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Welcome to Murphysburg Residential Historic District

In 1992, the City of Joplin designated Sergeant Avenue from Second Street to Fourth Street as the “Murphysburg Residential Historic District.” At the request of homeowners in the adjacent neighborhoods, the City of Joplin expanded the historic district in 2004. Today, the historic district encompasses Sergeant Avenue from First Street to Seventh Street and Moffet Avenue from First Street to Fourth Street. Historic Murphysburg Preservation, Inc., a non-profit corporation, endeavors to preserve the integrity of the district and raise public awareness. You can contact us at
Want to become a member? Murphysburg Membership Application

Help promote preservation efforts with Historic Murphysburg Preservation

HMP’s official mission is to implement charitable and educational activities that promote and stimulate historic awareness throughout the neighborhood.  The National Register of Historic Places boundaries are generally from 1st to 7th Street on Sergeant and Moffet Avenue, and part of 1st to 4th Street on Byers and Pearl Avenue.  HMP’s vision is to have all of the homes and structures in the historic residential district rehabilitated and protected.  This action has a positive impact on the economy, jobs, property values, heritage tourism, environmental impact, social impact, art and architectural preservation plus contributes to Joplin’s “quality of life.”  It is further believed that restoring and stabilizing the residential historic district leads to increased value to the ongoing downtown revitalization. 
Join us for a Neighborhood Meeting
With Officer Michael Gayman of the Joplin Police Department to discuss
• Home Burglaries
• Identifying suspicious activity
• The growing trend of utility wire/pipe theft
• Learn about IMPACT, the
“Improving Methods Proactively Against Crime Trends” tool

Tuesday - June 19, 2012 - 6:30 p.m.
at the home of Mary Ann and Larry Neff
318 South Sergeant Avenue
known as the Charles Frye House Circa 1891
Built in the Second Empire style

Contacts for Neighborhood Meeting
Mark Williams HMP President 850-4916
Mary Ann Neff HMP Board Member 850-8598
Mary Anne Phillips HMP Secretary 624-3353
Paula Callihan HMP Director 483-3116

Reconnaissance level survey for Joplin Residential District

For more information on architectural surveys click here.
The City of Joplin proposes creating a residential architectural survey for the local historic area known as Murphysburg. This area covers roughly 100 homes and 35 acres. While the local residential district is larger, the proposed survey for NR is defined within the boundary of the100-600 Blocks of S. Sergeant Avenue and S. Moffet Avenue, as well as 124 S. Byers, and 504 S. Byers. This reduction is size is based upon concentration of intact homes and streetscapes.

This is an important area to survey and identify for its depth of participation in the historical patterns of Joplin’s original growth. Murphysburg pre-dates the incorporation of the City of Joplin and retains original structures built and lived in by architects such as Joplin born Austin Allen. Allen is responsible for designing many of the national register landmarks within the City. Homes within this proposed boundary are Queen Anne, Romanesque, or Victorian style and date from the early 1900’s.

This proposed survey is based on a visit from SHPO staff in 2001 in which they stated,” Joplin has a wealth of historic residential architecture worthy of surveying. While visiting Joplin, staff walked parts of the residential area immediately west of the core business district, namely along Sergeant and Moffet Streets roughly between 7th and 1st streets.” Staff went on to state “Future survey efforts should focus on historic residential neighborhoods bordering the Central Business district.”

Joplin’s early black community worshiped in any place they could find homes, store buildings, or wherever. More fortunate ones met in simple wooden church-houses. But a 1902 tornado wiped out two of their churches, leaving them homeless. Sympathetic to their plight, Joplin millionaire Thomas Connor paid for construction of three brick churches in 1903. Of the three buildings, only the African Methodist Episcopal (now the Handy Chapel A.M.E. Church) remains. The church and its people are a testament to the faith, sacrifice, and endurance of the African-American community in Joplin.

Leslie Simpson, director of the Post Memorial Art Reference Library and advocate for Joplin’s historic architecture, has always had a soft spot for the old A.M.E. Church. Prominent Joplin architect August Michaelis designed the simple Gothic-style structure; very few of his structures still exist. She has watched with alarm as the building deteriorated, knowing that the aging congregation did not have the resources to restore it. She mentioned her concerns to members of the Joplin Historic Preservation Commission, who began investigating what might be done to preserve the historic church. Simpson worked with Bob Morton to determine appropriate renovations and paint colors that would preserve the integrity of the structure.

Joplin’s Irish Heritage comes alive in the Murphysburg Historic District

Patrick Murphy, Joplin’s most famous Irishman, comes alive on (when else?) St. Patrick’s Day in (where else?) Joplin’s Murphysburg Residential Historic District.

The Dream Theatre Company and Historic Murphysburg Preservation, Inc. (HMP) will stage a free 1880s era interactive living history of the life and personality of Patrick Murphy. Through this living history event, guests will learn about Mr. Murphy’s immigration from Ireland to his Joplin mayoral election, and his well deserved title of “the Father of Joplin.”

While history “comes alive” on St. Patrick’s Day, the Missouri Highway Patrol and Missouri Department of Transportation will teach spectators how to “stay alive”. Both state agencies will be on site to discuss valuable life saving practices via their Seat Belt Convincer, Fatal Vision Goggles, and Distract-a-Match Games.

Self-guided walking tour brochures of the district’s historic homes will be available at the event.

Commemorate St. Patrick’s Day, and Joplin’s Third Thursday Art Walk by visiting Murphysburg Residential Historic District on March 17th from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the intersection of Fourth Street and Moffet Avenue. Events take place in front of the First United Methodist Church (a congregation linking its founding to Joplin’s namesake, Reverend Joplin) at 501 West Fourth Street and The Olivia Hotel (a National Register of Historic Places site) at 320 South Moffet Avenue.

For more information, call 417-483-3116

Photo by Carole Liston

Many times the most impressive structures in a city are its churches. Their outlines grace the city’s skyline and their steeples stretch up to meet the clouds. Joplin is fortunate to be able to count on one such magnificent church among its numbers of architectural treasures, the First United Methodist Church at 501 West Fourth.

The history of First United Methodist Church spans 170 years beginning with Reverend Harris Joplin from which the city took its name. In 1839, Reverend Joplin invited local settlers to his cabin near Turkey Creek and established the first Methodist Episcopal Society in the area. However, it wasn't until 1872 that a group of Methodist organized a permanent church.

Architects Charles Garstang and Alfred Rea designed the majestic entrance, which will be the Dream Theatre Troupe's stage for our Living History of Patrick Murphy.

The entrance features a triple arched portico entry with a large stained glass window above. Romanesque pillars with Corinthian-style capitals support the load of Gothic arches and two bell towers flank the grand entry. The steeple on the southwest rose 100 feet tall in the air before lighting struck in 1963. The cornerstone for the church was laid in 1905 and the first service was held in the congregation's new home on June 3, 1906.Posted by Picasa