SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A sprawling 4,500 square-foot ranch-style home, 1308 S. Pickwick Ave. sits at the end of a private drive in the Rountree neighborhood on nearly a full acre lot, waiting for its next owners.

It’s one of the only ranch-style houses in the area, according to Murney realtor Marty Chaney, and it drew Stacy Jurado-Miller and her husband Matt to the property 17 years ago. 

“We loved that it was a ranch,” Jurado-Miller said. “I think ranches are just very livable and we like to entertain and have people over, and so that house has a ton of great open, entertaining spaces.”  

Jurado-Miller said she and her husband lived in a bungalow just a block away from the property on Pickwick before they were married.  

“It was always the house that when we were on nightly walks, the house we admired and it was one of our favorite houses in the neighborhood, even before it was our house,” Jurado-Miller said. 

The home itself wasn’t the only thing Jurado-Miller and her family loved about the property – its location in the coveted Rountree was the only non-negotiable when their family was searching for a bigger house. 

“It’s a mixed-income neighborhood. It’s an open-minded neighborhood,” she said. “It attracts people, I think, who want to have a connection to each other and to Springfield, and so that has been pretty huge for us.”  

Those connections to their neighbors made it easier to give their kids freedom as they got older. 

“I think that it’s that neighborhood has afforded our kids the ultimate childhood,” Jurado-Miller said. “It has felt very safe and it’s made us feel comfortable with letting them have freedom to just wander back and forth to various neighbor friends’ houses and that’s something that I wouldn’t trade for the world.” 

When the Millers moved in, the home was large enough to accommodate their already growing family, according to Jurado-Miller. That’s thanks to an addition made by previous owners.  

According to Chaney, her sister’s family lived in the house before the Millers purchased it and wanted additional space as well. Three additional living spaces were added on – one to the north of the kitchen, another attached to an upstairs bedroom and the third on the east side. Chaney said the remodel took about 18 months to complete and added approximately 1,000 square feet to the overall footprint of the house.  

Jurado-Miller said she and her husband also remodeled parts of the house over the years in a very piecemeal way.  

“We didn’t do things exactly right and certainly not in any sort of, with any sort of consideration for the history of the house,” she said. They decided to do a more comprehensive update in 2021, paying more attention to the exterior style and historic period of the house and marrying them with the interior. 

Built in 1951, the home was constructed in the early years of the mid-century modern style movement. The newness of the style may be the reason why 1308 S. Pickwick Ave. doesn’t look like a typical mid-century home.  

The above ad for Link-McCluer Motor & Supply Co. appeared in a 1920 edition of the Springfield Leader. Courtesy of the Springfield Leader via newspapers.com

It’s unclear if the house was built for a specific person or family. However, just two years after it was built, the family of Springfield businessman Rufus McCluer moved in.  

McCluer’s great-grandfather came from Tennessee in 1835, making the family one of Springfield’s “pioneer” families. Born in 1893, McCluer married his wife Marie in 1923 and raised one son.  

The entrepreneur spent his life in the Ozarks and his efforts landed him on a list of men who contributed significantly to Springfield’s growth in the early 1900s.  

After his service in World War I, McCluer opened Link-McCluer, an auto supplies and auto sales business. Ads for the business place it in the “new Milligan Building” at the corner of St. Louis and Jefferson.  

In the 1930s, McCluer joined Kraft Foods in sales and executive positions in Kansas and later in Texas, where his son, Rufus McCluer, Jr. was born.  

According to his obituary, J. L. Kraft, one of the company’s founders, suggested McCluer move to the production side of the business in 1939. That same year, McCluer organized the McCluer Cheese Company in the Ozarks, opening plants in West Plains, Thayer, Houston and Buffalo.  

Based on information in news archives, all of McCluer Cheese’s products were sold to Kraft. The Buffalo plant was sold in 1952 so McCluer’s efforts could be consolidated. According to one newspaper, “McCluer said that by consolidating its efforts and expanding the West Plains and Thayer plants, which are nearer the sources of whole milk supply, increased cheese manufacturing is anticipated.” 

McCluer, Jr. joined his father in running the company until 1959, when the company was sold to W. J. Bratton, a cheese producer from Emporia, Kansas. 

McCluer, Jr. stayed at the West Plains plant just a few months longer until the changeover was finished, then returned to Springfield. He joined the trust department at Southern Missouri Trust Company in 1960, a company his grandfather, A. J. Eisenmayer, was associated with for nearly a decade. His father was also a member of the board of directors at the trust company. 

The elder McCluer also moved on to other endeavors, including building a four-unit retail shopping center at the corner of Glenstone and Bennett. McCluer Cheese Company offices had previously been in the building. 

By 1965, McCluer had fully retired from his ventures and spent his time at the American Legion, in First and Calvary Presbyterian Church and hitting the links at Hickory Hills Country Club. McCluer passed away five years later.