House of Lords by Andy Thomas



The House of Lords was an establishment tailored to fit Joplin’s exuberance for adventure in the late 1890’s. Within its opulent walls, patrons were offered the finest service for dining, drinking and gambling. It also had, as quoted from the Joplin Globe in 1922, “rooms above where broken flowers from the primrose path sent forth their siren call.” The House of Lords had a reputation known throughout the United States.

It also left a legacy of promoting the arts (though in a different way than the Spiva Center for the Arts). It was at the House of Lords that teenager Thomas Hart Benton became enthralled with the fine paintings hanging on the walls, particularly a painting above the bar depicting a young man’s discovery of his sister in a brothel.

The musical arts were also promoted there. One of the musicians known to have performed was Scott Joplin, the great Ragtime composer. His unique style affected young Percy Wenrich and, through others, Carthage’s James Scott. Joplin, Wenrich, and Scott all became major influences in American music.

That is quite a Legacy.