Phelps House History

The House

The Phelps House in Carthage MissouriThe land to the Phelps House was obtained in 1868 and the home was designed by Colonel William Phelps and completed in 1895 of grey Carthage marble, which was locally mined. The house has many unique features, such as original hand painted wallpaper, combination gas/electric chandeliers, functioning dumbwaiter and a heated cloak closet.

Rich wood paneling, ten unique fireplaces of varying marble and tile, and beautiful stained glass windows are featured throughout the house.

While the Ladies’ Parlor showcases the original furniture, which the Phelps purchased at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, many of the additional furnishings and renovation of the structure have been provided by generous contributors and friends of the Phelps House. Proceeds from tour fees and rentals are used by Carthage Historic Preservation to maintain the historic home and continue its development.

The Family

Colonel William Phelps was born in 1845 in Hinsdale, New York, arriving in Carthage shortly after the Civil War in 1867.

He was the principal attorney for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, a civic leader in Carthage and Jasper County and served three terms in the Missouri General Assembly as a Representative.

Col. Phelps married Lois Wilson at the age of 21 in Northfield, OH in 1868. They had two daughters and a son. Lois tragically died in St. Louis at the age of 48 in a run-away carriage accident in 1894, just a year before the home was completed.

In 1904, the Colonel married Bridget O’Leary and they had two sons, Cyrus and George. Cyrus was killed at the age of three by a car in front of the home. George became a Carthage attorney. Col. Phelps was a member of the Missouri State Senate at the time of his death in 1916.

The Colonel’s second wife continued to live in the house after the Colonel’s death until she sold it to St. Ann’s Parish in 1959, when it was converted to a school. The home was then sold to Carthage Historic Preservation in 1979, beginning the process of restoring the home to its former grandeur.

The Future

In 2011, Carthage Historic Preservation completed its largest renovation project to date. The culmination of a multi-year project, replicas of the original roof tiles and copper guttering were installed. In 2012, with the leaking roof now repaired, work was completed restoring the ceiling plaster in the five second-story bedrooms and the entryway. During the plaster repairs in the solarium, acoustic tiles were removed, exposing the original beadboard ceiling in excellent condition! As we continue our on-going work to restore the home, the group is eager to uncover more hidden treasures!

As part of our efforts in preservation, the Phelps House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is used as a museum and is also available for private events.

Address

1146 S Grand Avenue
Carthage, MO 64836

Contact Information

Public Tours

Wednesdays, April-November
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
(Group Tours by appointment)


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