Fairbanks home to become historical site

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– City Council recently approved a resolution to make the “Fairbanks House” on Delaware Avenue a historical site.

The Fairbanks family collected artifacts from old Springfield buildings and combined them to make a house design. Each room has a story to tell.

“Any stone that you see that kind of rough, rusticated pattern were steps from the front at First Presbyterian Church,” Paden Chambers said.

Chambers is the chair of the Springfield Landmarks Board. Chambers says architect Wilmer Thompson helped build this home for James and Golden Fairbanks.

“James was an insuranceman here in Springfield but he’s probably most well known because his father was Jonathan Fairbanks, our first superintendent for Springfield Public Schools,” Chambers said.

Most of what you’re seeing comes from recycled building materials in the 1930s.

“Came from like a quarry,” Chambers said. “Being in the Depression the idea of trying to use what you have and also less expensive.”

When you walk inside, you’ll see beams in the living room. Some of them came from the Historic Clarke House on Mount Vernon Street.

“That house is obviously no longer in existence and that house actually served as a Civil War hospital,” Chambers said.

Next is the den, which used to be James’ garage – untile former Chief Juvenile Officer for Greene County, David B. Woodruff, bought the property with his family.

“This was the original opening for the garage,” Chambers said. “There’s original window here and here, has these really large beams that you see above all of the openings. A really neat, little cozy room.”

In the dining room is a carved mahogany fireplace, which comes from what was Benjamin Massey’s home on Walnut Street – a former historic site.

Massey was a well-known Springfield attorney.

“Mr. Thompson actually built one of the houses where the Massey house was over in Cordova court. So kind of a full circle if you will,” Chambers said.

Go upstairs, and you’ll bump into a bathroom still in good condition from when it was put together.

“It has the original black, glazed tile, has these really nice tudor kind of arches, has the original hexagon flooring.”

And the backyard still has some Fairbanks family features.

“There’s two columns that were part of a larger arbor,” Chambers said. “Several of the stone came from the Josiah Keet place.”

Keet was a Springfield businessman who lived on Saint Louis Street.

The pool that you see was put in by the Woodruff family.

But the Fiarbanks literally left their mark on the home before selling it – one portion of the exterior wall has ‘Golden’ and ‘Fairbanks’ engraved in it.

The Fairbanks house has a new owner, but they did not want to appear on camera. And I’m told there might be a historical plaque outside the house soon.

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