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Joplin Missouri Driving Tour
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Constructed in 1913 for the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad (SL&SF), this was Joplin's first modern high-rise and fireproof office building and remains one of Joplin's most prominent landmarks The SL&SF occupied the building for several decades and operated a depot on the first two floors. The waiting room, ticket office, and telegraph office were located on the first floor and the dispatcher's office and a cafe were on the second. The remaining floors housed the offices of medical professionals, lawyers, dentists, insurance agents, barbers, and beauticians. The building is now a residence for seniors called Frisco Station Apartments.

St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Building was erected in 1913. It was the city's first modern high-rise office building. The railroad's depot was located on the first two floors and operated until 1955. It is now a senior residence called Frisco Station Apartments.

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Joplin developed into an important passenger and freight railroad hub in the mid-1800s. Eventually, seven major railroads operated in the city including the SL&SF, which was also known as the "Frisco." In 1908, the city was planning to build Union Depot, which is now completely abandoned. The SL&SF did not participate in the discussions and, in fact, tried to stop the depot from being built. The SL&SF wanted to maintain its status in Joplin and prevent other railroads from reaching the city. This effort failed and Union Depot was built in 1911.

Interestingly, the SL&SF didn't construct the building. It was built for the railroad by the Odd Fellows Lodge Hall (the Odd Fellows are a fraternal organization), which recognized the important role railroads had and would continue to play in Joplin and the surrounding area. The St. Louis-based architecture firm Mauran, Russell & Crowell designed the building in the Chicago style. Trains entered the building from Kentucky Avenue and passengers embarked from the east side. At the depot's peak, up to 52 trains per day arrived and departed from the building.

By the 1950s, it was clear that train service at the building was coming to an end. The SL&SF ceased operations in 1955. The next year, the Financial Reserve Life Insurance company, which was based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, bought the building and remodeled the lobby. However, around this time a new medical office building was built closer to the hospital and as a result, many of the SL&SF building's medical professionals moved there. In the coming years professionals continued to relocated to other buildings away from downtown. With fewer tenants it became costly to heat the SL&SF building. Financial Reserve Life Insurance eventually returned to Tulsa and the building began to fall into disrepair under the next owners. The last tenant in the building, a jewelry store, closed in 1987. It appears the building remained vacant until renovation work began 2002 to convert it into a senior housing residence. It reopened on October 23, 2003.

Caldwell, Bill. "From trains to tenants, Frisco Building a solid part of Joplin." The Joplin Globe. March 6, 2016.

"Frisco Station Apartments." SWD Architecture. Accessed May 20, 2022.

Millstein, Cydney E. "St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Building." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. October 22, 2002.

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