The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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May 10, 2012

Historic designation proposed for two Jasper County properties

Jasper County history — pre-20th century in Joplin and pre-Civil War near Sarcoxie — is represented in properties that next week will be nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.

The Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation will consider nominations for the Joplin Furniture Company Building, 702-708 S. Main St. in Joplin, and Cave Spring School and Cemetery on County Road 4, northeast of Sarcoxie.

Properties endorsed by the advisory council at a May 18 meeting in Jefferson City will be forwarded to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C., for final approval.

Once four separate, adjacent buildings — the oldest constructed in 1899 — the Joplin Furniture structure eventually was combined and expanded. August C. Michaelis, who designed the expansion project, also designed the original Joplin High School in 1896, St. John’s Hospital in 1898 and the Joplin Carnegie Library in 1903, according to the nomination, written by architect Paul Hohmann, of Ebersoldt and Associates, St. Louis.

Cave Spring School was built in 1840 as a one-room church and schoolhouse. It was company headquarters for Union militia forces during the Civil War and then became the seat of county government after the courthouse in Carthage burned during the Civil War. It was returned to its original uses in 1866 and operated as a school until 1966, when it was closed as rural schools were consolidated. The adjacent Cave Spring Cemetery, nearly seven acres in size, has grave sites that date to 1840.

The Joplin Furniture Building is owned by a group of current and former employees of Tri-State Engineering, and is occupied by the engineering firm, Main Street Storage and Fast Copy Printing.

Clayton Cristy, president of Tri-State Engineering, said the historic designation would open the opportunity for tax credits that could help finance a renovation of the structure.

He said the owners bought the building in part “for its historic character; on the upper floors, especially, it looks like a building from years ago.”

Leslie Simpson, director of the Post Memorial Art Reference Library, who has written extensively about historic architecture in Joplin, said she had always been “intrigued by the building because it was obvious a couple of stories had been added.”

“The buildings were combined and expanded upward,” she said. “I’m excited about the nomination and the potential it holds. And Michaelis certainly deserves the recognition.”

Hohmann, in the nominating report, described the upper floors of the four-story building as “a time capsule” with tin ceilings and period light fixtures.

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