Joseph Scott Walker, Sr., along with his wife Mary Ellen, were original owners of this house. They moved out in 1903. Joseph was considered a “capitalist” and an ore buyer for the Edgar Zinc Company of St. Louis. He was superintendent of the Sunday school at the First Methodist Church of Joplin and for six years was president of the Jasper County Sunday School Association.
Next came Charles W. McAbee, and wife Louella. He was vice-president of Independent Powder Co. of Missouri and later president of Independent Candy & Manufacturing Co. at 4th and Missouri Avenue.
George Washington Moore resided at the house from 1931 to 1937. However, in 1938, he and wife Ida moved across the street to the “old Schifferdecker home” at 422 S. Sergeant. It is noteworthy because he “swapped houses” with the Hurwitz-Luecke Family that had lived at the mansion since 1920. According to the Webb City Sentinel, George was elected the mayor of Webb City in 1904 and was credited with lifting Webb City out of the mud and otherwise modernizing what was then a rough mining community. George was also an ore buyer and associated with numerous mining and smelting industries. The Moores lived at the Schifferdecker house until 1947 when it was sold to the Hurlburt-Glover Mortuary—a saga onto itself—eventually settled by the Missouri Supreme Court!
Postscript: George’s “palatial home” at 903 S. Madison Avenue in Webb City, built in 1908, is slated to be demolished in the summer of 2023 to make way for new commercial development. Thankfully, the two historic houses in Joplin that are associated with George and Ida listed above have been preserved. After extensive renovations to the Schifferdecker Mansion by Joplin Historic Neighborhoods, George W. Moore remains engraved on the front step.
Bertha Hurwitz Luecke moved into the house in 1938 and remained until her death in 1952. Bertha’s husband, Julius died in 1933; he was a jeweler. Her brother, Dr. Leon Hurwitz also lived at the Schifferdecker House with the Luecke Family. Dr. Hurwitz died in 1936, ten years after being convicted of selling morphine illegally, serving three years in Leavenworth prison, and understandably losing his medical license! At one point, he was also appointed as the City Physician. All of this could explain why Bertha was ready to “downsize” by moving to 411 S. Sergeant.
Bertha’s son, Carl Luecke continued living here until his death in 1969. He was an engineer for the Empire District Electric Company for 41 years. Carl’s wife, Ruth Fleischaker Luecke held a master’s degree in special education and was the first teacher of the sight-saving classes in the Joplin school system. Carl and Ruth continued living here until their deaths in 1969 and 1973 respectively.
In the spirit of keeping the house in the family, Ruth’s nephew, William “Bill” Fleischaker moved into the house in 1975. The extended Fleischaker Family factors prominently in Joplin’s early history and that of the United Hebrew Congregation of Joplin. Several family members continue to serve the community today.
The two-and-one-half-story Queen Anne house has a limestone foundation, a hip roof with lower cross-gables and a side-wrap porch with a gabled pediment. It has brick piers, round wood columns and dentil molding. A transom can be seen over the front door.