Builder Jessie M. Cain ~ Renaissance Man

Builder Jessie M. Cain ~ Renaissance Man


Who was Jessie Marion Cain ???

February 3rd 1911 Springfield Republican

Printer, Publisher & Builder

Over the last 10 years I have written about many of the well known builders in Springfield – Bissman, Batchelder, Tolliver, etc….  But one builder Jessie Marion Cain was truly a renaissance man.  Although he has done many things for Springfield, his lasting legacy is the houses he left behind.

He moved here with his family in the late 1890’s after losing his first wife. He set up a print shop on Boonville just north of the square.  Besides printing he was also editor and publisher of small newspaper called “Cain’s Thomas Cat.” (1898-1936).  He later wrote and published another small newspaper called “Heart of The Ozarks”. 

By 1910, Jessie had married (widow) Ledora Virginia Palmer and brought her two children into the family.  It was also around this time that Jessie started building houses.  This is one of the first newspaper ads I have found promoting one of his early house for sale in Pickwick Place (Springfield Reublican January 15 1910) .

The printing business really took off which also fueled his desire to build more houses.  The money was rolling in, so much so, that he decided to branch out further.  First,  he decided to get into owning and racing horses. Second he decided to move his ever expanding printing business into the brand new Woodruff Building in 1911.


The Springfield Fair Association & Horses

September 30th 1917 Springfield Republican

The Springfield Fair & Exposition was the fore runner to the Ozark Empire Fair that we know today.

The fairgrounds  were located at the NW corner of National Boulevard and Grand ~ the present day home of Missouri State University.

Jessie and his wife Ledora promoted and participating in the fair. Their goal was to promote Springfield and to give them an opportunity to race his horses.  One of his early successful horses was called “Power Patch”.

As Springfield grew, horse racing was moved next to Dickerson Park Zoo, where the present day Ozark Empire Fair is located today.

The 1920’s

The 1920’s would bring lots of changes! In 1921, he moved his family out to a house he built for them on Schweitzer Road.  In 1926, he built a new building for his printing company at 315 N. Robberson.  By this time he had built and sold 63 houses and businesses. It would be in the 1920’s that he would throw himself into building and selling many homes throughout Springfield.  Although he built all over, he focussed heavily around the Phelps Grove & University Heights Area in his later years.  By the late 1920’s, he had already built around 100 houses and buildings.

The Tudor Cottages

The following homes were built on the NE part of S. Kimbrough and E. Bennett (Ullman) in the years of 1928-29. The homes sold for an average of $4,000.00 around $60,000 today.  But they tend to sell for more than double that 😉

1350 / 1536 S. Kimbrough ~Built in 1928

Purchased by Hugh L & Dixie Morton.

Mr. Morton was a locomotive fireman for the Frisco Railroad.  This home is currently for sale


1356 / 1540 S Kimbrough ~ May 27th 1929 Springfield Leader

Purchased by Clure E. & Betty Nichols.

Mr. Nichols worked for the Railway Express Mail Service

1346 / 1534 S Kimbrough ~ July 1st. 1929 Springfield Leader

Purchased by Oliver V. & Belinda A. Criger.

Mr. Criger was an Attorney at Seals & Criger

615 / 501 E Bennett ~ July 8th. 1929 Springfield Leader

Purchased by Paul F. & Sybil Lohmeyer.

Mr. Lohmeyer was Secretary of Herman H. Lohmeyer Funeral Home

635 / 535 E. Bennett ~ October 14th. 1929 Springfield Leader

Purchased by Ralph W. & Myrtle A. Langston.

Mr. Langston was a sewer contractor.

This is was either 625 / 525  and or 629 / 529 E. Bennett as Mr. Cain built both

 December 6th. 1929 Springfield Leader

 625 Purchased by Benjamin & Amelia Casselman.

Mr. Casselman was a Switchman for the Frisco Railroad.

629 Purchased by Frank T. & Adelia O’Neal.

Mr. O’Neal Managed O’Neal Sales Company.


In 1930 Jessie M Cain built eleven homes on and south of Sunshine in Latoka Heights

September 22nd. 1930 Springfield Leader


As 1931 rolls around Mr. Cain has now set his sights on University Heights

619 / 525 E. Kingsbury (2nd pictured house) ~ June 15th. 1931  Springfield Leader

Purchased by William H. & Margaret Butler. They purchased the home in 1933/34

Mr. Butler was an Insurance agent

611 / 517 E Kingsbury~ April 27th. 1931  Springfield Leader

Purchased by Clarence L & Ida W. Jones.

Mr. Jones was a decorator for Springfield Gas & Electric.

It was around 1932/33 that Mr. Cain had decided to focus mainly on printing and publishing, as I could not find  a reference to any more homes.  That would stand for reason as by 1934 building in Springfield was at an all time low due to the Great Depression. In 1934  Jessie & Ladora sold their home on Schwitzer Road and move to 716 S. Delaware in Pickwick Place.  In 1936 would be the last year that he would publish Cain’s Thomas Cat that he had been publishing since 1898. On June 14 1938, Mr Cain would pass away due to a heart attack at the age of 71.

After 40 years, Jessie M. Cain surely left his mark on Springfield,  from Ozark Empire Fair to the wonderful homes that we still have today.

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