Tribute to Veterans
A fund for the memorial campaign was discussed at meetings of the Robert S. Thurman Post of the American Legion and the women’s auxiliary, according to The Joplin Globe Archives of 1920.
Dated June 26, 1923, City of Joplin Council Bill No. 9267 and Ordinance No. 8267, verified the results of the Special Election on June 24, 1923, in the City of Joplin, Missouri, “…for the purpose of submitting to the legal voters of the City of Joplin a proposition to increase the indebtedness of the City of Joplin, $250,000 for the purpose of constructing a building for public meetings and assemblages to be known as ‘Memorial Hall’, and to purchase the necessary land upon which to construct said building…”, the vote was as follows:
Total votes cast = 2677
- Yes Votes = 1999 (75%)
- No Votes = 678 (25%)
75% voting in favor (1999) and 25% voting against (678)
Descriptions about Memorial Hall in the 1924 Joplin Globe Archives stated that plans called for a two-and-a-half-story structure with the front-facing 8th Street. The front entrance will have four pillars, and the building may be used as an opera house and convention hall. Construction started this year with the Thurman Post, American Legion laying the cornerstone during a ceremony of the state convention held in Joplin.
In October 1925, The Joplin Globe reported that nearly 2,000 people attended the dedication ceremony for Memorial Hall. A memorial plaque was installed in the hall, stating:
“This building was constructed by the citizens of the city of Joplin as a memorial to all of those who, as members of any branch of the military or naval service of the United States, have given their lives and services in behalf of our country in all wars in which it has been engaged.”
Memorial Hall has served as the mainstay to welcome home our soldiers and provided a gathering place for veterans’ activities and meetings. In October 2021, Memorial Hall, located at 212 West 8th Street, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are five Memorials on the property and are currently located in the main lobby of the hall, as well as on the outer perimeters of the building. They include recognition of the Spanish-American War Veterans, World War I Memorial, World War II Monument, Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam Conflict.
In the proposed design, these memorials will be centrally located near the front of the renovated Memorial Hall. Plans are for the City to vacate 8th Street, allowing more of a plaza in the front of the hall. It will be named Veterans Way.