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Local History 

Springfield Cracker Factory

 Fire station #1, from the Library Archives.Springfield Express, June 26, 1885

The Fire Fiend

"Destruction of the Springfield Cracker Factory -- Loss $12,500

"A few minutes before 7 o’clock last Monday evening the large 2-story brick building of the Springfield Cracker Company, owned by Messrs. Will T. Bigbee and B. H. Smith and located near the Gulf [railroad] depot, was discovered on fire, and despite the prompt efforts of both the fire departments of this city and North Springfield, the building and its contents were destroyed and large portions of the walls had tumbled to the ground in less than two hours.  The energetic work of the firemen, however, saved from destruction the two large warehouses and other buildings near the ill-fated cracker factory.

"The loss on the building, which was erected last fall, is $4,500, and on machinery and stock about $8,000; total amount of insurance, $8,750.

"It is believed that the fire originated from the large oven used for baking. The loss of the factory is much to be regretted, as it was doing a better business than at any former time since it started. Let us hope that it will soon be rebuilt and in successful operation again."

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According to the 1884-85 Springfield City Directory the Springfield Cracker factory was located on the northwest corner of Water and Robberson streets. Robberson was approximately half way between Boonville and Jefferson Avenues.

It seems the cracker factory was not rebuilt.  The next city directory we have, 1888-89, does not list a Springfield Cracker factory. William T. Bigbee, mentioned in the article, is listed as an assistant cashier at the Commercial Bank on the square. B. H. Smith is not listed. The 1884 Sanborn fire insurance map shows a vacant building on the corner of Water and Robberson. The 1886 Sanborn map shows two vacant buildings on or near that corner.  The Library Center has many of the old Springfield city directories available as a reproduction or on microfilm.

 


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