The properties were bought in 1958 by the Pattersons' parent, Dr. Donald Patterson, a well-known family physician here. It's been a tough decision to sell it, the couple said.
But with all the demands on their time, they just cannot take care of the property anymore. In addition to spending 12 years replacing cracked plaster walls, restoring wood floors and trim, fixing the roof and other chores, "this has been a lot of yard to maintain," which takes him about three hours to mow, Michael Patterson said. That's why, a couple of years ago, they moved in order to have a more modern family home, thinking they could sell the house to another family who would cherish it as much. "I have spent every weekend here trying to mow this place and weed-eat it, and I am just to the point that I am just almost at wit's end. I want to find someone who will love it and repurpose it and maintain the integrity of the property," Michael Patterson said. Michael Patterson talks about the land surrounding his historic house during a recent interview. He and his wife hope that plan for a student apartment development would be a way for the home to be preserved. The development plan is before the Joplin Planning and Zoning Commission, but has received opposition.
They put the house on the market to sell as a family home, but had no takers. They called all their relatives, but again, no one wanted to the aging house, they said. Developers expressed interest but they would demolish the limestone Craftsman-styled house built by one of Joplin's earliest mine operators and bankers, Alfred C. Benson appreciated the historic style of the house and its story and came up with a plan that would give the place that new life the Pattersons said they want. That proposal, to build apartments at one side of the property and repurpose the house as a meeting place for nearby Missouri Southern State University or its students, met with opposition from the Doyles and other neighbors as well as local historians at a recent zoning hearing for the plan. The rezoning request had to be put on hold because of some technicalities, but Benson plans to pursue it again when it is rescheduled for a decision by the zoning board, perhaps next month. Michael Patterson said the Moores, who moved here to pursue mining and banking interests during Joplin's lead and zinc boom, started building the house in 1916 and finished about 1919. "He used a lot of the laborers who were from his mines. He pulled a lot of the guys who were from the old country in Europe to do the stone work with limestone," he said. "Recently someone said there is no way the house could be recreated the way it is because no one knows how to do the stone like they did." The first floor and basement were constructed of poured, reinforced concrete. Moore owned Miners Bank, which originally was located at Fourth and Main streets next to what then was the Joplin Hotel. Both were razed for the construction of what became the Connor Hotel. Miners Bank was rebuilt at Fourth Street and Joplin Avenue. Moore had the Diebold vault from the original bank moved to the house, where it was installed in the basement and the rest of the house built around it. Ponds north of the Michael and Margo Patterson home property would not be disturbed by the apartment complex proposed for the area, according to the developer whose plan is before Joplin's zoning board. "So the Miners Bank vault is in our basement because Mr. Moore had it brought down here when he built the house. He kept all his mining rights and paper work, etc., here at the house," Michael Patterson said. The plans for the house were adapted from a design by Gustav Stuckley published in 1915 in a magazine. The Moores modified the design somewhat to fit the site and put a rolled roof on it, modeled after thatched roofs. "The rolled roof on the house was built because the Moores had lived in Europe and Mrs. Moore loved the thatched roofs in London," Michael Patterson said. Years before a house was built on the property, its water drew people there. "Not only does it tie into the more modern history of Joplin, but when you look back to the 1840s and 1850s, the site is next to the Great Western Spring, which a lot of people don't know even exists," Michael Patterson said. "A lot of people did, but it's kind of gotten lost. It's the only natural spring that feeds Turkey Creek," Michael Patterson said. The spring was known as a gathering site for Native Americans before white pioneers came to the region.
Though it is reported in documents and old newspaper stories to be on the Jameson-Pinkard property next door where the Doyles live, the property lines were redrawn at one time and the spring now is on property owned by Larry and Nora Ancell. They use the spring to feed ponds located north of the Patterson property. Even into the early 20th century when the Moores first acquired the property, people on horseback and in wagons stopped at the spring to drink and to carry water back to their homes.
The spring is on an old stagecoach route, and Margo Patterson said there are still wagon ruts near the spring.