John Polk Campbell came to the Springfield area in 1829, the only
public road going through Greene County was Boonville Road. It was
part of the 50-acre tract of land he donated to the city of Springfield.
Part of this donation of land was used for the
Public Square and the rest was sold by the city to earn money
to build the county courthouse and make other improvements to the
Square. Springfield's original four streets meeting at the public
square were "Boon Street" on the north side of the square,
St. Louis Street on the east side, South Street on the south side
and College Street on the west side.
Wagons entering Springfield from the north were often completing the
difficult trip from the Missouri River town of Boonville. The name
of the road they traveled acquired the name "Boonville" after the
town. The town was named after the two brothers Nathan Boone and Daniel
Morgan Boone, sons of the famous pioneer Daniel Boone. The two brothers
had been largely responsible for the development of the town of Boonville,
Missouri. The "e" was dropped from the name when it was combined with
"ville." As time passed Boonville had become Boonville Street and
later, as Springfield grew, became Boonville Avenue.
In the early days of the city of Springfield, Boonville was the main
business and residential street. It was the first street in Springfield
to be paved. Unfortunately, the paving could not stand the strain
of traffic and was later replaced by brick. Many old pioneer homesteads
were on Boonville, among them those of C. Gottfried, John O'Day, Charles
H. Heer and John McGregor. The picture in the postcard shows Boonville
facing north from the center of the Public Square. On the left is
the National Exchange Bank and across the street on the right is Nathan's
Clothing Company. Note the trolley and the horse and buggy, dating
the picture to around the turn of the 20th century.