Theatre was built in 1891 at 322 St. Louis Avenue, the present site
the McDaniel Building. It was named for a Mr. Baldwin who came to
Springfield from Cleveland and started a stove factory. He headed
the movement to build a theater in the town and the theater was given
his name, even though he no longer had any connection with it by
time it opened. The Baldwin was considered a rival with the Grand
Theater at Center and Boonville until the Grand burned in March
After the burning of the Baldwin on January 6, 1909, there was only
one "important" theater in Springfield, the Diemer on Commercial Street.
The fire in the Baldwin began in the boiler room of the theater and
quickly spread. The Colonial Hotel, located next to the theater, was only mildly damaged because of its
fireproof construction. It also stopped the fire from traveling through
town. Buildings destroyed by the fire were the Baldwin, Dr. J. H.
Nixon's building, photographer A. B. Duncan's building, the restaurant
and fruit store of Charles Sansone and the meat market of A. Clas.
Three homes at Robberson and Water also burned, but it was not known
whether sparks from the Baldwin started that fire.
The Baldwin Theatre was owned by H. B. McDaniel, Frank Fellows, Frank
Curran, Arch McGregor and Peter McCourt. It cost $109,000 to build.
The theater had been the location of many political gatherings, theatrical
performances and benefits. The postcard shows the Baldwin advertising
the play "Sherlock Holmes" playing on November 18, 1903. The
last performer was popular paperback book writer of the day Opie Read.
He performed the evening before the fire.
After the fire, George McDaniel took the four pillars prominent on
the front of the theater and placed them on the driveway of his house
on South Campbell Road.