Schroeder House
research by
Jim Bousman
    M.A. Schroeder was one of Miami County and Paola’s most distinguished citizen.  He was
    admired by the people of the county for his personal characteristics, honesty and his public
    spirit.  He was know to have assisted in many  worthy  enterprises: two of which are the
    subject of this short narrative.

    Morris Ammon Schroeder was born December 25, 1858, at Redding, PA. and died
    December 16, 1926 at Paola, KS.  He arrived in Kansas on June 7, 1879 and began work
    as a harvest hand.  He worked on  a farm near Eudora before riding with the Eudora
    Lutheran minister through Paola to Block.  On the return trip, he stopped in Paola and
    decided this is where he would make his home..

    Mr. Schroeder’s first impression of  Paola was that it was a “queer place” because of its
    board sidewalks and that farmers come to town on horseback and in wagons with splint
    bottom chairs with quilts for cushions.   He started working for James Wallace selling organs
    and since Mr. Schroeder was an accomplished musician, he organized music classes which
    he taught in Paola, Louisburg, and Fontana.

    On September 14, 1880, he married Ellen Stahl of Spring Hill.  Soon after their marriage,  
    Mr. Schroeder began his long career in the lumber business.  He started his career working
    as a driver at the West and Bigelow lumberyard.  After a few years, he owned his own
    Miami County Courthouse

    The Miami County Courthouse had several locations during its early years.  For years there
    were discussions of  the need for and where to build a new court house.  Finally, in 1897
    the state legislature passed a special court house bill into law authorizing the County
    Commissioners of Miami County to make a tax levy for two years not to exceed $45, 000 to
    build, equip and furnish a new court house in Paola.  In April, 1897 the County
    Commissioners purchased the property for the new court house from M. A. Schroeder for
    $4,100.  This amount was only $100.00 more then he paid for the property.  A condition of
    the sale was that he was given 90 days to remove his stock of lumber and  the buildings
    from the lot.  Mr. Schroeder hired a crew of men at his own expense, cleared the land,  and
    delivered the property to the county within the 90 day period.

    Shelter House, Wallace Park

    During his life in Paola, Mr. Schroeder was active in civic affairs.  He was on the city council,
    was city treasurer for a term, and served on the Park Board.  As a member of the Park
    Board, he was especially interested in the improvement and  beautification of Wallace
    Park.   Soon after the city  purchased the land for the park, Mr. Schroeder presented the
    idea of building a shelter house.  As a result, the ladies of the Up to Date Club donated the
    first $50.00 to encourage the building of a shelter house.  Nothing was done to further the
    project until Mr. Schroeder designed and  planned the building of the shelter house.  

    On or about July 9, 1915 he made a proposal to the city that if they would extend the
    sidewalk from its present position in the park to where the shelter house was to be build, he
    would at his own expense build a foundation and floor of concrete for a shelter house 24 x
    48 feet.  He proposed the shelter house be located on top of the hill overlooking the lake
    and commanding a view of the park.  Needless to say, Mr. Schroeder’s offer was accepted.  
    At the same time Mrs. Ivah Scheer, a Park Board member, had a plan underway for raising
    money to put a roof on the building that would be 30 feet wide and 60 feet long and
    supported by stone pillars.  

    Mr. Schroeder superintended the building of the shelter house.  In fact, he did much more
    than he originally proposed to do.  After completing the foundation and floor, his artistic eye
    at once saw where adding a small terrace, with a nice stone wall, and concrete steps would
    greatly add to the beauty and completeness of the structure.  He at once employed
    workmen at his own expense and furnished the material to build the wall around the shelter
    house.  While this was being done, the ladies of the  Up to Date Club (The officers are listed
    as: Mrs. Ida Williford, President; Mrs. Alex Hodges, vice-president;  Mrs. L. B. Smith,
    secretary; and Miss Kittie Hobson, treasurer) raised the funds to build the stone supporting
    pillars and roof, thus finishing the building of the shelter house.

    The shelter house was Mr. Schroeder’s gift to the city.  He planned it, furnished material
    and superintended the construction.
    The references for this narrative are from the following sources:
                  Family Histories and Stories of Miami County, Kansas, p.334
                  The obituary of Morris Ammon Schroeder
                  Miami Republican, March 5, 1897 and April 30, 1897
                  Miami Republican, August 1898, Illustrated Summer Edition
                  Miami Republican, July 9, 1915
                  Western Spirit, July 9. 1915
                  Western Spirit, June 23, 1916
    Quotation marks were not used because the narrative is almost  entirely quotes from the sources.
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Miami County Historical Museum - 12 E. Peoria, - Paola, KS 66071 Phone: 913-294-4940
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