JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri parks officials are considering spending $5 million in federal stimulus aid to upgrade the Scott Joplin State Historic Site in St. Louis.
Joplin, known as “The King of Ragtime,” lived in a flat at 2658 Delmar Boulevard from 1901 to 1903.
Details of the proposed renovation were not immediately available, but the row house is listed as one of a handful of “transformational projects” Gov. Mike Parson’s cabinet is considering funding in the upcoming year.
Cabinet documents obtained by the Post-Dispatch also show agency officials are considering projects including an $85 million office facility at the state Capitol, a new $104 million crime laboratory at the Missouri State Highway Patrol headquarters and a $123 million project to replace a state-run nursing home for veterans.
The Department of Natural Resources, which operates the Joplin site, also is on the cusp of launching major upgrades to a number of state parks. On Tuesday, officials signed off on borrowing $60 million at an interest rate of 2.44% to pay for those projects.
The house was built at about the time of the Civil War and is typical of the tenant row houses of that period. The home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and was donated to the state in 1984.
The visitor center exhibits depict the history of the site and the neighborhood along with additional details about the composer’s life and work. The working player piano in the music room allows visitors to listen to piano rolls of the ragtime era, including some that were cut by Joplin himself.
Joplin lived on the second floor, which is furnished in the style of the early 1900s.
The adjacent Rosebud Cafe, a replica of a turn-of-the-century bar, is available for rent.
Joplin, who was born in Texas, traveled the country before settling in Sedalia to study music at George R. Smith College. While there, he published his first well-known song, the “Maple Leaf Rag.”
Buoyed by this success, Joplin moved to St. Louis in the spring of 1901 and wrote some of his best-known compositions, including “The Entertainer,” “Elite Syncopations,” “March Majestic” and “Ragtime Dance.”