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Victorian-era Houses in Joplin, MO Undergo Historic Roof Restorations

A large and complex roof restoration project is underway in Joplin, Missouri, where two Victorian-era houses will be repurposed to create the Joplin Historical Neighborhoods living history museum. Thanks to the generosity of the David and Debra Humphreys family, the Schifferdecker and Zelleken houses will have new roofing systems that will utilize the same Buckingham Slate that topped the original structures.

Quarried in Virginia, Buckingham Slate is a durable and aesthetically beautiful material that can last up to 150 years. “What makes these tiles unique to other slates — and they are considered to be the Rolls-Royce of slate in America — is there is mica that is in the content of the slate that gives it a glisten or a sparkle that sets it apart from a Vermont slate or a Pennsylvania slate,” said Tony Raleigh, Historic Roofing Specialist at Renaissance Roofing.

Restoration work is underway on the roof of the Schifferdecker carriage house in Joplin, Missouri.

The Schifferdecker and Zelleken houses were built in the 1890s, and extensive research was required to restore these historic buildings to their original design and beauty. Michael Engelbert Griffin, the preservation architect on the project, said the discovery of old photographs was key. “The hips, the details we are getting from these photographs, showed a piece of copper highlighting the ridge lines, so when you look at Zelleken when we’re done, it will be a true restoration. It will look just like it did at the turn of century. A lot of that is authenticity with the goal of teaching what was here. If we can have this rare example where it looks like it did then, it really helps push that cause.”

The Humphreys family is very familiar with roofing restoration projects, as David Humphreys is the CEO of Joplin-based TAMKO Building Products, a manufacturer of roofing materials. Utilizing Buckingham Slate for the new roofing system is consistent with their dedication to the authentic restoration of the buildings that will house the new museum. David’s wife Debra said of the restoration work, “We are very passionate about this project and also we are passionate about education and all that this will provide to the students in our community,”

More information on these ongoing restorations is available from, as well as a video of the restoration work and interviews at

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