color-enhanced photograph was taken from one of the upper floors of
the ten-story Woodruff Building. The Woodruff Building occupies the northwest corner of St. Louis Street and Jefferson Avenue near the Public Square, now called Park Central Square. The Woodruff building
was Springfield's first skyscraper and this postcard was probably
issued soon after it was built in 1911. A companion postcard shows the view looking north from the Woodruff
Building and the two copies of the second postcard that the library
owns show postmarks of 1911 and 1912.
The Sanborn Map of Springfield from 1933 (updated in1948) shows that
the main building in the foreground of the photograph was built in
1912. Its address is 317-323 North Jefferson. The Sanborn Map had
no name for the building, merely noting that it was a large brick
building with concrete and tile floors.
The Sansone Hotel, opened in the same year as the Woodruff, can be
seen across St. Louis Street and moving toward the west to the Public
Square. It faces the west, so only its whitish-colored back and brick
side can be seen. Also opened in 1911 was the McDaniel Building at
318 St. Louis Street. It is the closest building on the left side
of the photograph. Note what appear to be three men standing on the
roof of the McDaniel Building.
The old courthouse can clearly be seen in the background of the photograph.
Follow St. Louis Street west, go around the Pie in the center of the
Square and the columned building on the right (or north) side of the
street is the old courthouse. The large five-story Baker Block building
is to the right of the courthouse. The small white building in between
had several tenants over the years.
Two important changes occurred on the Public Square shortly after
these postcards were made. In 1913 a large fire swept the northeast
part of the Square destroying several buildings including Heer's Department
Store. In 1914 the old courthouse in the photograph was torn down
to make way for the new Heer's store. In 1915 the new Heer's store opened and changed the look and character
of the Square. This postcard is a final look at the old Square before
the 1913 fire.