Lori and Jeremy Haun’s Historic Murphysburg Home
By Savanah Mandeville
Photo by Drew Kimble, 12 Eighty-One Photography
The house at 420 S. Byers Avenue
was built in 1890 for Simon Schwartz,
who was a dry-goods merchant. It sold a
few years later to John Graham, a wholesale grocer who built a carriage house at the rear of the home in 1898. After Graham, the house was occupied by Dr. Samuel Grantham and his wife, who turned the carriage house (photo right) into a medical office and surgical room. Irvine Kilbane purchased the house from Grantham’s widow about 1963.
Lori and Jeremy Haun were destined to live in a Historic Murphysburg home.
A creative couple – Lori is the executive director of Downtown Joplin Alliance and Jeremy is an accomplished comic book writer and illustrator – they feel more at home in a place with quirky features, personal touches and throwbacks to another time than in a brand-new house.
“We have always had a fascination with history, especially with historic places here in Joplin,” Lori said. “Historic homes give you a sense of belonging and groundedness.”
So it’s no wonder they are raising their two boys in a home that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Their house was originally built by Simon Schwartz in 1890. It was later inhabited by Dr. Samuel Grantham, and it’s rumored the doctor repaired gunshot wounds to none other than the Bonnie and Clyde gang.
The house was built the same year as the famous Schifferdecker House, 422 S. Sergeant, and it’s likely the Schwartz house was designed by the same architect, given the signature turret.
Lori and Jeremy Haun have a heart for downtown Joplin and are no strangers to revitalizing historic spaces. They own a building near 9th and Main Street and transformed the once-dilapidated building into retail space and loft apartments. They have their sights set on other downtown renovations in the future.
The Hauns even fully remodeled another historic home they lived in before moving into the Schwartz House. They weren’t swayed by the outdated carpet, garish wallpaper or questionable appliances they found when they first set foot in the house in 2008.
“We both have a way of seeing the potential of a space,” Lori said. “We can spot cool features that might otherwise go overlooked and draw inspiration from there.”
Aside from the house’s stunning craftsman features like ornate woodwork and stained glass, pocket doors and period fireplaces, the biggest draws for the Hauns were the location near the heart of downtown and the 1,600-square-foot carriage house in the back.
Jeremy works from home and, with two young boys running around, a separate work space became a must.
“Transforming the carriage house into Jeremy’s work space was our biggest project,” Lori said. “We spent the first year and half focusing on updating it before beginning on the bigger projects in the house.”
Over the last 10 years, the Hauns have slowly but surely transformed their historic Victorian into a cozy, stylish home that marries modern living with the charm of yesteryear. Big remodels include new hardwoods in the living room and a full renovation of the downstairs bathroom.
Lori’s background in interior design helped her make impactful changes using just paint, DIY techniques and a keen eye for a bargain (she got her clawfoot tub for $20 off Craigslist).
She even transformed the dated kitchen linoleum into a cream and sage checkerboard style floor using simple porch paint.
“People shouldn’t be scared off by old houses. Old houses are totally livable and a great place to raise kids,” she said. “They may require some work, but when it’s all said and done, the effort is completely worth it.”