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History of the Yellow House

The Yellow House itself is an historic building. The premises which house the Community Arts Center have a rich and colorful history. Our account of this history dates back to 1853, when President Franklin Pierce granted to the widow Mary Maddox a tract of land which included the property where the Yellow House now stands. In 1858, Josiah Howell, for whom Howell County is named, purchased the land to establish a county seat.

Twenty-eight years later, the plot of land was purchased by another founding father of West Plains, William J. Zorn. Zorn was a prominent merchant and banker, and contributed immeasurably to the cultural life of the fledgling settlement. He managed an opera house for more than twenty years. He also owned one of the area's first newspapers. In 1903, William Zorn built the house which is now home to the Community Arts Center.  Since the time of his ownership, the Yellow House has been a landmark in the downtown area. 

  Read more about the history of the Yellow House: The Yellow House, As We Knew It  by Dana and Micky Leake


"...we should speak a little about the Zorn family. They lived on Cleveland, in an old house of antique design. It's still there, and has a kind of Victorian look to it, sort of a lot of gingerbread, you might say. It's a real nice place still, and it has gone through a number of hands lately. It's the first house west of the parking lot there on Jefferson and Cleveland. Now it's painted bright yellow, and it houses the Yellow House Community Arts Center."

From West Plains As I Knew It, by Robert Neathery.
Elder Mountain Press, 2001

The Yellow House Community Arts Center, 209 W. Cleveland, PO Box 21, West Plains, Missouri 65775
The Yellow House is a project of Ozarks Resource Center, a not-for-profit organization
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