governor and work with the Department of Natural Resources' State Historic Preservation Office, which administers the National Register of Historic Places program for Missouri.