In the News:
Published May 26, 2007
Late doctor’s family gather at childhood home for auction
— By Derek Spellman
For the city, it is a relic of
Joplin’s bygone boomtown days.
For one family, it was home.
Seven of the late Dr. Irvine
Kilbane’s eight children and stepchildren made a final pilgrimage to Joplin this
week for the sale of their father’s house at 420 S. Byers Avenue. Known as the
Schwartz house, the 117-year-old brick piece of history boasts a striking square
corner tower, stone lintels, a chimney pot and stained glass.
Kilbane and his wife, Jo,
purchased the home in about 1963 and used it both to anchor their robust family
and to house an impressive collection of antiques. Kilbane used the carriage
house that was built on the property in the late 1890s as a medical office.
Both buildings and the property
sold for a total of at least $115,000 on Saturday afternoon after a public
auction. Family members declined to say what the final sale price was. A portion
of the furniture and antiques also were sold via a separate public auction.
“You are not only (moving) out the
furniture, you are (moving) out the memories,” said Bobbi Pauline, Kilbane’s
stepdaughter, who lived in the house for six years before moving to California
Pauline recalled the house as a
place that was “always filled. There was always a meal being cooked.”
It was the center for a vibrant
The Kilbane children used to
cruise Main Street, catch fireflies in the yard or play in Kilbane’s office when
he was through with work, Pauline said.
“The girls who worked in the
office were like extended family,” she said.
David Rosenak, one of the eight
children, said he never lived in the house because he was serving in the Air
But he frequently visited the
house, which he said helped his parents fulfill their dream of building a great
“I have been here many times,” he
One of Rosenak’s favorites was a
Victrola in the shape of a grand piano. And there was the dining-room table,
which could seat 25 people with all of its 10 leaves.
The table was among the house
furniture and antiques sold at auction Saturday. The Kilbane collection included
items such as fine china, carved wooden chairs, toys, an organ, antique stoves
and sewing machines, and “photo tins”, or photographs on tin plates.
The Kilbane children are now
scattered across the country in states such as California, New York and Georgia,
The sale of the property will
probably mark the last time the family will gather in Joplin, she said.
“It is sad,” she said of the sale
of the house.
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 into a medical office and
surgical room. Kilbane purchased the house from Grantham’s widow about 1963.
When Kilbane died several years ago at age 89, the family decided to clear out
the house and put the property up for sale.
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Chris Fricker, of Fricker Auctions, based out of LeRoy, Ill., holds up
pieces of history collected by the Irving Kilbane family. The home at
420 S. Byers Ave., was auctioned off on Saturday, along with furniture
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