Historic St. Joseph Foundation

Historic St. Joseph Foundation A partnership of stakeholders in Saint Joseph committed to protecting and improving the historic assets of our community.
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Operating as usual

St Joseph Public Library
04/09/2021

St Joseph Public Library

A new history resource from the St. Joseph Public Library takes its name from the past, The City Worth While, and features snippets of history, photos, and items from the archives. Explore this amazing resource at https://sjplhistory.wixsite.com/cityworthwhile

Yet another wonderful new resource from the St. Joseph Public Library!
04/08/2021

Yet another wonderful new resource from the St. Joseph Public Library!

A new history resource from the St. Joseph Public Library takes its name from the past, The City Worth While, and features snippets of history, photos, and items from the archives. Explore this amazing resource at https://sjplhistory.wixsite.com/cityworthwhile

Made With Uncommon Character, St. Joseph, MO
04/08/2021

Made With Uncommon Character, St. Joseph, MO

"Here we are again with another of St. Joseph’s treasured public libraries. This one shows the inside of the main library downtown at 10th and Felix streets. Built in 1901-1902 in the French Baroque style and designed by another of St. Joseph’s treasures, architect Edmond Jacques Eckel. This postcard dates from about 1905 and shows a view from the front doors looking towards the circulation desk and the stacks beyond. While at first glance, the two views look very much the same, there are some noticeable differences.

The circular opening in the ceiling of the lobby was originally an open balustrade to the second floor, while today the opening features a beautiful stained glass window. The cast iron and glass balcony level amid the stacks today, was not an original feature of the library but, like the stained glass window, was added later. Originally, library patrons were not allowed past the circulation desk to search the shelves on their own. The turnstiles on either side of the circulation desk limited access, but are no longer present or necessary today. The windows on the left wall look into the reading room which allowed the staff to monitor patrons from the circulation desk.

Today, the interior of the library looks like a well-preserved version of its original design. However, for decades, the stained glass ceiling dome was obscured from view and the glass walls to the reading room were walled over. The unique glass-floor balcony in the stacks was off limits to all but library staff, and much of the golden oak woodwork was painted. In 2004, the library underwent a major renovation that returned it to its former glory in appearance, but also added several modern amenities such as a restroom in the lobby. Today, the library is a stunning example of how original designs complemented with sympathetic adaptations can work together to continue to serve the public and please the eye."

Postcard and commentary courtesy of Cole Woodbury.

St Joseph Public Library

Historic Emporium on TikTok
04/06/2021
Historic Emporium on TikTok

Historic Emporium on TikTok

Central Police Station, St. Joseph MO #architecture #stjoemo #history #historicaltiktok #oldbuilding #policestation

A century of slow growth
03/27/2021
A century of slow growth

A century of slow growth

If you ever get a chance to corner Bob Slater, ask the local historian and former newspaper editor about the great census fraud of 1900.

An amazing resource!
03/27/2021

An amazing resource!

The St. Joseph Public Library has digitized the St. Joseph death records from 1891 through 1900 in a searchable database. The database is on the Genealogy/Local History section of the website at https://sjpl.lib.mo.us/genealogy.

Prior to 1910, the State of Missouri did not require a written death record be kept by local authorities. In 1891 the City Physician began to keep their own records which were ultimately donated to the St. Joseph Public Library. Currently the years 1891 through 1900 are included in the database. 1901 through 1909 will be uploaded as they are transcribed and become available.

A valuable genealogical resource now available through our wonderful downtown library!
03/26/2021
Old death records now available through library

A valuable genealogical resource now available through our wonderful downtown library!

The St. Joseph Public Library has digitized St. Joseph death records from 1891 through 1900 in a searchable database. The database is on the Genealogy/Local History section of the website

Artcrafts Engraving Co. Digital Archives
03/23/2021

Artcrafts Engraving Co. Digital Archives

PIGGLY WIGGLY
In 1921 the first Piggly Wiggly grocery store in St. Joseph opened at 803 Francis Street. In other grocery stores of the 1910's and 1920's, customers were not allowed to select the products by themselves. Instead, they presented their orders to a clerk whose job was to gather the products from the shelves and give them to waiting shoppers.

Everything changed when Piggly Wiggly introduced the revolutionary idea of letting shoppers serve themselves inside the store. They were the first self-service grocery store, and everyone loved it! Although it’s been 100 years since Piggly Wiggly came to St. Joseph, we still feel their influence whenever we go shopping.

Photo credit: Artcrafts Engraving Co. circa 1928

One of the great ongoing uses of a historic building! Bartlett Center does wonderful things for Midtown!
03/14/2021

One of the great ongoing uses of a historic building! Bartlett Center does wonderful things for Midtown!

It’s really happening- the Bartlett Center gym is getting an extreme makeover! A new gym floor, new paint, an HVAC system to finally have air conditioning- it’s only a start to the great things that are happening for our community!

03/13/2021
NowThis

While not very old, this is some pretty creative adaptive reuse!

This old Macy’s store was transformed into a fully functioning high school 📚

📸: Cat Cutillo Photography & Video

03/08/2021

The first thing they did was get the ivy off. I know that ivy on houses looks very romantic and Wuthering Heightsish but it is a terribly damaging thing for your house, no matter what it’s made of.

We Need Complete Neighborhoods
03/07/2021
We Need Complete Neighborhoods

We Need Complete Neighborhoods

A Complete Neighborhood is one where, outside of commuting to work or spending a night out, you can get everything you need within walking distance.

McGaughy Internship | St. Joseph Museums
03/03/2021
McGaughy Internship | St. Joseph Museums

McGaughy Internship | St. Joseph Museums

The Black Archives Museum of the St. Joseph Museums, Inc. invites students interested in the museum profession to apply for the

Just think of the possibilities for our downtown!
03/03/2021
Activating Alleys

Just think of the possibilities for our downtown!

Placemaking activities to activate alleys

Historic St. Joseph Emporium
02/23/2021

Historic St. Joseph Emporium

701 Messanie St. has served the residents of Saint Joseph for many purposes since December of 1891. Originally build as the Central Police Station, 701 Messanie has since been used as a US Marine Corps howitzer unit, a bag factory, a taxi company, and most recently the home of the National Military Heritage Museum. After the museum's closure in 2016 the building has been waiting for the next chapter in its story.
Learn more about this property by visiting https://historicsaintjosephemporium.com/central-police-station.
Funding provided by St. Joseph Convention and Visitors Bureau.

02/22/2021
ABC News

ABC News

MOVING DAY: After 139 years at the same San Francisco address, this two-story Victorian home has a new location. https://abcn.ws/3sgQuKp

Redlining did terrible damage to St. Joseph as well
02/18/2021

Redlining did terrible damage to St. Joseph as well

On Tuesday, we shared a video about the history and legacy of redlining in Johnson County and the Kansas City area. Redlining, along with racial restrictive covenants and discrimination in lending, realty, and homeowner associations, made segregated neighborhoods possible. Today, we share the story of one man who took on this system and became, with his family, the first Black family to own a home in the suburbanized northeastern Johnson County.

Sewing graduated from the University of Kansas City (University of Missouri—Kansas City today) after studying business. After college, Sewing began the Don Sewing Reality Company in Kansas City, Kansas. He quickly became a leader in the real estate profession in the area.

In 1966, Sewing moved his family to Fairway, KS, an area that J.C. Nichols Company had developed in the 1930s. Since the neighborhood included racial deed restrictions (legal restrictions on individual properties that prohibited Black families from purchasing or occupying homes there), no Black families lived in the area when the Sewings looked to buy into the neighborhood some thirty years after it was developed. In order to acquire a house in the suburb, Sewing had rely on his knowledge of real estate in order to purchase the home through a series of “straw buyers.”

The Sewings were greeted with prejudice when they moved to Fairway. People gawked at the Sewing family from both ends of the street as they moved in. One person marched in protest. Despite initial reactions, gradually most residents accepted their new neighbors.

Sewing did not stop with his family. He worked to integrate other suburban neighborhoods throughout Northeast Johnson County, helping Black families purchase homes in Merriam, Prairie Village, and Leawood. He deployed a sophisticated strategy of “scattering” Black families to prevent racial turnover of white families, an issue called “block busting.” By 1969, about thirty Black families had purchased homes, and by 1971, the number jumped to nearly sixty. Sewing received national attention when his efforts were featured in The Wall Street Journal in February 1969.

Sewing lived in Johnson County until his death in 2007. His wife Virginia lives in Overland Park today. Reflecting on his choice to move his family to a previously all-white neighborhood, Sewing said, “I don’t think integration should be a matter of waiting until a neighborhood is ready. I think the best kind of education for a person who hasn’t had the experience of living in an integrated neighborhood is to integrate it.”

Don Sewing’s efforts helped bring about real change in Johnson County. Read more about his experiences in his own words in this 2007 oral history transcript: https://jocohistory.org/digital/collection/oralhist/id/32/rec/1 #JoCoHistory #BlackHistoryMonth

Image: Don and Virginia Sewing with two of their children in the Overland Park office of Sewing Realty, c. 1970.

History Museum | Pony Express National Museum | United States
02/16/2021
History Museum | Pony Express National Museum | United States

History Museum | Pony Express National Museum | United States

The Pony Express Museum is a transport museum in Saint Joseph, Missouri, documenting the history of the Pony Express, the first fast mail line across the North American continent from the Missouri River to the Pacific coast.

02/13/2021
Kelley Flats, St. Joseph Mo.Learn more at www.historicsaintjosephemporium.com #history #historichouses #stjoemo #architecture #rowhouse

Kelley Flats, St. Joseph Mo.Learn more at www.historicsaintjosephemporium.com #history #historichouses #stjoemo #architecture #rowhouse

Historic Emporium (@historicstjoseph) has created a short video on TikTok with music Lofi. | Kelley Flats, St. Joseph Mo.Learn more at www.historicsaintjosephemporium.com #history #historichouses #stjoemo #architecture #rowhouse | Charles Kelley built 1208-1212 Frederick as an investment property in...

Historic St. Joseph Emporium
02/04/2021

Historic St. Joseph Emporium

Built between 1888 and 1897, the Rowhouses at 1212 Frederick were built as rental properties. In about 1911, Francis H. Moyer took over the property and ran it as “furnished rooms,” which meant that the population density of the rowhouses went up. Francis listed his occupation as a solicitor for the India Tea Company when he registered for the draft in 1919. When he died in 1947 he was a manager for McCleary’s Clinic. He seems to have been a bit of a shifty character, in addition to relatively frequent changes of occupation he was married at least 3 times and there was some scandal associated with some of his changes of spouse.
https://historicsaintjosephemporium.com/kelley-flats
Funding provided by St. Joseph Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Artcrafts Engraving Co. Digital Archives
01/29/2021

Artcrafts Engraving Co. Digital Archives

WYTHEWOOD HOUSEWARMING PARTY
Mr. and Mrs. Huston Wyeth built a three story country estate at 3001 Frederick Avenue. On July 8, 1921, Mr. Wyeth's 58th birthday, a great housewarming party was given for more than 270 guests. The party's theme was a Hayseed Ball, inspired by an event the Wyeths had attended the previous year in Miami. Guests arrived in rural costumes, on hay wagons, and in old buggies.

It was the social event of the season in St. Joseph. Mr. and Mrs. Wyeth commissioned Artcrafts Engraving Co. to photograph the entire group and memorialize the event. This original photo is on display at the Artcrafts office.

Address

520 Francis St. Suite 300
Saint Joseph, MO
64501

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Comments

I am trying to find someone that knows about a Holiday Home Tour done by the symphony in either 2006 or 2007 where you drove around to homes and viewed their holiday decorations. One of the homes was known as The Frog House, and was written up in the paper, the two men who owned the house loved frogs, there was even a 6 foot tall frog statue dressed as Santa. Does anyone know this house? It was a Craftsman home.
3107 Edmond. My home for the first ten years of my life, and the most incredible house a child could wish for. I have no idea when it was built or its history, but it didn't live long enough, pulled down for a parking lot after the last owners trashed it. For all of you St. Joseph history lovers, thank you for the preservation efforts and helping to see that so many of the city's homes do not meet the same fate.
I am requesting help to see if anyone has any information on a large estate home that use to take up most of the block between 30th and 31st on Felix St. It is now the sight of Brookdale's Youth complex. I was fascinated by this house as a child. It was just a block from my house at 3107 Edmond and was the second biggest house in the area which the church also demolished for parking. I'm now writing a novel about two boys from those two houses, but I can find no pictures of information for reference. I can make things up, but I would rather be accurate.
My husband is going through his dad's slides. His dad did a study of St. JOE architecture. Would you be interested in these once we have sorted them out? They were done in the late 70's, early 80's.
Thought this clipping from Saturday, January 16th 1897 might interest some.
Sigh. 624 Highland by Lafayette HS is breaking my heart.
This was in Pennsylvania, but you never know what you can find when you peel back the layers...
Thank you to “all” of the wonderful docents that gave their time to help make this 4th Annual Jewels Of St Joseph Historic homes tour so much fun and such a success.
I’m wondering what city code is currently on properly “ warehousing “ property . I recall lengthy discussion years ago about retaining the National Historic Guidelines as the standard. Has that changed? Discussion? Did the new register for vacant buildings affect this?
https://www.newspressnow.com/news/local_news/st-joseph-kids-face-dangerous-amounts-of-lead/article_5dc821e6-b856-11e9-a247-a7570562fa0a.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share I believe that no “defiance” was involved in the case of Brownfield? An initial proposal was made with a counter proposal to our Landmark Commission. A CoA was granted. There are Many sources of lead. I am displeased with the Mayor’s knee jerk reaction and the lack of any demographic information.
This does not bode well for our historic school buildings. :(
I have my eye on a very doable project. I’ve watched this house for twelve years. I sure would like be to make sure this scary low priced treasure isn’t bought by some one who won’t honor her. I need a small cash investment for the purchase and have already had it checked out by very qualified preservation friend.