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Music camp participant waits to perform with Springfield Symphony Orchestra, June 1999
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 Road Roller.

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 arts center.

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 community!

Originally submitted by: David L. Hobson, Representative (7th District).

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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.

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