Now that I have my tickets to the homes tour I'm even more excited to get an intimate look inside some of Springfield's fabulous historic houses! I'll be taking lots of pictures this weekend and will post an update next week. Until then, here is a look at some of the homes opened for the 2013 tour.
The homes tour was especially lovely in 2013 thanks to a blanket of snow. Built c. 1910, the Hawkins-Radecki house was beautifully decorated for the holidays.
This striking Queen Anne home was built c. 1895 and now serves as the Drury University presidents home. The house was threatened with demolition in the late 1970s, but was thankfully saved and restored.
It's not too late to get tickets for this years tour! Click here for information.
In anticipation of the upcoming Midtown Homes Tour, I decided to share a few lovelies from a previous years tour. This neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Roulet house was built in 1895 as a one-story Queen Anne, but was converted to a Foursquare style in 1924.
A bungalow style, the Klingner house was built in 1907. The Klingner family has owned a mortuary business in Springfield since the late 1800s.
The Mayes house began life as a typical Victorian farmhouse in 1886. It was "modernized" into an Ozarks giraffe house around 1930.
The majestic Coover house, a Foursquare style home, was built in 1907.
This darling T-plan house was owned by Rose O'Neill, of Kewpie doll fame. Built in 1900, the house has elements of Queen Anne style architecture; the spindle-work porch detailing shows elements of Folk Victorian style, as well. The house is now owned by Drury University.
The next tour of home is only two weeks away. I look forward to visiting a few more historic houses and listening for the stories they may share.
On July 25, 1894, "George McLaughlin,the handsome young attorney, presented to the local department of the [Springfield] Leader today a tomato 15 inches in circumference.This gigantic vegetable was grown in his own garden."
That "handsome young attorney" was born in Springfield, Missouri, in 1873. He attended Central High School and Drury College and then moved to Lebanon, Tennessee, to attend the Cumberland School of Law.
In 1899, George married Rosa Nell Batch, who was known affectionately as "Nellie." The couple had three children that lived to adulthood: Stephen W., Lillian, and Anna.
Another house preceded the circa 1904 construction of the McLaughlin house on this lot in M.M. McCluer's addition, which was first platted in 1867. Local folklore says that George built the house for Nellie, but it does not appear that the McLaughlin's were the first occupants of the home. From 1903 to 1906, William J. Wood and his wife, Nellie, lived at this location. At the time, William was a travelling salesman for the McGregor-Noe Hardware Company, but he eventually became president of the Wood-Beazley Seed Company.
George and Nellie lived in this beautiful Queen Anne-style home from 1907 until 1914. Though George was an attorney, he also dealt in loans and real estate and, in 1909, had an office in the Union National Bank located on the public square. Curiously, he is listed as a farmer in Wilson Township in the 1900 census. Even more curious is his listing in the 1910 census living with Nellie and their three children in McDonald County, Missouri, where they were renting a home and even had a servant. The next record, from 1912, has the family back in their home on W. Walnut Street with George working in real estate. By 1915, they had moved to a new home outside the city limits. In 1920, they were back on Walnut Street, living near the Keet-McElhany house in a home that is no longer extant.
James L. Robertson and his wife, Mollie, were the next family to live in the house. James was the president of Robertson Grocery Company. By 1920, he was a merchant at a local seed company. James and Mollie lived in the house for several years before moving to Elm Street.
By 1925, Elizabeth Graffius was the new owner and by 1931 she had converted the former family home into apartments. As a widow, she may well have needed the money that renters would provide. The house experienced several owners throughout the following decades and remained an apartment building during most of those years. At any given time, the McLaughlin house was home to anywhere from four to six tenants.
The 1957 assessment shows the house contained 14 rooms, though how many of those were due to being divided into apartments in unknown. The house sits on a quarter of an acre near the downtown area and, despite interior changes, has thankfully been preserved.
This sad little house was auctioned recently and its fate is as yet undetermined. It has some interesting features, but is in need of considerable work, both inside and out.
The house is located in M.K. Smith's 4th addition which was platted in Springfield in March 1884. Smith was a well-known local businessman and was the owner of Springfield Woolen Mill.
The house was built at least by 1890 at which time it was inhabited by Thomas B. Lewis and his wife, Sarah. Lewis was a self-employed carpenter, though he later worked for Queen City Wood Works.
Lewis lived here until 1918 when ownership passed to J.E. White, who also owned the lot next door. James E. White, along with his partner, Loran C. Sechler, operated a grocery store located at 312 W. Commercial. In 1920, White sold the house to John W. Welch and his wife, Flora.
John Welch was a chairman with the General Council of the Assemblies of God, which is headquartered in Springfield. By 1925, Welch was the manager of the Gospel Publishing House and by 1936 he was president of Central Bible Institute, now part of Evangel University.
Welch owned the home only a short time before selling it to John C. Cramer and his wife, Ethel. Cramer, along with his partner, G.F. Smith, owned a lunch counter located at 444 E. Commercial. By 1927, Cramer had sold the house to grocer Fred Elliott and his wife, Bertha.
Fred Elliott owned a grocery store at 884 N. Campbell for several years, before taking a job as driver for the Springfield Special Road District in 1932. He was employed at several jobs over the next twenty years, including a position as a watchman at Oberman Manufacturing Company (Oberman's was a local garment factory.) and later as a custodian at Campbell's 66 Express. Ethel also worked at Oberman's for a few years as a machine operator. The Elliott family lived in the house until at least 1959.
The five-room house has approximately 900-square-feet with two bedrooms and one bath. The house has pine flooring and has a 10 x 12 concrete basement. There was once a one-car garage in back but it is no longer extant.
After the Elliott's moved, the house had several other owners prior to its recent auction. It appears to have been vacant for some time.
When I first visited this late-Victorian beauty in February 2014, it was wearing a lovely shade of blue. The house had been fairly well maintained, though the grounds were somewhat overgrown and in disarray. Otherwise, the house was still beautiful, both inside and out.
Located in the the Rountree neighborhood, the house was built in approximately 1900. Its first inhabitants were the Park sisters, Elizabeth and Alzoa, along with their mother, Clara. The lot was originally part of the George M. Jones addition; in March 1911, the Park sisters subdivided a portion of that addition and created Zobeth's subdivision. Interestingly, when filing the plat for the new subdivision, the sisters had to declare "themselves to be single and unmarried" before a notary. The Parks lived in the house until at least 1906.
Elizabeth and Alzoa were two of the six children born to Dr. William H. Park and his wife, Clara. William was born in Pennsylvania, but lived in Springfield by 1870. He had his own medical practice, though by 1890 he had gone into business with J.W. Crank and J.G. Davis to form the Crank Drug Company. One of their several stores was located on the corner of Commercial and Boonville, a location that later housed Skaggs Drug Store.
The Park sisters never married, choosing instead to have careers. Both sisters graduated from Drury College near the close of the 19th century. Elizabeth was a teacher for much of her life, mostly in Springfield but also in Pierce City at the beginning of her career. She taught at the Springfield Normal and Business College where, in 1916, she was the dean. In addition to teaching, Elizabeth was also a "special agent" for the Equitable Life Insurance Society which had offices in the Woodruff Building. Alzoa also taught school; in 1916 she had moved to Wyoming, where she was a public school teacher until at least 1930.
Alzoa, the younger of the two sisters, died in Springfield in 1942 at the age of 73. Elizabeth lived another twelve years; she died in 1954, just a couple months short of her 88th birthday.
By 1915, the house was owned by the Anderson family. Arthur L. Anderson was born in Kentucky in 1875, but his family later moved to Missouri. By 1910, he had been married to Gertrude Jefferson for five years and the couple had two children. Arthur was a doctor and had an office at various locations in Springfield over the years, including the Woodruff Building and the Medical Arts Building.
For a time, Arthur's mother also lived with them; the family was eventually joined by two more children, as well as Gertrude's elderly father, Benjamin, and her sister Anna. Benjamin was a retired farmer and Anna was a teacher at the nearby Jarrett Junior High School. The home also included, at various times, one or two servants.
Arthur died in 1940 and Gertrude continued to live in the house, along with her sister-in-law Anna, until at least 1959.
At the time of my 2014 visit to the Park-Jefferson house, it had been empty for a while and was looking for a new owner. The house has since been sold and appears to be in good hands. The exterior has been updated with a beautiful new paint color. The grounds have also been cleaned and cleared, making the house easier to view.
The new paint color and the lack of debris around the house makes it look warm and inviting.
It is hard not to fall in love with this house located in Arlington Heights subdivision. The lot was originally platted in 1910 by William G. and Mollie Swinney, along with Harrison M. and Sarah Smith. By 1915, the Swinney's had sold their share to the Smith's; a few years later they retired to California and never returned to Missouri.
Harrison Milton Smith was born in Ohio in 1857, but moved to Pulaski County, Missouri, in 1889. Smith started the Pulaski County bank where he was cashier for many years. In 1903, the Smith family moved to Springfield and opened the Farmers and Merchants Bank. The Smiths had two daughters, Orpha and Wilma. Wilma married George Thompson, the owner of Thompson Auto Sales Company. Harrison and Sarah both died suddenly, within four days of each other, in December 1929.
Construction of the house was completed at least by 1931, when Charles W. Riley moved in with his wife, Carlotta and their son, John. Charles was born in Dade County and was the son of a physician and druggist in Everton. Charles chose the same path and became a well-known druggist in Springfield. He had a pharmacy in the Medical Arts building, as well as his private business, the Riley Drug Store, located at 225-227 N. Main. The Riley's lived in this house until 1946.
The perfect spot for a mug of coffee and a good book!
The back view of the house is just as lovely as the front, especially with the double stair case. The large patio area overlooks a beautiful backyard.
Oscar C. Nonweiler, a district superintendent with the Cherokee Pipeline Corporation, and his wife Sarah lived in the house during much of the 1950s. Since then, the house has had various owners and has, fortunately, been beautifully maintained.
Located in Springfield's lovely Rountree neighborhood, this 1939 house is part of McMillan Place subdivision, 2nd edition, which was platted in April 1914 by Otho McMillan and his wife, Laura. Otho was a businessman of varied interests; in addition to real estate development, he was also a restaurateur and and a meat-market owner. When Otho died in 1927, Laura became sole owner of the development, which included 28 lots.
The original owner of the house was Thomas J. Welsh, who was born in Springfield and grew up in a house on S. National. He was the son of Thomas N. and Agnes Glynn Welsh. Thomas N. was part owner of what would eventually be called the Welsh Meat Packing Company. The business began operating in 1895 under the ownership of A. Clas. He sold the company to the Tegarden brothers in 1904; in 1912, they sold the plant to a group of local businessmen. One of those businessmen was Thomas N. Welsh. His partners included his wife's uncle, Thomas H. Glynn, as well as Dr. Robert Glynn.
In 1930, Thomas N. is listed on the census as the secretary of a meat packing company and his son, Thomas J., as an employee of a college bookstore. The bookstore was likely located at present-day Missouri State University, where he was a student. While attending college, Thomas J. was a member of the men's group called the "S" Club in 1929 and 1930. Also in 1930, he was part of a men's pep club called the "Grizzlies."
By 1940, Thomas J. was married to Mary Mildred, had two children, and was an accountant at his father's meat packing company. Thomas J. and his family lived in this house for over 20 years.
In 1961, Thomas N. Welsh and his wife Agnes died within two days of each other, both deaths due to bronchopneumonia. Thomas J. Welsh died the following August. He was only 53-years-old. Mary Mildred died in 1966. The house went to their son, Michael, who owned it for several years. This lovely home is currently awaiting a new owner.
Copyright 2015 by Connie Yen
Kristie C. Wolferman, The Osage in Missouri (Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 1997.)
Kristie Wolferman’s narrative of the Missouri Osage is a light read originally meant specifically for “adult new readers”. It is written in easy to understand, non-academic language, but is detailed enough to give a good overview of the history of the Osage from the time of first contact to their ultimate end in Indian Territory.
The Osage were a semi-nomadic prairie people whose territory covered most of the Ozarks, from the Missouri and Osage Rivers in northern Missouri down to the Arkansas River in central Arkansas. The origin of the Osage is still debated among archaeologists and other scholars, but they are believed to have become a distinct people around 1500. With no writing system of their own, their history begins with European contact around 1700.
The Osage were by all accounts a handsome group, with the men usually topping six feet tall. This height was to their advantage as they were a warlike people who fought with every Native American group they had contact with and stubbornly resisted peacemaking attempts by the Europeans who wanted to conduct trade with all the natives. Deeming death in battle the ultimate honor, the Osage did not understand the Europeans desire for peace any more than they understand the repeated change of leadership among the white men attempting to control their people and their territory. As European influence in the Louisiana Territory changed from France to Spain, then back to France again and finally to America, the survival of the Osage and their culture became increasingly in doubt.
Lewis and Clark’s “Corps of Discovery” opened up Missouri to a multitude of new settlers who invaded Osage lands. Compounding the problem for the Osage were Native Americans from the eastern United States who were being forced into Missouri and Arkansas, thus reducing the Osage territory even further. Though Indian Agent William Clark promised the Osage their own lands forever and assured them that Americans were “strictly forbidden to disturb…their nation” (57), this was a promise he found impossible to keep. Along with many of the eastern Native Americans, the Osage would eventually face life on a reservation in Indian Territory.
The Osage in Missouri is quick and easy to read and provides a good vantage point for further study for students of Native American history. It may be read quickly and easily by readers not looking for a detailed history of the Osage and the Ozarks. The most details provided in the book are about the journey of Lewis and Clark and are mostly unnecessary to the story of the Osage. Nonetheless, The Osage in Missouri is certainly worth the short time it will take to read and learn a little about the history of Native American life in Missouri.
Legend has it that this abandoned building in the ghost town of Plano, Missouri, was once a casket factory. Not so, according to the Springfield News-Leader. The crumbling remains were actually home to a general store, while a building across the street, no longer extant, served the community as a mortuary. For more information, click here.
Above, on a lonely stretch of Route 66 through Plano, a former gas station has been converted into a lovely home.
is a published author, historian, and archivist who loves books, fountain pens, and old houses.