The YMCA "giving house" is gone

Thursday, December 9, 2010
Crews took down the former Jones/Kleiboecker home at Monett's South Park this week to make room for a new YMCA recreational facility that will be be built on the site. Parts of the home were donated to families and other groups in the community before it was leveled. [Times Photo by Teresa Richards]

The former Jones/Kleiboeker house located at Monett's South Park was torn down this week but not before it earned a special designation among YMCA board and staff members as "the giving house."

"When we purchased the house and adjoining acreage in 2009, the Y Board had hoped to find someone who would move the house to a new location for a family home," said Gordon Brown, executive director of the Monett Area YMCA. "We offered to give the house away at no cost, but moving costs were high and no one accepted our offer.

"At that point, the board decided to see if parts of the house could be recycled for the benefit of area residents, and this has been a successful strategy," Brown reported, "Many parts of the house have been given away for a wide variety of purposes. This has caused our board and staff to think of the house as 'the giving house.'"

According to Brown, the wooden cabinets in the kitchen of the house have been removed and given to the Monett Sportsmen's League. The wooden floor, wood trim and many fixtures in the house were given to a young family to aid in remodeling their home.

The radiators and wiring were given to local residents for recycling and sale. The windows in the house were donated to an area family to assist them in replacing windows that were destroyed by straight-line winds. Former residents of the house were permitted to remove items that had sentimental value from the house.

"Perhaps the most interesting gift from the house is the chain-link fence," Brown noted. "This has been given by the Y to a local Boy Scout for use in his Eagle Scout project, which will result in improvements to the rural Anderson Cemetery located north of Monett. When the improvements are completed, the chain link fence will be moved to the cemetery and installed around its perimeter.

"Having given so much of the house away, we could no longer maintain the house as a safe and secure structure." Brown said. "During November, workmen were at the house to complete necessary asbestos abatement work. Then, it was time to take the house down."

The executive director noted that the house had a long history in the Monett community since it was completed in 1926 by Elmer Ellsworth Meador, whose daughter, Alice Foster, still lives in the Monett area.

"My dad had a dairy farm where the South Park is now located, and he delivered milk to Monett residents in a horse-drawn wagon," Foster recalled. "I can still remember dad telling me that his horse knew the milk route better than he did."

"My dad owned all the land where the Monett South Park is located, and my family lived in a house about 100 feet south of where the Park Casino stands today," Foster stated. "When dad sold 40 acres of his land to the city for a park in the 1920s, we moved a part of that house down the hill to the south side of the site where he intended to build a new house, and we lived in that structure from 1924 to 1926.

"During that time, my dad and one helper built the entire house that was later purchased by the Y, including the kitchen cabinets that have been given to the Sportsmen's League," Foster added. "I can remember roller skating on the concrete porch of that house as a little girl, and my husband and I were married there in the front room, which we called a parlor.

"Of course, I am sorry to see the old place go," Foster said. "It was a place of happy memories as I was growing up. But I'm glad that parts of the house have helped other people, and I know that many families in the Monett area will enjoy the new YMCA."

To learn more about supporting the YMCA capital campaign, contact Gordon Brown at 235-8213, or visit

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