JOPLIN, Mo. — You know someone was a prominent member of their community when their name is all over the town. Such is the case in Joplin with the name Schifferdecker. He is the subject of this months “What’s In a Name” series from KSN’s Stuart Price.
The name Schifferdecker is synonymous with the city of Joplin. Like many of Joplin’s founding fathers, Charles Schifferdecker made his fortune in the mining industry. He donated 4,500 acres to the City of Joplin for the purpose of creating a park after his death in 1915.
“Mr. Schifferdecker was a very generous individual that gave back to the community. Schifferdecker Park, he donated land for Scottish Rite Cathedral, there’s his home, and he was one of the founding members of the Mount Hope Cemetery that created a cemetery for them to be interred at,” said Brad Belk, MSSU Community Historian.
Schifferdecker Avenue, which is also named after the same man, borders part of the park.
Not long after the park was created, Schifferdecker Golf Course was built. The 100th anniversary of that course is coming up in late June.
Although he was born in Springfield, Horton Smith is known as the “Joplin Ghost.” In addition to many PGA Tour events that he won, he was also the first and third Master’s Champion.
“There’s a host of players here that are very well known on the PGA circuit. Ky Lafoon, Horton Smith, Ed Dudley. These guys, all three of them played in Ryder Cup matches. All of them are multi-winners of golf tournaments. Two of them became PGA President as well as being Hall of Famers,” said Belk.
Other prominent golfers who’ve played these holes include Gene Sarazen, one of golf’s first major stars, as well as Four State native and three time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin.
“I think Charles Schifferdecker would be amazed at his park and how it’s developed and how people are appreciating it which I’m sure is exactly what he wanted and today the golf course is busy and it’s a success for everyone,” said Belk.
The Ozark Amateur, which is played at Schifferdecker’s course is claimed to be the oldest stroke play Amateur Tournament west of the Mississippi.