The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 18, 2006

Historic-home auction attracts no bidders

By Susan Redden

Globe Staff Writer

CARTHAGE, Mo. - There were plenty of lookers but no takers Wednesday, when a historic Carthage home was to go on the auction block for charity.

After no one registered to bid on the property, organizers said they would postpone to June 8 an auction to sell the Spencer House at 1163 Grand Ave.

There had been indications earlier that the auction had not spurred the interest for which organizers had hoped, Frank Dunaway, president of the board of the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri, said after the postponement was announced.

The minimum bid on the house originally was set at $400,000, then reduced to $320,000, he said.

"Of course, the intent is to help charities through the foundation, and that won't be realized until the house is sold," Dunaway said.

The house was owned for more than 40 years by John Williams and his wife. The couple gave the house to the community foundation, with proceeds from the sale to benefit charities they selected. Revenues from the sale will create an endowment for organizations including the McCune-Brooks Health Care Foundation, the Carthage Public Library, the Episcopal Youth Group of Carthage, the Jasper County 1895 Courthouse Fund and the Carthage Historic Preservation Fund.

Wednesday's auction attracted representatives from some of those organizations, along with residents who were curious about the sale or wanted to get another look inside the historic property.

The sale also spurred a bit of a family reunion, with Mark Williams and Jack Belk, his uncle, reminiscing about the days they lived in the house.

Williams said he was raised in the house until he was about 5, then spent summers and holidays there after his parents divorced. He said the house "was a great place to grow up" and, laughing, said his favorite room "had to be the saloon in the basement."

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