|City/Town: • Joplin|
|Location Class: • Residential|
|Built: • ~1904 | Abandoned: • ~2016|
|Status: • Demolished|
|Photojournalist: • Billy Wade • Randy Robbins|
This once-grand home, known as the Hoffmeister Mansion in later years, has surmounted to nothing but memories and dust for those that often drove by it going between Joplin and Webb City. Thought to be built around 1904 by the property abstract, it’s not entirely sure how this home got its start. Allegedly the original builder had ties to the organizers of the St. Louis World Fair of 1904 allowing him to retrieve some of the materials from the dismantled exhibits to use in the construction of the home.
It was also known as the Cypress Acres Mansion as the front gates state and for more than a century gave many people that lived there or friends that would visit the greatest memories.
Alexis Ceule had some of her own memories to share about the home, “My mother grew up there from 1948-58. She has hilarious stories of antics on the what was then 80 acres, in the pool, on the tennis courts, and in that huge house. They’d roller skate in the ballroom on the 3rd floor. They had a pet Spider Monkey and they had a well-established banana tree indoors.
Frank and Jean Hoffmeister moved into the home in the 1950s with their three children. The children and their friends made amazing memories at the home up until the time they left the nest. The Hoffmeister Mansion property came with an Olympic-size outdoor swimming pool and later a tennis court making it more than just a house, it was a retreat. In addition to living on the 16 acres, they also ran the Cypress Acres Tennis Club on the grounds as well. The home was filled with antique furniture, original artwork, rugs, and old books. Persian rugs that lay on the vacant homes’ floor were appraised at around $20,000 over two decades ago.
The 6,371 square foot Cypress Acres Mansion and its surrounding acreage stayed in the Hoffmeister family for more than half a century. Fred Hoffmeister passed away in 2000 and then Jean as well in 2008. After Jeans’ passing the estate went on the market where it sat for years, many interested but didn’t have the $1,000,000 check to rehab it. Repairs, asbestos, and lead paint contributed to that huge number. Local entities looked into every viable option to save the historic home with many community members rallying right behind them. But because of the astronomical price tag, it was unfeasible.
In December 2020 the estate of Jean Hoffmeister made the hard decision to sell the home to Schuber Mitchell Home Developers, knowing the future of the Cypress Acres Mansion was grim. Schuber Mitchell purchased the land with plans to demolish the home to make way for a residential housing development project there. The land itself, after improvement, was valued in 2021 at $569,010. Luckily, before the demolition, a salvage sale was held at the estate to preserve as much of the materials as possible. The salvage seller stated in regards to the Persian rugs, “Of course, today’s market has changed and not everyone has a home that these will fit in, so we’re pricing them appropriately. They’ll be anywhere from $100 to $6,000 or $7,000 for some of the better carpets.”
In a way the home has come full circle, being started from recycled materials and now offering itself to be recycled into other properties. A construction crew came in to salvage the wood flooring from the home to use in the restoration of three houses that are a part of the Joplin Historical Neighborhoods Inc. project. The three homes being restored were built by early Joplin entrepreneurs Charles Schifferdecker, Edward Zelleken, and A.H. Rogers as museum houses. The project has been headed by Brad Belk, a community historian. Belk said the floors in all three of the houses will be repaired or replaced with the salvaged material from the Cypress Acres Mansion. Other items that were saved from demise were the antique window locks, storm doors and the cast-iron radiators will all be repurposed in the museum project houses.
Also benefiting from the salvage is Joplin Habitat for Humanity ReStores which will sell some of the materials to the public. “Everything we are going to get from the house we are going to sell in the store, and the proceeds will go to build new Habitat homes. There are old antique sinks, windows and doors. We will take the stair railings and the bookshelves from the home’s library.”
The home came down shortly after with no time to prepare to get some last-minute photos. Now, a dirt lot sits in its place and within the next few years, new homes will take its place.
Gallery Below of Hoffmeister Mansion
If you wish to support our current and future work, please consider making a donation or purchasing one of our many books. Any and all donations are appreciated.
Donate to our cause Check out our books!