by Erin Thursby
Following up on our commitment to the Go LO initiative, we’re encouraging folks to buy local, shop local and eat local. This month, our Go LO spotlight is on Springfield.
Adjacent to Downtown, Springfield is an old neighborhood with a rich and varied history. After the Great Fire in 1901 Springfield experienced a housing boom as it was largely spared by the flames. While the neighborhood has had its struggles, it is on its way to steadily reclaiming its former glory. Today, Springfield is known for its stunning houses and entertainment. You’ll find houses in the Queen Anne, Victorian, Prairie School, Colonial Revival and more. Though Springfield does have its rough patches, it’s a comeback neighborhood with a strong sense of community.
“You attend a home tour, come to an event at one of our beautiful parks, eat at one of our fabulous restaurants and cafes, shop at our specialty stores and, you discover Springfield is what you’ve been looking for,” says Brenda Boydston, Executive Director of the Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR) Council.
Springfield has more than its fair share of yummy noms. City Kidz in Springfield is part of a new and impressive block in Springfield. They mainly serve ice cream and smoothies, but if you’re hungry for something more substantial, then be sure and start with one of their excellent crab cake sandwiches. Also part of that block is the celebrated lunch spot and grocery store Uptown Market. For diner fare and excellent Middle eastern food, you’ll want to head to Waffa and Mike’s.
Professionals working Downtown often send folks to pick up from Caribbean Stone, Chan’s, Fred Cotten and Hola Mexican.
For some sweet confections, head on over to Sweet Pete’s for your candy (it’s all natural!) or grab a cake or savory ham roll from Tres Leches Desserts. Sweet Pete’s and Tres Leches will be working together to create a Chocolate Covered Caribbean Lime Pie later this year. Says Eddie Sweda of Tres Leches, “We live four blocks away from our business and we love the community atmosphere. People really look out for each other.”
Local Goods and Services
There are a wide variety of services in Springfield, two of which are vehicle related. One is A & A Auto Diagnostic and Repair, owned by same folks who operate Waffa & Mike’s and the other is Main Street Express Automatic Car Wash. The auto repair place is trusted, and the car wash was developed from a dilapidated building on an overgrown lot to a success story, despite zoning changes.
An Old Tyme Hardware and Sargents Upholstery have been part of the fabric of the neighborhood for years, providing old time mom-and-pop service.
Jaded Vintage and Thingamajigatorium is new to the area. It has hip vintage stuff, re-purposed art items and other things.
If you want to experience the neighborhood, try staying at the Amore’ Hospitality House, a gorgeous B&B inside a 1908 Greek Revival House.
There are a cadre of local organizations and activities in Springfield, probably because the community is so tightly knit. (See the list below to get started!)
Klutho and Confederate Park follow Hogan’s Creek, which runs through Springfield. These pretty parks are often at the center of organized activities as well as a place for joggers and dog walkers. Check out the fountain in Klutho and the restored rose arbor in Confederate Park. Also, part of Confederate Park is set aside as an off-leash dog park.
The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum holds many interesting historical manuscripts, and is also a center of art and cultural events.
But for later night activities, try Deja’ Vu, the newest entertainment venue in Springfield. On different nights you’ll find art, jazz, house music, happy hours, improv, trivia and wine tastings. The classic Shantytown Pub is a neighborhood bar and the Cellar at Three Layers has a chill atmosphere with good cakes and coffee, besides beer and wine. The Pearl’s light up dance floor, bejweled bathroom, kitschy décor and lit tree in the middle of the bar, makes it a fun dance club/pseudo hipster hangout.
Local Organizations & Resources
www.springfieldwomansclub.org Springfield Improvement Association and Woman’s Club (SIAWC)
http://sparcouncil.org Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR)
www.myspringfield.org A local community website that features interviews, lots of photos, events, and discussion forum.
www.sustainablespringfield.net/community-gardens.html The Laura Street Community Garden
3rd Friday of every month 6-9 pm, F.A.N. Friday at City Kidz Fine Arts Networking Fridays, $ 5 cover. Live music, periodically featured artist.
Open Mic Thursdays, the Cellar at Three Layers
April 2 Wine Society Chili Cook-off at the Springfield Woman’s Club at 7th St and Silver
May 21-22 American Cancer Society Relay for Life at Confederate Park
May 13 Norman Studios Fund raiser at the Springfield Improvement Association and Woman’s Club. Tickets may be purchased at www.sparcouncil.org.
May 14 & 15 SPAR’s 33rd Annual Spring Home Tour “Serendipity Springfield Home and Outdoor Living Tour”. 1 pm-5 pm. http://sparcouncil.org