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Special Collections, SC#30, Connor Towers Motor Hotel Collection. A site inspection of the Connor Towers Motor Hotel by Nancy B. Breme in 1977, along with photographs of the hotel taken in 1977 and newspaper clippings from the Connor Hotel’s collapse.

Collection Information

Collection Number: SC#30

Connor Towers Motor Hotel Collection

March 16, 1977-1978

Collection Size: 
1 Box

Biographical History

In the fall of 1874, J. H. McCoy led an effort to build a hotel on the property of the northwest corner of Fourth and Main Streets, named the Joplin Hotel which opened by April 1875. The facility was sacrificed in 1906 to make way for a new Joplin Hotel. Thomas O’Connor (The “O” eventually was dropped), an Irish immigrant and one of Joplin’s first millionaires, supervised the construction of the new facility. 12-year-old Connor settled into Tiffin, Ohio, as a newsboy after unsuccessfully attempting to enlist in the Civil War. While driving a herd of steers northward, he settled in Seneca and became wealthy, not long after moving to town through land holdings that yielded lead and zinc. Connor bequeathed $100,000 of his more-than-$6-million estate to the City of Joplin for its indigent residents. Connor passed away March 29, 1907 and was buried in Tiffin, Ohio. He passed just before the hotel was finished at a cost of $750,000, his relatives saw to the completion and changed the intended name to that of Connor.

Scope and Content

The Connor Towers Motor Hotel, established in 1906 by Thomas O’Connor, was once nationally famous for its elegance, and for many years was the center of the social and business life of Joplin and the district. Originally the hotel featured 210 sleeping rooms, each with a window, bathroom, telephone and carpeting. The annex was built in 1928-29 from the alley west to Joplin Avenue and brought the total to 400 rooms. The Connor Hotel closed its doors June 20, 1969, under order of court handling financial affairs. September 2, 1971, Steele and Garvin Investment Co. purchase Connor Hotel and set out plans for making renovations. Only the main floor would reopen on November 7, 1972, and the Hotel would continue to struggle trying to reopen the rest of the hotel. On June 14, 1978, Library Land Holders Inc. purchased Connor Hotel and awarded a contract for demolition. Set to be demolish in November 1978, the Connor Hotel collapsed without warning while preparations were being made the day before it was scheduled to be imploded. Three workers were trapped inside during the time of the collapse, only one survived, Alfred Summers, being rescued 82 hours after the incident.


The Joplin Globe

Nawey B. Breme – Site inspection

Frederick J. Breme - Photographer of Connor Towers Motor Hotel

Preview the Collection

Preview the Collection

Collection Inventory

  • “Connor Towers Motor Hotel – Site Inspection” folder by Nancy B. Breme – March 16, 1977
    • Connor hotel artifacts in the Joplin Public Library – pamphlet
    • Photographs of exterior and interior  - March 16, 1977
    • Site Inspection papers by Nancy B. Breme – March 16, 1977
  • Newspaper articles and clippings
    • Jan. 30, 1966 – Joplin Globe, “Connor Elegance Recalled” (2 copies)
    • Nov. 5, 1978 – Four-State Focus, “R.I.P. Connor Hotel: 1906-1978”
    • Nov. 5, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Grand Lady of the Past”
    • Nov. 10, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Demolisher Outlines Demise of Connor”
    • Nov. 12, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Dozens of Volunteers Respond to Emergency”
    • Nov. 12, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Connor Collapses Without Warning”
    • Nov. 12, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Patrolman is Lucky he Passed Violation”
    • Nov. 13, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Airbourne Perspective”
    • Nov. 13, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Joplin Man One of 3 Missing in Connor Rubble”
    • Nov. 14, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Dog Enters Search for Men Trapped in Connor Ruins”
    • Nov. 15, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Long Saturday’ Ends – Worker Survives 82-hour ‘Burial’ in Connor ruins”
    • Nov. 15, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Psychic ‘Saw’ Victims Alive in Connor Building Rubble”
    • Nov. 16, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Search Efforts Continue”
    • Nov. 17, 1978 – The Joplin Globe, “Saga Ends With Recovery of Bodies”
    • The Joplin Globe, “Summers Prayed, Searched for Escape”
    • The Joplin Globe, “Connor”

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