When I first visited this late-Victorian beauty in February 2014, it was wearing a lovely shade of blue. The house had been fairly well maintained, though the grounds were somewhat overgrown and in disarray. Otherwise, the house was still beautiful, both inside and out.
Located in the the Rountree neighborhood, the house was built in approximately 1900. Its first inhabitants were the Park sisters, Elizabeth and Alzoa, along with their mother, Clara. The lot was originally part of the George M. Jones addition; in March 1911, the Park sisters subdivided a portion of that addition and created Zobeth’s subdivision. Interestingly, when filing the plat for the new subdivision, the sisters had to declare “themselves to be single and unmarried” before a notary. The Parks lived in the house until at least 1906.
Elizabeth and Alzoa were two of the six children born to Dr. William H. Park and his wife, Clara. William was born in Pennsylvania, but lived in Springfield by 1870. He had his own medical practice, though by 1890 he had gone into business with J.W. Crank and J.G. Davis to form the Crank Drug Company. One of their several stores was located on the corner of Commercial and Boonville, a location that later housed Skaggs Drug Store.
The Park sisters never married, choosing instead to have careers. Both sisters graduated from Drury College near the close of the 19th century. Elizabeth was a teacher for much of her life, mostly in Springfield but also in Pierce City at the beginning of her career. She taught at the Springfield Normal and Business College where, in 1916, she was the dean. In addition to teaching, Elizabeth was also a “special agent” for the Equitable Life Insurance Society which had offices in the Woodruff Building. Alzoa also taught school; in 1916 she had moved to Wyoming, where she was a public school teacher until at least 1930.
Alzoa, the younger of the two sisters, died in Springfield in 1942 at the age of 73. Elizabeth lived another twelve years; she died in 1954, just a couple months short of her 88th birthday.
By 1915, the house was owned by the Anderson family. Arthur L. Anderson was born in Kentucky in 1875, but his family later moved to Missouri. By 1910, he had been married to Gertrude Jefferson for five years and the couple had two children. Arthur was a doctor and had an office at various locations in Springfield over the years, including the Woodruff Building and the Medical Arts Building.
For a time, Arthur’s mother also lived with them; the family was eventually joined by two more children, as well as Gertrude’s elderly father, Benjamin, and her sister Anna. Benjamin was a retired farmer and Anna was a teacher at the nearby Jarrett Junior High School. The home also included, at various times, one or two servants.
Arthur died in 1940 and Gertrude continued to live in the house, along with her sister-in-law Anna, until at least 1959.
At the time of my 2014 visit to the Park-Jefferson house, it had been empty for a while and was looking for a new owner. The house has since been sold and appears to be in good hands. The exterior has been updated with a beautiful new paint color. The grounds have also been cleaned and cleared, making the house easier to view.
The new paint color and the lack of debris around the house makes it look warm and inviting.
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