HISTORICAL POSTCARDS OF SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI
Birdseye View of Springfield, Looking West
This 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.