SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — In the 1930s, the Queen City limits were much different. The city stopped at Sunshine to the south and Glenstone to the east, and just north of Springfield’s first country club sat a subdivision aptly named Country Club District.  

The subdivision would house multiple historic properties, including 1246 South Delaware, which would become the family home of a well-known architect nearly 30 years after it was built. 

Currently up for sale, the house was built by Thomas Joshua Tolliver (also known as T. J. Tolliver). Having recently completed a home nearby on Catalpa, Tolliver purchased parts of lots 49 and 50 in Country Club District in 1932 for the construction of 1246 Delaware.  

According to local realtor and historian Richard Crabtree, the home was built between 1933 and 1934 and its first owners were Charles S. and Hattie M. Evans.  

Charles Evans managed Evans Drugs in Springfield. The home’s next owners were Matthew and Helen Kerr. Matthew Kerr was part owner of a saloon on Springfield’s square called “Kelly and Kerr.” The Kerrs would live in the house until 1962.  

When the Kerrs sold the home, they sold it to a man who would become one of Springfield’s best-known architects. His name was Ed Waters.  

A native of Vandalia, Missouri, Waters served in the United States Army in Japan during World War II. He was the chief clerk of the First Cavalry Band, which paraded for General Douglas MacArthur and other foreign dignitaries. 

After he was honorably discharged, Waters returned to Missouri to attend Washington University in St. Louis. He pursued a passion for architecture, studying under a professor who had once been a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, and attending a guest lecture given by Wright himself. 

In 1952, Waters earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture and moved to Springfield. He joined the firm of Johnson Robinette and designed several homes in the next decade, including a house for a local pediatrician – a house whose design was heavily influenced by Wright’s work.  

By February 1962, Waters had co-founded an architectural firm with Bob Marshall. They were later joined by Bill Woody and the trio would grow Marshall Waters Woody into one of southwest Missouri’s most successful firms over the years.  

Waters had a list of architectural accomplishments, including:  

  • Driving the design of hundreds of McDonalds restaurants 
  • Drafted plans for nearly 100 Army and Air Force Exchange Service locations on 40 different bases 
  • Professor of architecture at Drury University 
  • Founding member of the Springfield Architectural Society 
  • Served as president of the local American Institute of Architects chapter in 1965 

In addition to his career, Waters was active in the Springfield community, serving with the Springfield-Greene County Library, Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Contractors Association and several other civic committees and boards. Waters was also a member of the Abou Ben Adhem shrine and served as a drum major in the shrine band for several years.