WHERE is it Wednesday for August 20, 2014

This week on our Facebook page we shared a photo to see if anyone could identify the location in Springfield.

Where could this be?

Where could this be?

We had quite a few good guesses and several guesses that were correct!  Coincidentally, the photo that we submitted to the Springfield News-Sun newspaper for Monday’s “Looking Back” photo was a photo from the same disaster file: the 1886 Flood.

High Street Bridge Collapse - Published in the Springfield News Sun August 18, 2014

High Street Bridge Collapse – Published in the Springfield News Sun August 18, 2014

The photo we shared on Facebook showed Eastern School, located at the corner of E. High Street and Penn Street following the collapse of the E. High Street Bridge on May 12, 1886. Around 6:30pm on May 12, 1886 “ominous storm clouds” gathered and delivered a deluge of rain to the city of Springfield. By midnight “the wrath of waters” had flooded streets and homes throughout the eastern and southeastern parts of the city. A drainage sewer on York Street burst in the early hours of the morning, causing the water to surge more, creating a raging torrent beneath the E. High Street bridge, which eventually gave way as the embankment below washed away, leaving behind the destruction seen here.

The eastern part of the Eastern School yard closest to the railroad had washed away and it was feared that continued use of the building would be unsafe. There were a few emergency meetings with the School Board and consultation with local architects F.H. Penfield and Charles A. Cregar (he designed the City Hall/Marketplace/Heritage Center in 1890). Although the architects assured the board that the building was sound, on May 15, 1888 the Board voted to “forever abandon the building” and distribute the pupils throughout the city to other schools. A new Eastern School was built in 1887 farther up on the south side of E. High near Freeman Street (across from current Catholic Central), it was later known as McKinley School.

It is not clear exactly when the original Eastern School building was torn down, but it sat abandoned for a number of years. Later, the Centennial Cabin, a replica of James Demint’s cabin, was moved to that site. The Centennial Cabin was built for the 1901 centennial of the city of Springfield and was originally located at the county fairgrounds on Yellow Springs Street. During the centennial celebrations the cabin was open as a museum run by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The following pictures show the site of the bridge collapse, more photos of the May 1886 flood from our Disaster Collection in the archives and the Centennial Cabin in 1901, 1943, and 1975.

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Sources:

May 12-25, 1886 Springfield Daily Republic

Photograph Category – Residential – City – A-L – Centennial Cabin

Photograph Category – Disasters – May 12, 1886 Flood

Education Category – Springfield City Schools – Eastern School

Springfield City Directories

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WHERE is it Wednesday Photo for July 30, 2014

On Wednesday, July 30, we shared a new WHERE is it Wednesday photo on our Facebook page:

Where could this be?

Where could this be?

We really had a lot of great guesses with this one!  Most people noticed that the photo showed a paving crew and there was a lot of speculation as to where in Springfield this could be.  Guesses included Fountain Avenue, Limestone Street, High Street, and Lagonda Avenue.  There were several people who recognized the school in the background (which was the big giveaway) as Elmwood School, which was located at 280 S. Clairmont Avenue.

When the photo was donated to us in 2012, the donor did not provide any identifying information, so we did our own detective work to discover the location. We started off in the wrong direction with a suggestion that this was Sunset Avenue around 1932. We did a little bit of scouting back in our archives, through the city directories, and on Sunset Avenue in person and found some promising matches on houses and learned that architect Robert Gotwald had built Trinity Evangelical Lutheran on Sunset in 1913. Although the building in the background didn’t look very churchlike, it DID look like a Gotwald building to us. Luckily, one of our volunteers thought to flip through the Harry Laybourne “Springfield, Ohio Revisited” photo book and was able to match the building as Elmwood School. We did a bit more research and found the dedication program and learned that Robert Gotwald had also been the architect for Elmwood School in 1903.

Elmwood School, built 1903

Elmwood School, built 1903

We also wanted to share with you some more interesting finds from our collections: a 1931 map of Springfield showing the paved streets highlighted in yellow, Bomag road roller models donated last year, Kelly Springfield and Buffalo Springfield road roller photos from catalogs in the archives, and repair on an unpaved N. Fountain following the February 1929 flood.

1931 Springfield Map showing paved streets highlighted in yellow

1931 Springfield Map showing paved streets highlighted in yellow

Service Department Truck, early 1900s

Service Department Truck, early 1900s

Road Roller and Service Crew on S. Clairmont

Road Roller and Service Crew on S. Clairmont

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Bomag Steamroller models

Repair following the 1929 Flood

Repair following the 1929 Flood

 Sources:

Manufacturing Category – Kelly Company Collection

Photograph Category – Government – Service Department file

Photograph Category – Frank Braun Collection – 1929 Flood file

Photograph Category – Education Collection – Elmwood School file

WHERE is it Wednesday Photo for July 9, 2014 – “Auntie Em, it’s a cyclone!”

Last week we shared this photo for WHERE is it Wednesday to see if anybody could recognize the Springfield location.

Where could this be?

Where could this be?

There were quite a few good guesses: High Street, Lagonda Avenue, North Street, Fountain Avenue, to name a few.  Many noticed that the scene showed heavy damage and rightly guessed that this was a scene after a tornado.  Some even guessed this was the aftermath of an 1888 tornado that hit the Springfield area.

Everyone was on the right track!  This particular photo shows the damage on E. Grand Avenue after a cyclone ripped through the area at around 11:00am on July 13, 1892.  Dozens were injured and over 100 homes were demolished or heavily damaged mostly in the area bounded by Center Street, Clark Street, East Street, and Southern Avenue. 

1894 Atlas section showing the area affected by the 1892 cyclone.

   1894 Atlas section showing the area affected by the 1892 cyclone.

2014 Google Map highlighting the area affected by the 1892 cyclone.

2014 Google Map highlighting the area affected by the 1892 cyclone.

The original photo comes from our Disaster Photo Collection, which was recently scanned by a volunteer.  The very first folder in the collection was of the cyclone aftermath and when we realized that the anniversary date was approaching, we decided to look up the newspaper coverage from that time and share the pictures and story.

We turned to the microfilmed copy of the Springfield Weekly Republic and found lots of great details including the names of all those who were injured (and detailing their injuries), addresses and details about damaged homes, information about the relief fund (who headed it and who contributed what), and the exact amounts claimed by residents affected. The relief fund, which raised nearly $9,000 to help the affected residents, was headed by a committee that included Mayor Burnett, Asa Bushnell, P.P. Mast, and O.S. Kelly. Total damages across the city topped $20,000.

Coverage from the July 14, 1892 Springfield Weekly Republic following the July 13 cyclone.

Coverage from the July 14, 1892 Springfield Weekly Republic. (click to enlarge)

For more information on the cyclone (we printed all the coverage from the days following to add to the archives) and for coverage on other local disasters, check out our Disaster Collection, which includes a detailed list of floods, fires, blizzards, and more from Clark County’s history.

More scenes showing the damage dealt by the “destructive cyclonic horror”:

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Sources:

Clark County Historical Society Archives, Photographic Category, Disasters, “Cyclone, July 13, 1892.”

Clark County Historical Society Archives, Small Collections Category, Disasters.

Clark County Historical Society Library, Springfield Weekly Republic, Microfilm reel August 8, 1891-July 28, 1892. (Coverage July 14-July 28, 1892).

Clark County Historical Society Library, 1894 Clark County, Ohio Atlas.