|City/Town: • Joplin|
|Location Class: • Commercial|
|Built: • 1926 | Abandoned: • 2012|
|Status: • Abandoned|
|Photojournalist: • Billy Wade|
Redings Mill Pool
The magical property nowadays knows as Ardes Villa wasnt always called this and some might not know the property is actually about a century old. Starting out as the Redings Mill Swimming Pool in Joplin Missouri was planned as a huge resort property. With cabins, a pool, and activities for all the family and friends in the Joplin area. Constructed in 1927 during the era of holistic healing, it was filled with “pure Ozark spring water” treated with chlorine. It was 25 cents per person for a day of swimming and enjoying the luxury of the Reding Mill Resort area.
Advertised as the “Southwest’s Largest Pool” it was THE event spot in the Redings Mill/Joplin area. Throughout the years some of the events included parties, graduations, reunions, contests and much more. One of these contests was the Bathing Beauty Contest of 1929. Fit with a runway and lights girls all throughout Missouri and Jasper County registered to win up to $100 in prizes. The winner was Miss Maurice McFarlane, a 16-year-old from Webb City. Awarded with the title of ‘Miss Missouri’ she would go on to compete the next weekend in the Kansas and Oklahoma contest. The Red Cross chapter would utilize the heavy traffic at the pool to host life-saving demonstrations for Joplin area residents.
Accompanied by a large bathhouse the entire pool area allegedly had a capacity of “1000 people”. It was just a few years after it was built that it had undergone a renovation being repainted and a soft drink fountain installed inside. Patrons could swim, dance and picnic the day away with bus service that could take them to the nearby tennis courts, casino and other amenities. Roy L. Creamer was the manager in its early days and deeply cared about the success of the business doing anything he could to bring in guests.
But for a reason unknown at this time, the Redings Mill Resort closed in 1986. The buildings were put up for auction the following year to give them a change at reopening. Were unsure if another entity was able to purchase it in the time after its closing until 1994 when Arde Khaleghi purchased the property.
Ardes Villa Photos When It Was Open
Arde Khaleghi, an Iranian immigrant got into the restaurant business in 1977. He and his wife Patricia saw something in the former Redings Mill Pool property that apparently no one else did at the time. It was as they stated “an eyesore and looked hopeless” except to them. They saw the potential beauty and characters hidden beneath years of overgrowth. Over the next 3-5 years, they embarked on a lonely journey to slowly restore the property into their dream restaurant. Since the Redings Mill land sits in a flood plain local banks refused to provide loans, the couple was on their own. They sold everything and proceeded to put their own handwork to tear down, build up, clean, paint and stain. But in addition to saving a historic structure they also change the politics of the area allowing flood insurance and loans to become available for the surrounding areas in the future.
Opening official in 1997 as Arde’s Villa, the grounds contained a beautiful French Garden and Gazebo for weddings and parties. Inside Arde’s Villa was an elegant private dining room with a 15 person capacity. Details of the space included a 6 ft chandelier, a 9 foot gold mirror and European-style fireplace adding class to the establishment. With chairs and furniture from France and dishes made from Europe the atmosphere took felt like fine dining in the streets of Italy.
Having seen much success with Arde’s Villa he opened up a second location in Springfield Missouri in 2002. Arde put so much effort into his work making sure he put “a personal touch into every order.” But Arde who had poured his heart and soul into his restaurants for almost forty years would retire in 2012. Determined to keep it alive he offered to donate the building to the Redings Mills Board or the historical society but no one stepped up. He closed his restaurant reluctantly and put the property up for sale. With no prospective buyers, the property sat abandoned for almost a decade with vandals wreaking havoc breaking things and placing graffiti in any empty spot.
Khaleghi sold the property in 2017 to Paula & David Papen who began to clear up debris and trash that had accumulated over years of abandonment. Their dream was to reimagine the space as an event/nature center, something perfect for the diverse habitats nearby. But unfortunately these plans never fully came to fruition and the property continues to sit abandoned, waiting, wondering if it will ever live a luxury lifestyle again.
Gallery Below of Ardes Villa
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