C Street

Decades, West Commercial (C Street), Woodland Heights, Springfield, Missouri

Decades, West Commercial (C Street), Springfield, Missouri

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

C Street

Commercial Street, or C Street, as it is affectionately called, began life when the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad came to Springfield, Missouri. It bypassed the existing town and built its operating center as well as assembly and repair shops a mile north of town. A new town sprung up around the railroad depot. North Springfield, as the area was known, remained separate from its bigger neighbor from its birth in 1870 until it merged with the City of Springfield 17 years later in 1887.

The street abuts the railroad along almost its entire length becoming the commercial and industrial hub of this new city. Many businesses moved north to do business with the railroad. Bars, hotels and restaurants were opened to cater to the travelers, rail personnel as well as the local inhabitants.

Everything and everyone in the neighborhood was reliant on the railroad. In 1873 the repair shops of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad (Frisco), which had merged with the Atlantic and Pacific, covered a 40 acre site. This, though, was just the beginning. By the time the Gulf Railroad merged with the Frisco around the turn of the century additional repair shops were needed. The West Side Shops, as these were known, opened on July 5, 1909. The lighter repair work was moved to the original North Side Shops. By 1926, the railroad was employing between 1200 and 1500 men in three shifts a day just in the repair shops producing a locomotive a day.

After World War II the Frisco began the change to diesel engines. With this transition the shops of North Springfield were no longer required and C Street, along with the rest of the neighborhood, started a slow decline. In the early 1960s there was a marked movement of the population southward. The bars, hotels and restaurants were no longer needed. The once vibrant area was all but abandoned.

Pizza House, East Commercial Street (C Street), Woodland Heights, Springfield, Missouri

Pizza House, East Commercial Street (C Street), Springfield, Missouri

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

By the 1970s, the Commercial Club, originally founded in 1928 as boosters of the C Street area, had fueled interest in the renewal and renovation of the historic street. It was designated a local historic district in 1978 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Today, C Street has become home to an eclectic and colorful mix of independent businesses as can be seen from the accompanying images. Soup kitchens and homeless centers, though, are also located on C Street. Places such as The Kitchen, the Missouri Hotel and Salvation Army remind us of what C Street had become before its rebirth.

Pedalers Bicycle Museum, East Commercial Street (C Street), Woodland Heights, Springfield, Missouri

Pedalers Bicycle Museum, East Commercial Street (C Street), Springfield, Missouri

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

Summary
C Street
Article Name
C Street
Description
Commercial Street, or C Street, as it is affectionately called, began life when the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad came to Springfield, MO.
Author
Publisher Name
Mark Summerfield
Publisher Logo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.