Local columnist: ‘Time is running out’ for Joplin Union Depot

Wally Kennedy, a longtime reporter for the Joplin Globe newspaper, said it’s “now or never” to do something to preserve the long-closed Joplin Union Depot in Joplin, Missouri.

Kennedy wrote on Friday: “There is a new effort under way to save it. This is the way I see it: Time is running out for the depot. It’s now or never.”

Chad Greer, an architect with Corner Greer & Associates of Joplin, became involved in an effort to save the century-old depot about 13 years ago.

“The only saving grace for the depot was when the city put a new roof on it years ago,” Greer said. “But I saw the other day where a plant was growing on the roof. This is evidence that the depot is degrading. I think it has reached a tipping point. Something needs to be done and soon before it becomes more costly and more difficult to save.”

I couldn’t agree more. We’ve still got time, but not much.

Chaos Brewing at 112 W. Main St. in Joplin will host a community roundtable at 7 p.m. Friday to discuss the depot’s future. It’s being organized by the Downtown Joplin Alliance, Kansas State University and the South Dakota State University’s School of Design.

The City of Joplin hired a firm last year to find a developer to do something with the depot.

Joplin Union Depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places 50 years ago, the first structure in the city to earn that designation.

The depot has been vacant for more than 50 years. In 2021, it was listed on Missouri’s “Places in Peril”  by the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation.

Joplin Union Depot is off North Main Street (aka bypass Route 66 from the 1930s to 1955) and West A Street on the city’s north side. The Broadway alignment of Route 66 also runs just south of the property.

(Image of Joplin Union Depot in Joplin, Missouri, by Jill Sullivan, courtesy of Missouri Preservation)

One thought on “Local columnist: ‘Time is running out’ for Joplin Union Depot

  1. Yet another not-that-elegant a bulding, but certainly part of the history of Joplin and of how the railways were the forerunner of today’s interstate highways and air passenger and air cargo
    networks. My only fear is what a ‘developer’ (one of the most slippery words in today’s lexicon)
    would do when ‘developing’ the depot building.

    With a large open interior, how would that openness be maintained if it were subdivided, with – perhaps – low ceilings for commercial or retail units? At least one station in the UK has been
    turned into an exhibition hall, retaining the airiness created by the high Victorian overall
    steel arch roof. Does Joplin need such a space for exhibitions, public gatherings, shows, etc?

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