710 N 5th St, Saint Joseph, MO, 64501 $94,250
This brick home for sale is situated on a street of beautiful brick houses in the Robidoux Row district of St. Joe. The district is named after Joseph Robidoux, St. Joe’s founder. He built one of the first apartment buildings west of the Mississippi in the 1840s, which is located a couple of blocks west of our featured home. Families were allowed to stay at the building, called Robidoux Row, rent free while their houses were being constructed. Later, travelers waiting for the ferry to cross the river on their trek west stayed at the building.
According to robidouxmuseum.org:
Covered wagons were backed up to the door and the family’s possessions were carried into one room. This room would serve as kitchen, dining room, living rooms, and bedroom. Toilet facilities consisted of seven or eight outdoor privies or chamber pots under the beds. During the summer time, much of the cooking could have been done outside over campfires. The one room that does have a fireplace could possibly have been used as a communal kitchen during cold weather.
Heat in the rooms was furnished by iron stoves, which were becoming popular around that time. These stoves could have been used for heating and cooking. Every room has a chimney to which a stove could be connected. Light would have been furnished by candles or bowls of fat or lard with a wick. Kerosene lamps were not available until after the Civil War.
Sadly, after Joseph Robidoux’s wife died, he moved into one of the apartments where, in 1868, he died at the age of 85, blind and broke. The building continued to be used as apartments, but fell into decay until restoration began in 1975. It is now a museum.