JOPLIN, Mo. — Two historical pieces of Joplin open up to the community, despite still being under construction.
“What we want to do is to tell the story of these two families,” said Brad Belk, Director of Joplin Historical Neighborhoods, Inc.
Around 50 people showed up to tour Joplin’s famous Schifferdecker house (and the Zelleken house next door) on Saturday.
“Edward and Margaret Zelleken Home and the Charles and Wilhelmina Schifferdecker Homes, were built in the 1890s,” said Belk.
The two historic structures have been undergoing the renovation process over the past several years.
“They were business associates, and they moved over. They were in Baxter Springs, they moved to Joplin, Missouri, and they decided that they’d like to have, build two houses, and be next-door neighbors. And, indeed they were,” said Belk.
Those overseeing the restoration of the homes wanted to give people a look at the progress.
“So, you kind of come and see where it is right now, and then, hopefully, when we get open, you’ll want to come back. And then you can say, oh I remember that that was that, and that type of thing,” said Belk.
“I wanted to see the work they were doing, and I’m anxious to get it done because I’m just excited that they’re taking history and making it beautiful again,” said Coco Chickering-Berry, Tour Participant.
No end-of-construction date has been released to the public.
But, the hope is to tell the community about its history and get a better understanding of how the two families, who immigrated from Germany, impacted the city of Joplin
“They bought a lot of lead and zinc mining land. And, with that, they leased the land and got royalties from that. So, they were land barons first, and then they got involved in banks and city parks, you name it. They are very much intertwined in our community,” said Belk
Once done, regular tours will be available to the public.
And the two families’ legacies will live on through these homes.
“The idea of younger people getting interested in our past, it’s essential. They need to know the foundation of why we’re here and the importance of that. And, sometimes it’s a little better to learn the experience by walking through and being able to be immersed in this environment,” said Belk.
“My mom used to say… she was Helen Chickering, she was big in Joplin’s history. And she always said if you don’t know where you’ve been, you won’t know where you’re going,” said Chickering-Berry.