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SMSU students highlight old Springfield in photo project

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A photography project recently completed by journalism students at Southwest Missouri State University highlighted a number of properties in old Springfield, such as City Hall, pictured at right.

The columns in the entry to the 1894 historic City Hall are smooth, carved limestone, trimming to the 3-foot-thick, rough-faced limestone walls.

The building first housed the U.S. Customhouse and Post Office until October of 1938, when it was changed to Springfield City Hall.

After the Historic Sites Board declared the building a historic site, renovation of the interior features was finished to house the Fire Department administrative offices and displays, police and fire training, Solid Waste offices, City Council chambers and the History Museum for Springfield-Greene County.

More photos of historic Springfield places appear on page 17.

A photographic look at

old Springfield:

Students enrolled in Journalism 378, Introduction to Photojournalism, at Southwest Missouri State University, recently undertook a class project in old Springfield.

This page offers some of the results: a look at the diversity of unique properties, uses and architectural styles that exist in central and northern Springfield.


Frisco Railroad

The Frisco Railroad was a contributing factor to the origination of Springfield. Reaching the city from St. Louis May 3, 1870, the railroad provided not only freight but passenger travel. From Springfield, it branched to the north, west and south, making the city a central location for travelers. The last passenger train went through Springfield in 1967, leaving the line to box, coal, scrap iron and other freight trains. The Frisco lines were purchased Nov. 24, 1980, by Burlington-Northern, but the heritage of the Frisco Railroad is preserved by the Frisco Museum, located on Commercial Street.


Landers Theatre

Stars adorn the walk in front of the Landers Theatre, 311 E. Walnut. Contributors purchase the stars for $2,000 to $5,000 each to raise funds for the theater. Springfield Little Theatre, a nonprofit organization, has owned and operated the Landers for six decades, and the organization strives to maintain the theater in as close to its original state as possible. The theater itself was built in 1909 out of the ashes of the Baldwin Theatre, and has presented plays, operas, musicals, ballets and movies during the past 90 years.


Springfield Underground

Dave Hardt, forklift driver for Springfield Underground, helps stock products for businesses who lease sections of the cavern. Springfield Underground was founded in 1922 and operates a man-made cavern 100 feet underground in the northeast corner of Springfield. In addition to producing Burlington limestone, the cavern has more than a million square feet of storage space. Semi-trucks enter the tunnels of the cavern each day to load and unload products.

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