5th and Monroe (1954)



  1. What were people doing downtown in 1954? Why weren’t they at the mall?

    • Priscilla Palmer Sea:

      In 1954, there was no real shopping mall so to speak in Springfield. All of the major stores were downtown and they were called department stores. Some of the big stores were Myers Brothers, Herndons, Bressmers, Rolands, Westernbergers, and Barkers. They were wonderful stores to shop in.

  2. Giuseppe:

    I sure do miss the way it was downtown… Hey anyone else notice all the open windows on the building? Bet it was hot working in there back then!

  3. there were lots of department stores in that area.

  4. TDH:

    SJ-R ad offices from 1970 til new building.

  5. David Robinson:

    Down at the next corner, 5th & Capitol, you can see the old Abraham Lincoln Hotel on the right and the old First Methodist Church on the left.

  6. Giuseppe:

    When did they tear down the church? I think I can remember it still being there in the late 80’s? I need to get back home before there’s nothing left to remind me that it is home!

  7. Bob Hawkins:

    CTheatrean remember this well, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. You have Thrify Drugs on one corner and Walgreens on the other, plus just right down the street on the West side was the Roxy and Lincoln Theatres. You turn East on Monroe you had the Senate Theatre. Back 1/2 block North on 5th was the another Theatre The Tivoli and 2-blocks North was the Orpheum Theatre. Everyone would hang around the 5th and Monroe area just to chat with old friends, and once in a while you could gather up a drag race from 5th South, if you could make all the lights? On Friday and Saturday evening after Midnight the Theatres would all let out, and everyone would run to 5th& monroe to get a fresh Hot Tamale. A fellow would have his Tamale cart on the corner every Friday and Sat evening. All curled up in a corn husk for 1-dime. After you had your Tamale you could walk on half a block North and have Fresh Sweet Rolls 24/7 at Thompsons Grill. Those days can never be again, I’m glad I seen this era.

  8. Jonathan:

    I have always heard my family talk about that hotel. I am not sure, but I think that my family might have had something to do with it. Does the name Rockwood ring a bell?

  9. Hey, Does anyone remember when 5th and 6th street changed from 2 way streets to one way streets? I was born in 1957 (we lived on Ash St between 5th and 6th) and I remember asking my mom this question one day when I was very young when we were driving …”Mommy, what happened ,why are the streets going all one way now?” They also cut down a tree in front of our house on Ash St. to make more room for 2 more lanes,changing it into 2 lanes going east and 2 lanes going west….memories…..

  10. Stephen Parfitt:

    It’s always amazing to me how busy the downtown area used to be.

  11. Nancy:

    The old photo of 5th & Monroe is one of my favorites on this site. It shows the hustle and bustle of the old downtown. People everywhere, lots of cars and buses, but with a flow that was not gridlock. The current picture makes me sad; the life of the city is gone.

    • Marilyn:

      Yes….oh how I miss those wonderful days, days that will never be again….so sad. Old Springfield makes hearts yearn for “Those days gone by”. I miss the old down town days and yes, the whole city seems sterile now.

    • Robert Stowe:

      The old Springfield is certainly gone. There is no excitement downtown, unless an auto show or a parade is there. Otherwise, it is certainly a lonely, sterile place. Not a place to shop or even see a film. I would only return to see it out of nostalgia, not because it has anything to attract one today. If it wasn’t for Abraham Lincoln’s early work and residence and the politics, I believe the place would be a ghost town. The inept planning that has gone on in the last 40 years is pretty sad.

  12. Charles Robson:

    In 1954 I was a sophmore at Cathedral High School and lived on Holmes Ave on the S.W. side of town. we had to switch buses at 5th & Monroe to get home. It was the gathering spot for all of the kids who had to bus to school.
    We would meet our girl friends at the Steak & Shake which was between 5th & 6th on Monroe.

  13. Ron Kelley:

    I always wondered if this was the corner that prompted the words in a song, “Standing on the corner watching all the girls go by?” It seemed to be a great bus transfer point for many of the FHS, SHS, LHS,& CATHEDRAL HS kids. I seemed to recall a newspaper stand there on the corner where Batman, Superman, Archie, etc. comics could be purchased for $.10.

  14. Cheryl (Miller-Lampros)Robillard:

    Because their wasn’t any mall. 5th and Monroe wa the place to be.

  15. Cheryl (Miller-Lampros)Robillard:

    Because their wasn’t any mall. 5th and Monroe was the place to be.

  16. Pat Turnbull:

    The mall does not have any shopping that would come close to the wonderful shopping at those shops downtown.

  17. Robert Stowe:

    There is no comparison between now and 1954 regarding an active downtown area. Just look at the before and after images…where are the people and traffic today? The buildings look sterile and uninteresting today. There is no signage or character to them. Prior to the 70s, downtown was a busy, vital area of Springfield. There were no malls to speaks of. Any evening of the week or weekend, one could come downtown to see a show and have a meal and even shop, depending on the store hours. Try to do that today. The streets “roll up” and go to sleep today.

  18. Cathy Sallenger:

    There was a tavern called Henry’s in this area. I think 312 E. Monroe. Henry Sidles was the owner. There was a fire in the late 40’s at this location. I don’t know if it reopened there or moved at that time. There were other locations for Henry’s including the corner of MacArthur & Jefferson. There was a Henry’s in the 70’s at 4101 Peoria Road also. I don’t know if this was also owned by Sidles.
    Does anyone remember this place?

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