Avenue was named after Thomas Hart Benton, one of Missouri's first
two United States senators. The street is a broad thoroughfare with
beautiful homes on the west side and the flourishing Drury College
(now University) on the right or east side. Benton Avenue originally
extended from Commercial Street to St. Louis Street, with the fine houses
becoming smaller where the railroad tracks crossed it in the Jordan
Valley. The Benton Avenue viaduct was built in 1928 for carrying
Benton Avenue drivers over the many railroad tracks. Benton was
a brick street until 1958 when the bricks were covered with asphalt.
This and the second postcard shows
a view from Central Street looking north down Benton Avenue. This
postcard is probably the older view based on the cars showing in
both photographs. The suggested date of 1925 seems reasonable for
this postcard and maybe a little later date for the second postcard,
with Springfield (Central)
High School on the left. The school is not its usual red brick
color but appears to be a gray color in the second postcard. Perhaps
the artist who colored this embellished photograph forgot the color
by the time the print was made.
At the south, Benton Avenue ends at the Benton Avenue viaduct, where it merges into Kimbrough. To the
north it continues through north Springfield. A few of the fine
old homes remain but most have been swallowed up with the expansion
of Cox Medical Center North.