SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Springfield has been around since the early 1800s, and many significant events have occurred over the last 200 years.

Here’s a brief timeline of significant events that have happened in the month of December since 1858:

1858Contract for a new courthouse was let to Josiah Leedy for $36,000
1870The Mansfield Opera House at 313-315 South Street was opened to offer citizens opera. It also housed civic meetings, the Odd Fellow’s Lodge, and various musical performances.
1902A prominent black man named Walter Majors designed, built, and drove one of the first motorcars in Springfield. It was comprised of a one-and-one-half horsepower stationary gas engine, double chain drive, and a buggy-type body, and it was painted red. The machine had only one speed–fast forward. To stop the auto, Majors had to jump out and “cut the wheels.”
1910Children’s Home in Pickwick Place burned, and three children died.
1913Pythian Castle was built for the Knights of Pythias. During the war, it was part of O’Reilly Army Hospital.
1915Scores of people have turned away from the Landers Theater at the showing of David Griffin’s masterpiece “The Birth of a Nation.” The film was reported to have cost $500,000 to produce, and it used 18,000 actors in the cast.
1923Anna Pavlova, the dancer who has enchanted audiences worldwide with her company, delighted a big audience in the Shrine Mosque. Her party of more than 80, including her husband, M. Dandre, technical and artistic director of the Ballet Russe, and other famous ballet personalities, arrived in special cars on the Frisco Wednesday morning. They left here immediately after the appearance.
1924A $40,000 addition to the Springfield Children’s Home building would be completed and provide badly needed space. Ed V. Williams, president of the home board, points out that the most important thing at the institution is the spirit of “joy and happiness,” which pervades it. “The children come to the institution unhappy, sick, and lonely,” he said, “and within a comparatively short time are cheerful and sound in body.”
1924The contract for excavation to add to Burge Hospital was left to Henry Proserpina. The $200,000 addition was attached to the north side of the present building and contained 100 rooms for patients, not including special departments.
1926Thousands of Springfieldians attended the opening of M.E. Gillioz’s new $300,000 Gillioz Theater in an event described by the Springfield Republican as “gorgeous, vivid, awe-inspiring, dazzling, sweeping, amazing and bewildering.”
1928Plans for a modern white way to be built on McDaniel St. were announced by Lester E. Cox, manager of Martin Brothers Piano Co., representing merchants along the street. Several large buildings went up along the street, now being widened from Campbell to Kimbrough. Merchants paid around $10,000 for the white way maintained by the city.
1928The Goad-Ballinger Post of the American Legion accepted the offer of Louis Reps to give the Holland Home on St. Louis St. at Kimbrough for a clubhouse. At one time, this was one of the finest homes in Springfield, built at the cost of $50,000. Legion members hope to obtain city-owned property on Kimbrough at the entrance to the Benton Ave. viaduct as the site for their future home.
1928
Rivals in taxicabs operations squared off on Christmas Eve and fought for 18 hours, mostly at the Frisco station and on Main Street. Some fighters used clubs. One person was injured, and three were arrested.
1929
KWTO goes on air.
1954O’Reilly Army Hospital land is divided up among local entities.
1956
Work began this month on the new stadium at Parkview high school, Kennedy Stadium.
1967Frisco passenger trains 101 and 102 blew their whistles as they rumbled through Springfield for the last time. The Frisco passenger station, built in 1926 of Spanish architecture, became a deserted building marked by neglect and litter.
1972An F2 tornado touched down near Billings and moved northeast through Republic, western Springfield, and northern Greene County. It damaged the airport with winds of 120 mph. One person was killed, and 22 were injured. More than 200 homes and businesses in Republic were damaged or destroyed.
1985Catholic High School moved from Jefferson Avenue to a new building on U.S. Highway 65.
1986Kickapoo High School sustained vandalism which amounted to $100,000
1987An ice storm devastates the city. Many tree limbs and power lines are down. Some power was not restored until after the first of the year.
1989Fire destroys the old Mo-Pac freight depot.
1989Bass Pro announced a new warehouse at Kearney and West Bypass but later took over the old Zenith plant instead
1989The public school district unveils a new Strategic Plan. The plan had been developed over the past year with a lot of citizen input and committee work.
1989Auction of Trula Walker items nets over $1 million. The articles had been stockpiled by Trula Walker and her husband, who had been convicted of fraud and income tax evasion in connection with the old Campbell 66 truck line.
1989SMSU Bears lose in NCAA football quarter-finals to Stephen Austin.
1989The new Performing Arts Center is named for Juanita Hammons, wife of John Q. Hammons, who donated the land and $1.6 million.
1989Anti-abortion protesters are arrested at the clinic on Cherry Street
1989The wind chill factor hit 60 below zero; the temperature was 15 below
1989Fugitive Timmy Lee DePriest was captured after a downtown foot chase in which Cpl. Larry Robinson suffered a gunshot in the shoulder.
1990First First Night celebration.
1990Zenith announces it will lay off 130 workers. It had already laid off 170.
1990For months residents of southeast Missouri fretted over a prediction that there would be an earthquake on the New Madrid fault this year. In Springfield, the discussion was on how to handle the thousands of refugees who came here. The earthquake never happened.
1990Air Midwest closes facilities here
1990Fire destroys Selsor Lumber
1991An ice storm hits the city, and 3000 without power
1991Two youngsters die in a fire on the northside
1991SMSU faculty give a no-confidence vote to president Marshall Gordon.
1991Bass Pro buys the K-Mart shopping center
1991TeleCable activates the first part of a fiber optic network
1991SMSU Regents find the actual cost of Performing Arts Hall had been hidden. This is the start of the downslide of Marshall Gordon as president.
1991Two people are wounded in an abortion clinic shooting. The shooting was at the Central Health Clinic. It was closed shortly thereafter.
1994ORION is up and running. The Ozarks Regional Information Online Network, started by several local organizations, provides people with a communications link to the Internet.
1994Council approves $9 million in bonds for parks. They will come through the Public Building Corporation.
1994Heer’s closes its final store at Battlefield Mall. This means that long-time participation in the commerce of the city disappears.
1994Sam’s Club is robbed of $100,000
Courtesy: History Museum on the Square