JOPLIN, Mo. — A local paranormal investigator deems the historic “Olivia Apartments” as the most haunted building in Joplin.
Outside of paranormal activity reportedly still occurring inside while contractors work to restore the building — it still holds the history that made Joplin the city we know it as today.
“A lot of activity happens and for various reasons. You have to go back to 1908, the building was only two years old, and there was an explosion,” said Lisa Martin, Dark Ozarks Co-Producer.
Many have considered this building to be the most beautiful building in Joplin — for over a century.
The “Olivia Apartments” building — inspired by Pompeii, and built by a 26-year-old mining engineer from Canada — has been a home for countless people — some of whom are credited for making business deals that brought outside commerce into the city — bringing in the kind of growth that turned the city into a metro in the early 1900s.
However, it’s also home to some darker history.
“Marvin Reynolds was on his nightly tour of the basement, you know, just checking things over and to feed the building cat, which was used to keep mice down. He goes downstairs, flips the light switch… no lights. And at that time, all of the lighting was on natural gas and this is before they put odor in natural gas.” said Martin.
Marvin lit a match to be able to see, but he didn’t know there was a gas leak.
Sadly, Marvin made it to the hospital, but died shortly thereafter.
“He is seen in the building he is seen usually about 5 am. Usually in a defensive posture and he’s burnt and bleeding. And people describe it, you know, as a very graphic scene. And then he disappears,” said Martin.
It’s said that Marvin adored the building and felt responsible for its upkeep. Lisa says, perhaps that’s why he’s still “around.”
In December of 2020 — the building caught fire.
Even after all this time and destructive incidents — the “Olivia” still stands — strong and proud — over the intersection of West 4th Street and South Moffet Avenue, near downtown Joplin.
It’s currently undergoing a complete restoration with the goal of bringing it back to its original look — the one that made Joplin residents feel proud of their city.
“As we tear things down and we build back up with big, white boxes, we lose our character, we lose our shared local history and culture. And what it meant for people to strive and make the effort to build what is here now, it’s so easy to forget. And, it’s such a good way to honor what went before. And aside from that, it’s just beautiful,” said Martin.
The restoration is expected to be complete sometime around the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025.