Historic Carthage property back on real estate market

Jan. 24—CARTHAGE, Mo. — The family of the late Carthage media pioneer Ruth Kolpin pulled the plug last week on an online auction by Sotheby's Auction House to sell her property, including the historic mansion on the east side of Carthage built by Dr. John Carter in the 1890s.

Ron Petersen Sr., Kolpin's son and the current owner of the property, said the family made the decision the night before the auction was supposed to be held on Sotheby's Concierge Auction website to cancel the auction after meeting with Sotheby's officials about the opening bids offered by those registering to bid.

"After reviewing the bids yesterday evening, we didn't feel there was enough to open the auction," Petersen said in an email. "As you know that was an option. We have asked The Wilson Team of Realty Executives to again undertake the sale of this great property. Upon consulting with them, they have already lowered the price from $3.1 million to $2.1 million. There is already a lot of buzz about our place at 1201 E. Chestnut in Carthage."

Sotheby's representatives told the Globe on Jan. 14 that the auction process allowed the sellers to call off the auction the night before it was scheduled to start if opening bids didn't come in at a price with which they were satisfied.

According to Rick Bradford, a representative of Sotheby's Concierge Auctions, potential buyers would be asked to preregister and tell the company the price at which they would be willing to open the bid.

The auction would have started Thursday and ended Wednesday, but Bradford met with the Petersens to show them the opening bids Jan. 18. That's when the Petersens pulled the plug on the auction.

If they had decided to proceed with the auction, the Petersens would have been committed to sell even if the bids didn't go up from that highest opening bid.

The 12-acre property includes the historic Carter mansion, also known as the Radio House; Kolpin's carriage house, which is a large second home connected to the Carter Mansion by a tunnel; the Carthage Frisco Railroad Depot, which Kolpin had moved from its original location and restored; and other structures.

The property was featured in an online newsletter called "Zillow Gone Wild" in December 2021 that features unusual properties for sale in the online real estate market Zillow.

The article highlighted some of the quirky features on the property, such as the tunnel between the Carter mansion and the carriage house that Kolpin had installed so she could move between homes without worrying about the weather, and the gazebo Kolpin built over an ancient maple tree stump she had carved into the shape of a throne.


Petersen clarified information that was in a Jan. 14 Globe article about the mansion and the new Ruth I. Kolpin Donor Advised Fund.

Petersen said when Kolpin died in 2019, her will had left the carriage house to him and the Carter mansion and other buildings to the former Ruth I. Kolpin Foundation, which had been an independent family trust since 1999.

When the foundation board decided early in 2022 to give the foundation's money and assets to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Petersen decided to buy the Carter mansion and the other property to create one property.

He said selling the homes separately would have been difficult because of the tunnel connecting them and that it will be easier to sell the 12-acre property as one unit.

The money Petersen gave to the Community Foundation for the Carter mansion brought the Kolpin Donor Advised Fund to about $3 million. The investment income on that money will be given by the fund as grants to worthy not-for-profit organizations.