Local family donates steps to Courthouse
Symbolic fossil in the shape of a heart graces one of the steps
The Stehlik family has donated steps to the Barry County Courthouse, which ties into their family history and heritage.
Corles “Corky” Stehlik said earlier this year the Barry County Commission contacted him in regards to the concrete steps on the west side of the Courthouse on the square.
“Those steps had deteriorated over the years due to heavy salting for ice control,” Stehlik said. “After some discussion, it was decided to look at using stone steps, which would be more like the original steps.”
According to Stehlik, the stone steps had been covered when the wheelchair ramp was installed several years ago. Wayne Hendrix, southern commissioner, and Stehlik made a trip to Holiday Island, Ark., to look at products from a stone cutter there.
“Hendrix got an estimate from that supplier,” Stehlik said. “However, it seemed that the stone was going to cost more than the Commissioners wanted to spend.”
That is when the Stehlik family offered to gift the stones for the steps, with one request.
“The request was that the stone come from Phenix Marble Company,” Stehlik said. “Phenix, Mo., is where Herschel Stehlik was born, and his father and brother worked for the Phenix Marble Company until it closed around 1947.”
According to Stehlik, Herschel has fond memories of Phenix, and shared some of those memories in a documentary on YouTube titled, “Phenix: The Life and Legacy of a Town Lost.”
“The Phenix Marble Company closed down due to hard times, and the town of Phenix went with it,” Stehlik said. “However, Phenix Marble Company has been revived and is going strong.”
Stehlik said Phenix Marble Company recently provided steps for the Missouri State Capitol, and the portico on the White House.
“As a way of giving back to the folks of Barry County, my family was happy to gift the stone for the steps,” Stehlik said. “Herschel and Della operated Barry County Lumber in Cassville for 38 years.”
According to Stehlik, Herschel lives with his daughter, Brenda Cardin in Nixa.
“Brenda was a dedicated teacher in Cassville for 20 years, and now sells real estate and lovingly cares for her father, Herschel, and her family,” Stehlik said. “My family and I have operated Barry County Ready Mix for 43 years, providing aggregate and ready mix concrete to Barry County and the surrounding areas.”
Stehlik said his family loves Barry County, and he is pleased to replace the steps to the “Grand Ole Courthouse,” which was built in 1913 out of stone that came from the location where the Cassville Barry County Ready Mix plant sets today.
“A fossil in one of the steps is in the shape of a heart, and it is very fitting and symbolic,” Stehlik said. “My family would like to thank the county commissioners: Cherry Warren, Wayne Hendrix and Gary Schad for the opportunity to participate in this project.”