The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 25, 2013

Another building on Main Street to fall; site is adjacent to structure that collapsed

By Wally Kennedy

— Another historic building in the 900 block of South Main Street is coming down.

Jack Schaller, the city’s assistant public works director, on Thursday said the building south of the Carl Adams Building, which collapsed about 2 a.m. Wednesday, also will be demolished over the next few days because of its deteriorating condition.

Like the Carl Adams Building, the two-story building at 914 S. Main St. is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was constructed in about 1910. It was a grocery store for many years before becoming the Midway Pool Hall in the 1950s.

“It’s a dangerous building. It needs to come down,” Schaller said. “The city has been in contact with the property owners. That building had a fire about five years ago roughly. They had pulled some permits on it to do some work, but the timing of those permits has expired.

“We have ordered that it be demolished, and we have advised them of that.”

Schaller said the cost of the emergency demolition, which will start today or Monday, will be the responsibility of the owners of the property.

The demolition of the building will coincide with the demolition of what remains of the Carl Adams Building at 910-912 S. Main St. Its collapse early Wednesday sent debris spilling across a sidewalk and into the street.

Schaller said the north wall of the four-story Carl Adams Building was exposed when a fire in March of last year destroyed the Rains Brothers Building north of it.

The north wall of the Carl Adams Building, he said, “was an interior wall that was acting as an exterior wall. It was not designed as a load-bearing wall that could handle horizontal load forces. It was not reinforced to do that.”

Schaller said that based on evidence at the scene of the collapse, a sag in the roof of the Carl Adams Building was worsened by recent rains.

“The rain we had put extra weight on the roof, which was leaking,” he said. “That pulled the top of the wall in and pushed the side wall out at the northeast corner. That interior wall was not set up for horizontal loads. It did not have the reinforcement for it to handle a horizontal load. Outside walls have that reinforcement to handle wind loads and other pressures.

“Outside walls are tuckpointed with grout. In this case, there was a layer of powdery sand in between the bricks and no reinforcement to hold it up. The weight of the roof forced the wall to kick out.”

The Carl Adams Building was inspected after the fire last year by the city’s chief building inspector, Steve Cope, and the city fire marshal, Dale Brooks.

“Though the roof was in bad shape, they did not see any structural defects at that time or they would have called me in to look at it,” Schaller said.

The city did not hire a structural engineer to examine the building. The city does not inspect Joplin’s historic buildings for structural integrity.

“That is the property owner’s responsibility,” Schaller said. “In this case, time added to the problem (hastening the building’s deteriorating condition).”

Main Street reopens

AFTER THE COLLAPSE of the Carl Adams Building on Wednesday, South Main Street between Seventh and 10th streets was blocked off to traffic. Main Street was reopened to traffic Thursday night.