Memorial Hall history prompts Joplin community’s push for landmark status

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“Joplin needs to remember those who gave the sacrifice–any town needs to do that,” explained Joplin veteran Patrick Tuttle.

And there are several monuments at Memorial Hall.

“The cornerstone was laid by Civil War veterans, Spanish American War veterans, as well as those from World War I,” said MSSU Historian Brad Belk.

It was built in the 1920s following a bond vote approved by Joplin voters.

“For $250,000,” Belk continued. “When one thinks about it, that was astronomical at the time.”

Exterior monuments would recognize World War II.

“WWII “Joplin Street side and on the Wall Street side, we’ve got the Vietnam War,” Belk added.

And, the Korean War.

But, remembering the sacrifice of these men and women is just the beginning for Memorial Hall.

“But when you think of the cultural epicenter for Southwest Missouri, this is right here,” Belk explained. “You’re thinking about politicians, you’re thinking about Joplin Junior College played two decades here, their basketball games.”

There was Golden Glove boxing, community concerts, even a decade of wildly popular dog shows.

“Of course, thousands of people came out to see their four-legged friends,” Belk added.

In other words, when something big was happening in Joplin, often, it was happening at Memorial Hall.

“This was the place for thousands of people to view a variety of different entertainers and so the special nature of this building are the memories that people hold,” said Belk.

Memorial Hall is now 94 years old and with activities still happening. There’s also a performing arts center planned for what’s now the parking lot.

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