The McConnell family traces back to a staunch Scotch-Irish lineage. In 1864 at the age of twenty, he entered Duffs Business College in Pittsburg, PN and took a full course in preparation for an active business life. In 1873 he engaged into the real estate business. In 1889 he chooses Jasper as a new field of endeavor. He established an A.B. McConnell Real Estate Company in Joplin. He is identified as handling some of the most important and valuable proprieties in the area. Mr. McConnell made a specialty of sub-divisions and platting and improving of the same as affected the development of the most beautiful residence sections of Joplin. He also became financially interested in mining operations. Mr. McConnell was an active member Young Mens Christian Association and instrumental in erecting the YMCA’s first building completed in 1901. Architects Garstang and Rea designed the structure that is now the home to the Joplin Globe since 1918. In 1926, Mr. McConnell death notice, reported that he was regarded as the dean of Joplin Real estate dealers.
A.B. McConnell arrived in Joplin just as the town was beginning to lose its rowdy town image in 1889 and established A. B. McConnell Real Estate Company. The home he built in 1899 is an excellent example of a Free Classic Queen Anne. Unlike the Spindlework Queen Anne houses, which have gingerbread ornamentation, McConnell preferred classical details. Note the continuous cornice-line dentils and Doric columns on the wraparound porch.
After Mrs. Nancy Jane (Patterson) McConnell passed away in August 1901, their daughter Veda Estelle McConnell presided over the home most efficiently in constant faithfulness, whose loving devotion to her father was well known throughout the entire circle of her acquaintances. (paraphrased from History of Jasper County)
Wraparound porches were a common feature in Queen Anne houses because it accentuated the asymmetry of the facade. The owners added the back porches to this house in 191O. At the turn of the century, health experts recommended fresh air for the treatment of tuberculosis and for overall health. This medical trend resulted in the addition of sleeping porches to homes. The second story was most often used for sleeping because the air was better at higher elevations and the height provided privacy.
Solomon Newman was the next significant resident of the house, along with his son and daughter. His wife Frances (Strauss) Newman died in 1906 before the family moved into this house. Mr. Newman was associated with Newman’s Mercantile (Department Store) along with his brother Albert Newman, his father Joseph Newman, and brother-in-law Gabriel Newburger. Gabe and Viola Newburger lived across the street at 110 S Moffet, which was razed in 2004 due to extreme deterioration.
The Newmans and Newburgers were significant members of Joplin’s United Hebrew Congregation at 702 S Sergeant. The Newman Department store building at 602 S. Main was restored in 2004 and became Joplin’s City Hall. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.