The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

October 22, 2011

Wally Kennedy: Frank’s Lounge emerges from disaster

JOPLIN, Mo. — For nearly 40 years, a team of Clydesdales pulling a Budweiser wagon was proudly displayed in a glass case behind the bar at Frank’s Lounge, 2112 S. Main St.

The May 22 tornado destroyed the bar and everything inside of it, including 1,500 liquor decanters. For most, the loss would have been overwhelming. But not for Judy Petty.

“It’s been a lot of work to come back, but it can be done. I’m proof of that. I’m 70 years old. If I can do it, anyone can,’’ she said.

Petty hired Farrell Construction, of Neosho, to build a new building, and Ed’s Construction, of Joplin, to construct a new bar and interior. Her team has delivered both inside and outside. There’s a shuffleboard, two pool tables and a jukebox that is loaded with music. Frank’s is bigger and better than ever.

But something was missing. That something arrived on Friday courtesy of Mike McDonald, one of Judy’s longtime friends. Years ago, McDonald asked Judy if he could buy a replica she had of the Clydesdales and Budweiser wagon. Judy would not sell it.  

“It just showed up on my doorstep,’’ he said. After the tornado hit, McDonald knew what he had to do.

“I knew I had to bring it down. It had been in the bar forever. It would not be the same bar without it,’’ he said.

On Friday, the horses and wagon were placed in a new glass case behind the bar in preparation for the reopening of the lounge.

“They are where they belong,’’ said Petty, who holds the oldest liquor license in Joplin.

But it doesn’t stop there. The Clydesdales and Budweiser wagon have been recreated in a tile mural that was made by Images in Tile, of Joplin. It’s so striking you can’t miss it when you enter the bar. It’s a fantastic piece. Take special note of the upper right corner where images of Judy and Frank are floating in the clouds.

It would have been easy for Judy to have cashed her insurance check and rode quietly off into the sunset of retirement, but she would have none of that. I would submit to you that Judy Petty, as much as anyone, represents the unbridled spirit of Joplin.

If you visit the bar this week, a respectful tip of your hat is in order.

Something’s brewing

It looks like a trolley that’s gone off the tracks at 22nd and Main streets. But it’s really a new vendor for freshly-roasted coffee.

“We found it on eBay at Searcy, Ark.,’’ said Christine Cadwell, who is developing the enterprise with Scott Brown. “We haven’t even opened yet and people are already dropping by for coffee.’’

The self-contained unit, which was manufactured by a trolley company in Oregon, was shipped to Joplin on a flatbed trailer and lifted into place with a crane. It’ll be up and running in about two weeks or so. It is sitting on land that once was home to the Cake Emporium and Turn the Page Consignment.

The storefront will have a walk-up window on one side and a drive-through window on the other side. Cadwell plans to serve pastries and sandwiches. Both Cadwell and Brown have gone to a coffee school in Texas to learn how to be a barista. They tried about a dozen coffee brands before picking a company in Tulsa, Okla.

They have named their new business the Off The Track Coffee Co.

Going up

The Fastrip convenience store is returning to 2702 S. Main St. Workers were assembling the concrete-block walls this week. Look for an opening in early December.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, dial 623-3480, Ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 623-8598.

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May 2011 Joplin tornado
  • Local new-home construction catches up to previous pace

    After a slow start early in this fiscal year for Joplin, the construction of new houses has resumed at the pace that existed in fiscal year 2013, when permits for new houses averaged more than 16 per month. Since November, the beginning of Joplin’s fiscal year, permits for 118 houses have been issued for a total cost of $12.8 million. The average value has been about $108,000.

    June 11, 2014

  • 052212 unity walk1_72.jpg SLIDESHOW: One year later, One day of unity, updated Photos from a day of events commemorating the May 22, 2011 tornado anniversary

    May 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • 060314 Farmers rebuild 1_72.jpg Farmers Insurance writes manual based on experience from Joplin disaster recovery

    Joplin’s housing recovery from the 2011 tornado is one for the books. Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Insurance, announced Tuesday that not only will Farmers Insurance stick with Rebuild Joplin to repair and replace the homes left on the local group’s waiting list, but the company also will kick off a similar recovery effort today for the city of Sea Bright, New Jersey, based on a book it has written to expedite disaster recovery that is based on its experience in Joplin.

    June 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • r052214butterflygarden.jpg New park feature opens on tornado anniversary to encourage healing

    Cunningham Park has become an emotional place for Pamela Praytor. The name of her son, Christopher Lucas, is engraved on a monument that stands in the park in memory of the 161 people who were killed in the May 2011 tornado. “Even though I cry when I come, it’s OK,” she said. “It’s part of the healing.”

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • r051214greenbldgs3.jpg Home, business cited as examples of energy efficiency, strength

    Ramona and Charles “Hugh’’ Shields were not the least bit reluctant on Monday to open their new house in the tornado zone to a bunch of strangers who had a lot of questions. “I used to live in a house where I had to wear two pairs of socks in the winter to keep my feet warm — not anymore,’’ said Ramona Shields. “This house is nice and warm in the winter, and nice and cool in the summer.’’

    May 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mercy Health System to receive $23 million FEMA grant

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide Mercy Health System of Joplin with $23 million in public assistance funding by the end of the year. The disaster relief was announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

    April 25, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creator of Joplin-based ‘Dear World’ exhibit features Boston bombing victims in new work

    The messages written on the skin of some Boston Marathon victims may be different, but Joplin residents will recognize the handwriting. Robert X. Fogarty, the creator of the “Dear World: From Joplin with Love” exhibit, took his signature style of photography and inspiration to Boston. Fogarty traveled to Joplin in 2011 and took pictures of community members with inspirational messages written on their bodies in black ink.

    April 21, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Redevelopment Corp. preparing for first property sale

    The first sale of property from the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. to Wallace Bajjali Development Partners is scheduled for May 16. The city staff will be working to prepare for that sale, it was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of the JRC.

    April 9, 2014

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