Music camp participant Patrick Dunn waits to perform with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra during their festival concert, June 26, 1999 Photo: J. Chris Moore
Springfield Summer Arts Festival
Situated as it was on the National Trail, with
an abundant source of water from Buck Creek and the Mad River,
and good connections to Cincinnati on the Ohio River, in the
1900s Springfield developed into a very important mill town.
It would later be home to the invention of the McCormick
Reaper, the Leffel Water Turbine, and the Buffalo Springfield
At the turn of the last century, Springfield was a
major crossing for railroad traffic and therefore an ideal site for
Gus Son to develop a national booking agency that would serve the
vaudeville circuit. The signatures of Mae West and the Marx
Brothers can still be found in the dressing room walls of the
Regent Theater that was home to the agency and helped to launch the
career of Bob Hope. Springfield was also home to silent screen
actress Lillian Gish, and in later years provided the source
material for the impersonations created by comedian Jonathan
Winters, who spent much of his childhood in Springfield.
Today Springfield is a typical mid-west American
city, so designated by Newsweek magazine during the country's
bicentennial in 1976. In recent years, the city has experienced
major redevelopment of its downtown core, including a new public
library, a new family YMCA, and a new state of the art performing
But, most of all, Springfield is special to its
citizens because of its Summer Arts Festival, an annual event that
provides five weeks of free entertainment, under the stars on an
outdoor stage opposite Buck Creek nestled in the tree-lined
limestone cliffs of Veteran's Park. Since 1967, the Springfield
Arts Council has partnered with businesses and individuals in the
community to bring together some of the finest local, regional, and
national talent to help its citizens to celebrate their
Originally submitted by: David L. Hobson, Representative (7th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.