I get an eerie feeling when I am downtown Springfield, Mo. Last night while trying to sleep I was thinking about how odd it is. I even mentioned it to a friend the other day and she said she felt the same way.
While I was lying in bed thinking about it, it dawned on me that something tragic must have happened there way back when. I could almost see a cowboy step out of a salon and challenge me or whoever to a duel, then a tumble weed drift across the road. You know, kind of a High Noon style with the western whistle in the back ground.
I feel like it is a ghost town, but not the abandoned mining town type but actually where ghost wander type.
Well, I just had to do some research and listen to this…
Apparently, the Trail of Tears goes through Springfield (1838).
Of course the Civil War was played out here as well. (1861-65)
Now check out what Wikipedia says about my cowboy duel…
“On July 21, 1865, Springfield helped give birth to the Wild West era when the town square was the site of the nation’s first and only recorded duel shootout, a “quick draw” duel between Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt Jr.”
And that was right in Downtown.
But that’s not all.
I heard about this one from a friend a little while ago. It’s absolutely horrible. Again, from Wikipedia…
“On April 14, 1906, a mob broke into the town jail, then lynched two men: Horace Duncan and Fred Coker, for allegedly sexually assaulting Mina Edwards. Later they returned to the jail and lynched another man, Will Allen, accused of murder. They were hanged and burned by a mob more than 2,000 strong in the town square. The men were hanged on the town square from the Gottfried Tower which held a replica of the Statue of Liberty. In the immediate aftermath, two commemorative coins were reportedly issued. Evidence suggests that all three men were innocent, including testimony from Duncan’s and Coker’s white employer. The lynching sparked a mass exodus of African-Americans from the area, who still remain a small minority demographic in Springfield. A small plaque on the southeast corner of the square is the city’s only reminder.”
That’s all I found for now and I think quite enough to explain the eerie feeling I get when I am Downtown. With all its history and culture and fine cafés and pubs and museums and shops, the streets seem to be strangely empty. Of course I haven’t been there at all times of the day or night. But I have been in other Down Towns and they were bustling with people at all hours.
They are redoing the center circle still. The DHS office is on that circle there in the middle of Down Town. When I was there applying for Food Stamps and Medicare a couple tried to back me up into the single stall bathroom right in front of the security guard who didn’t seem to care. Thankfully I had the automatic reaction of stepping forward into the ladies face rather than back into the bathroom where she and they guy she was with could have locked us in.
If you’ve been Down Town Springfield, Mo, then how do you feel when your there?
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