A meeting is scheduled next week to talk to Joplin residents about the second phase of the East Town Historic Resources Survey that is to be done this summer.
Ruth Keenoy, of Keenoy Preservation in St. Louis, has been retained to conduct the survey. She will talk to residents about the process and answer questions at a meeting to be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at Empire Market, 931 E. Fourth St.
Residents who have information, photographs or artifacts related to East Town history and buildings may share those with Keenoy during the meeting.
“It’s an opportunity for people to bring forward all of the history of East Town,” said Tom Walters, a city planner who serves as staff liaison to the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, which sought the survey. “But, in particular, this is the second phase that is to focus on the area south of Langston Hughes-Broadway.”
The survey is to gather information that can be used to establish historic districts or sites within the neighborhood.
“What her work will focus on is the south part, but we will take information about all of the neighborhood,” Walters said.
The survey was broken into two phases because of the size of the neighborhood. The first phase encompassed about 50 blocks of property, or roughly 300 acres, north of Langston Hughes-Broadway.
Before the city of Joplin was founded in 1873, early settlers such as John C. Cox established outposts in what became East Town. The current Langston Hughes-Broadway, which also is an original part of Route 66, was considered the Main Street of that town. It joined with the town of Murphysburg, which is now a neighborhood west of Main Street, to incorporate as the city of Joplin in 1873.
An original plat of what became East Town was filed in 1871. Cox added other plats in 1876 and 1895, according to the first phase of the study. That part of the survey documented 410 buildings within that area; all but three of the structures were single-family houses. Construction dates range from 1867 to 2017; many were built from 1880 through the 1920s.
The survey concluded that two prospective historic districts could be established in that area. Two properties were identified as potentially eligible for individual listings on the National Register of Historic Places.
Walters said Keenoy will do the field survey work of the south section in early June. That work will consist of photographing each building from the street or public rights of way, noting the building’s architectural details and conducting archival research for each address in the survey area.
When the survey report is completed, there will be a second public meeting to show the results of the work and obtain feedback from the public before the survey results are sent to the State Historic Preservation Office. That will be done in July, Walters said.
After the survey completion, the next step will be to begin creating historic districts and conducting long-term planning for the landmarks identified.
City staff also will be at the Jan. 16 meeting to address any questions about the survey and research project.
Paid by grant
The survey cost is $23,000, which is being paid through a grant obtained from the state.