A downtown Neosho building that at one time served as Neosho Wholesale Grocery Co. is being considered for the National Register of Historic Places.

A downtown Neosho building that at one time served as Neosho Wholesale Grocery Co. is being considered for the National Register of Historic Places.

The two-part, two and three story structure at 224 N. Washington Street was approved last Friday by the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

The building, located across the street from Twin Rivers Foods, Inc. poultry processing plant, is owned by Jay Burchfield and is commonly known locally as the Shaffer Building, as it most recently housed Shaffer Sportswear Manufacturing.
Debbie Sheals, historic preservation consultant who filed the nomination, said it should take approximately three months to get a final ruling, though she has a good feeling the building will make the cut.

"Now it will go to the National Park Service for the final review," Sheals said. "It's a pretty safe bet it will be listed."
Sheals said she has completed several nominations and of those, the National Park Service has approved all that were approved by the advisory council.

According to Sheals' report, the building was constructed in 1908, to serve as Neosho Wholesale Grocery Co. and was headed by Robert W. Fullerton and Oscar Robinett.

It was one of two wholesale grocery companies in Neosho, with Haas Wholesale Grocery located just down the block.
With Haas Grocery down the road and the Neosho Ice Company located just across the street, the Neosho Wholesale Grocery Co. was the third sizable company to move into the neighborhood, Sheals wrote.

Sheals noted that Neosho's primary manufacturing center was located along Mill Street, which is now North College. However, when the Kansas City Southern railroad located on the east side of town, industrial sites popped up nearby, resulting in the second industrial district along North Washington Street, in which the Neosho Wholesale Grocery Co. was located.

The company grew and at some point in the late 1910s to early 1920s added on an expansion, the three-story southernmost part of the building.

However, the company filed for bankruptcy a short time after, in 1923.

According to the nomination, the facility was purchased in 1925 by Fred North, who opened the North Transfer and Storage Company.

The building later housed the Camp Crowder Dry Cleaners, a sign painting operation, general storage, and served as a factory for The Bone Dry Shoe Company and Shaffer Sportswear Manufacturing.

"The Neosho Grocery Company Building provides an excellent example of the Warehouse/Industrial Building property type," Sheals wrote in the nomination. "It was the original headquarters for one of Neosho's early wholesale grocery companies, and served as warehouse space throughout the period of significance. Historic warehouses of any size or type are rare in Neosho; this building provides a notably large intact example."

Sheals said the National Park Service's approval would mean official recognition of the building as a historic place, and would also allow the owner to be eligible for tax credits if he chooses to renovate the space.
Burchfield, on behalf of Shaffer House, L.P., approached the Neosho City Council in November 2011 to ask that the property be rezoned from M-1 light industrial district to R-3, apartment house district.

He proposed plans to historically renovate the building and convert it into residential one and two bedroom apartments.
The council approved that request.

The same year, Burchfield applied for tax credits for the renovation from the Missouri Housing Development Commission. He did not receive the credits, as most of the tax credits for the area were awarded to projects in Joplin, to aid in the rebuilding efforts after the May 2011 tornado.

The building currently sits vacant.