SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – October in Springfield is full of fall festivals, changing colors and spooky decor, but it is also a month full of historical moments. Here’s a look at the events that happened in October throughout Springfield’s history.

October

  • 1831: James H. Slavens, a young preacher, gave the first sermon in Springfield in the home of William Fulbright. He was pastor of the log cabin Methodist Church, north of present Central St. in an oak grove east of Silver Springs Park, near National Avenue.
  • 1832: Junius Campbell, owner of Springfield’s first store and an early postmaster, was elected justice of the peace as one of his first civic responsibilities.
  • 1836: Bands of Osage Indians were reported back in Greene County and away from their assigned reservations west of Springfield. After rumors of uprisings, the summoning of the Greene County militia and a series of meetings, they returned to their reservation.
  • 1856: The first congregation of the Disciples of Christ Church was organized here in 1856. All records of the church were burned during the Civil War.
  • 1858: First stage arrival here from California en route to the railroad terminus at Tipton.
  • 1861: Major Charles Zagonyi, at the heed of Body Guard of General John C. Fremont, with some reinforcements made a charge into Springfield ahead of the main Union force.
  • 1891: St. John’s Hospital opened at the southwest corner of Washington and Chestnut by Sisters of Mercy.
  • 1900: Ben Adhem Temple of the Mystic Shrine was installed with headquarters in the Mason Temple (305 West Walnut) until they moved to the Shrine Mosque.
  • 1904: According to longtime Springfield contention, the first ever night football game in history was played here when Springfield Normal defeated Cherokee Institute of Tahlequah 11-0.
  • 1910: A special train with two surgeons aboard was rushed to Conway in an effort to save the life of Stanley Ketchel, the Middleweight World Champion after he was fatally shot on a farm near there. He would later die in the Springfield hospital.
  • 1918: All Springfield schools, churches and theaters were closed due to a serious epidemic of influenza which made public gatherings hazardous to health. Every hospital was full and beds were being set up in corridors here and all across the nation.
  • 1922: Central Bible College—formerly Central Bible Institute—opened in the basement of a church located at Campbell and Calhoun. After a gif of 15 acres of its present 45-acre campus by the Springfield Commercial Club, it was established at Grant Avenue and Norton Road in 1923.
  • 1924: Park Board purchases Fassnight Farm for $12,000.
  • 1930: First service of merged First and Calvary Presbyterian Church in building on 820 East Cherry street. First Church had been organized on May 19, 1844, and it moved from the structure at the southwest corner of Olive and North Jefferson. Calvary Church, established on April 22, 1849, left the building at St. Louis and Short Benton.
  • 1930: Springfield lost its first regularly scheduled airline, Safeway, on October 11. The company merged with American Airways.
  • 1930: Community Chest organization is founded.
  • 1930: Vice President Charles Curtis came in on a train and addressed a large evening crowd at the Shrine Mosque. The Vice President spoke briefly of the depression and pointed out that our country is not affected as badly as most other countries of the world.
  • 1930: Western hero Tom Mix visited the city in his Rolls Royce touring car en route to his home in Hollywood. His party spent some time at Half-a-Hill Tea House. In his early days, Mix frequently spent short intervals of time in Springfield and was a member of the Odd Fellows lodge.
  • 1935: A team of baseball greats played the Kansas City Monarchs team. Paul and Dizzy Dean were there and the team was coached by Mike Ryba. The paper noted that there would be a section reserved along the first baseline for black fans.
  • 1942: A bond issue for $350,000 was approved to establish the Springfield Municipal Airport northwest of the city limits. It replaced the first city airport in East Division.
  • 1950: Mary Jean Pierce, a Black woman, wanted to be the first Black person at Southwest Missouri State (SMS). The board sent the matter to an attorney. She wanted to be a librarian and said she could not get that training at Lincoln, which later established a program and avoided the conflict with SMS.
  • 1952: St. John’s Hospital opened in a new facility at 1235 East Cherokee. Both it and Mercy Villa were established and conducted by the Sisters of Mercy.
  • 1958: Ground is broken for the Dayton Rubber Company plant—Springday Division of Dayco Corporation—Battlefield and Scenic Drive.
  • 1984: A truck carrying an explosive chemical struck an overpass abutment on I-44. The truck crashed onto North Broadway Ave. below, killing the driver and passenger and forcing the evacuation of 100 people.
  • 1986: President Ronald Reagan addressed a rally at Hammons Center in support of the senatorial candidacy of former governor Christopher Bond.