Commercial Street, South Side, Springfield

Commercial St. Looking East, Arthur Richard Hill Photographs, The State Historical Society of Missouri, SP0067-f007-065

Heading north, we find the Commercial Street Historic District. I was confused as to why there seemed to be two distinct centers of gravity in Springfield, and I found my answer.

Originally, Commercial Street was the main street of North Springfield, a separate town that was incorporated in 1871 after its location was chosen for the first right-of-way for the railroad, bypassing Springfield, several miles to the south.

Eventually, the two municipalities combined in 1886, becoming a single city, and the railroad even passed through the center of the southern Springfield, just north of its downtown.

But Commercial Street still thrived, and while it suffered the typical decline in the late Twentieth Century, it began to rebound in the last several decades and is now the center of a diverse restaurant district with cuisines ranging from Belgian to Peruvian.

Not surprisingly, due to the district booming in the 1870s, much of the architecture is in the Italianate style.

And it’s always interesting to see that in over a century how identical buildings built in a row become customized by different owners.

There has been very little loss, as well, with just some later in-fill, such as this building below.

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