SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- In September 2020, one of the most iconic buildings in downtown Springfield, The Heer’s Building, turns 105 years old. The building’s history is a rich one and maybe nobody knows that history better than Springfield historian Richard Crabtree.
Key facts about the Heer’s Building:
- Built by Frances Xavier Heer, son of Charles Henry Heer
- Built in 1915 after a fire broke out in 1913 at the original location where the History Museum and the Fox Theater are currently
- Current Heer’s Building sits where the former Greene County Courthouse was located
- The famous Heer’s structure sticking out of the building once held two water tanks, in case of a fire
The Heer’s Building served as a department store 1915-1995; each floor served as a different department. There was also a restaurant, rooftop restaurant and observation deck, and several other amenities for shoppers.
Crabtree says many Springfield natives remember going to the store during Christmas time to see the display windows and the toy shop in the bargain basement. Crabtree says another popular event at the store was the Breakfast at Heer’s. Breakfast at Heer’s was a weekly breakfast and radio program that people would attend.
The Heer’s Building closed in the late 1990s and, since then, several businesses have attempted to revamp it and bring it back.
Now, the historic building has been gutted out and transformed into lofts and apartments. Inside the building’s main foyer, you can see giant letters spelling out Heer’s that once were on the building over its 100 plus year history.
If you know of any historic buildings that have been in Springfield for 100 years or more, you can send an email to CSix@KOLR10.com, and we will add them to the Good Bones series.
All historic pictures used in this story have been provided by Richard Crabtree.