Enos Park is the oldest neighborhood in Springfield, and due to its proximity to the downtown area, many of the merchants and politicians began to settle in Enos Park during the early days of Springfield. The Fever River Research report, compiled in 1997, explores this history in depth – a summary of which is listed below.
EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF SPRINGFIELD: 1819-1865
ETHNIC GROUPS AND EMPLOYMENTOF EARLY SPRINGFIELD
DEVELOPMENT OF THE ENOS PARK NEIGHBORHOOD: 1833 – 1917
ENOS PARK NEIGHBORHOOD IN 1917
ENOS PARK NEIGHBORHOOD 1920 TO PRESENT
ARCHITECTURAL STYLES AND FORMS OF BUILDINGS
EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF SPRINGFIELD: 1819-1865
Figure 1. Early Springfield, ca. 1840This diagram partially illustrates Springfield’s central business district as it appeared ca. 1840, immediately following the construction of the state capitol. (Click for a larger size.)
In November 1823, a government land office was established in Springfield. Pascal P. Enos, a native of Connecticut, was appointed by President Monroe to serve as receiver at the land office, and Thomas Cox was appointed register. Enos and Cox purchased two of the four quarter sections of land on which the original town of Springfield would be platted out. The other two quarter sections were purchased by John Taylor and merchant Elijah Iles. In December of 1824, the state legislature passed legislation requiring the selection of a permanent seat of government in Sangamon County. Springfield, which had served as the temporary county seat since 1821. In March of 1825, Springfield was designated as the permanent county seat. In 1837, the state legislature voted to move the Capitol from Vandalia to Springfield. The county courthouse, which occupied the square, was demolished in order to make way for the Capitol building, and a new courthouse was erected on the east side of Sixth Street. (FIG. 1)
During the 1836-37 Legislative Session in Illinois was the ill-starred Internal Improvement Bill. This bill provided for the construction of a network of railroads throughout the state and several river improvements, all of which was to be state funded. The Panic of 1837, which was the worst financial crisis the country had seen up to that point, erased whatever chance of success there may have been to start this project. Final abandonment of the Internal Improvement System occurred during the 1840-41 Legislative Session.
The only portion of the proposed railroad network actually put in operation at the time was the section of the Northern Cross between Springfield and the town of Meredosia.
Work on the fifty-nine mile line began in the spring of 1838 and continued over the next four years. The first train arrived in Springfield on November 14, 1842. Rail service continued over the next five years, but it was erratic at best. The one locomotive operating on the line often broke down, and in 1844 it was retired all together. At that point, the railroad started using mules to pull the rail cars. In 1847, the state sold the Northern Cross to private interests. Between the years of 1850-1860, the Railroad industry changed hands frequently and routes were also changed.
Corresponding with the improvement in rail service was an expansion of Springfield’s industrial base. Flour and grist milling, and industry that dated to the earliest years of the community, boomed between 1845-1865. Many of the mills in town were eventually acquired by the Hickox family. The Springfield woolen mills also blossomed during this period.
There were also several “heavy” industries established during this period. The Aetna Iron Works was founded sometime prior to 1848 and the Excelsior Foundry and Machines Works was established by John Rippon in 1854.
Aside from the Scandinavians, several other immigrant groups made their appearance in Springfield during the period 1840-1860. Germans began arriving in large numbers in Illinois during the early 1830’s, and they played a prominent role in Springfield’s business community. The German’s dominated Springfield’s brewery industry. The earliest brewery in the city was erected by Franz Reisch in 1848. The Reisch brewery proved to be the most successful of all the breweries and stayed in business until 1966. Three breweries (Kun, Ackermann and Nolte, and Reisch) were situated relatively close to one another on the city’s Northwest side and the area around them developed into a distinctively, working-class German Neighborhood. This neighborhood, which was centered on West Carpenter Street, was also home to several other German-dominated trades, including sausage manufacturing and soda bottling, and eventually became known as “Old Goosetown”. Springfield’s earliest Jewish residents arrived in the 1840’s and were mostly German as well. Free Blacks also began arriving in Springfield during the 1840’s.
Another early ethnic group that settled in Springfield at this time were Portuguese from the Madeira Islands. These immigrants were converts to the Presbyterian faith and had immigrated to the United States due to persecution by the Catholic authorities in their homeland. The first Portuguese arrived in 1849. The majority settled as a group along Miller and Carpenter Streets, between Ninth and Tenth. The Northside neighborhood that the Portuguese settled in became known as “Madeira.”
Springfield’s changing ethnic fabric during the middle nineteenth century is attested to by the churches that were eventually established on its near Northside. As of 1837, there were two black congregations in this area: an African Methodist Evangelical church situated on Fourth Street between Madison and Carpenter, and the Zion Baptist Church, located on the northwest corner of Carpenter and Eighth Streets. The Nast Memorial German Methodist Evangelical Church, which was organized as a mission in 1849, had a church on a northeast corner of Eighth and Miller Streets, while SS. Peter and Paul’s Springfield’s first German Catholic congregation, had a church on the southeast corner of Sixth and Reynolds Streets. The first Portuguese Presbyterian Church, which was organized in 1849, eventually occupied a building at Seventh and Reynolds Streets. The Second Portuguese Presbyterian church was organized in 1858 and worshiped in a church at the corner of Eighth and Miller Streets until 1896, when it consolidated with the First Portuguese Church.
Except for a brief decline following the disastrous panic of 1873, Springfield’s industrial growth largely continued unabated during the latter half of the nineteenth century. This growth was spurred in part by the discovery of immense coal reserves in Sangamon County. Coal began to be mined on a large scale in the County following the Civil War, and by 1900, the coal industry was Springfield’s biggest employer. The excavation of the first coal mine shaft along the north edge of Springfield was commenced by William Saunderson and William Beard in February 1867. Another mine was opened by the Co-Operative coal mining company in 1874 near the intersection of Eleventh and Ridgely Streets. One of the original stockholders in this company was Robert Solomon, who occupied the large T-plan house located at 1110 N. Fourth Street. Other mining companies who did business in Springfield were: the Lincoln Park Coal and Brick Co. (1910), which was sold to the Panther Creek Mine in 1928. Panther Creek Mine no. 2 was closed in 1949. During the early twentieth century, the Capitol Coal Company opened a shaft at Tenth and North Grand Streets.
One early Northend industry that developed sid-by-side with the coal mines was the Springfield Iron Company, which was situated on approximately 50 acres located north of town. Organized in 1871, by Colonel H. B. Hayes of Boston and Charles Ridgely of Springfield, the firm first produced iron in the fall of 1872. The Springfield Iron Co. was established for the production of iron rails for the railroad trade and were at once taking rank as one the most important rail mills in the country. Beginning in 1882, the firm ceased production of rails to manufacture “merchant iron and steel” specializing in railroad splice bars and bar iron for car building. The firm also maintained a large machine and blacksmith shop. The Springfield Iron Co, was sold to the Republic Iron and Steel Co. of Chicago in 1900. The plant was dismantled in 1905.
Besides the foundry and coal mines, one of the main stays of the neighborhood was the Illinois Watch Company which was organized by John C. Adams in 1869 (FIG. 2). Adams purchased a fourteen-acre site located on the northwest’s corner of North Grand Avenue and Peoria Road (Ninth Street). By January 1872, the first watches had been produced. The Illinois Watch Factory became a leader in developing new watch technology in the United States. By the turn of the century the company was producing strictly high-grade watches. The company’s railroad watches, some of which could run for 36 hours without rewinding, were among the finest in the nation. Following the death of Jacob Bunn, Jr., the Illinois Watch Co. was sold to the Hamilton Watch Company in 1927. Hamilton operated the factory until 1933, when it was forced to close its doors due to the great depression.
Figure 2. Two early industries on Springfield’s Northend that influenced the development of the Enos Park neighborhood were the Springfield Iron Works (top pic) and the Illinois Watch Factory (bottom pic).
In 1899, the Sangamo Electric Company was formed under the ownership of the Bunn family. The company used the watch factory space, equipment, and employees during its initial years and rented space from the watch company until 1920. The company specialized in the manufacturing of electric meters.
A shoe factory was another of the Northside manufacturing businesses. The Desnoyer Brothers Shoe Company opened at Tenth and Enos in 1903. In 1910, the factory was purchased by the International Shoe Company. The plant was closed in 1964, as modern plants were constructed elsewhere.
By the late nineteenth century, the Springfield Northend had become both an industrial and commercial center with North Grand Avenue being its main commercial artery. The establishment of North Grand Avenue as the main access to these commercial ventures influenced the growth of Springfield and the Enos Park neighborhood. The Enos Park neighborhood was developed into a middle-to-upper class residential neighborhood.
The workers of the numerous industrial complexes, in an effort to live closer to their places of employment, built homes on the land originally occupied only by Springfield’s upper class family estates. The death of the estate’s original owners, followed by the platting of the land by their heirs, opened up this part of Springfield for just such developments. This started the pattern that can be seen in the varying house forms that exist in the Enos Park neighborhood today, a range of upper and working class housing.
As the residential neighborhood developed, smaller, neighborhood businesses began to prosper on the Northside as well. The 1896 and 1917 Sanborn Maps indicate a bakery at Eighth and North Grand. This bakery was the Amrhein Bakery. Christopher Anrhein, a German immigrant, established a bakery in downtown Springfield in 1888, then relocated the business to the North Grand location sometime shortly after that date. His sons and grandsons kept this Northside business open until 1975. Additionally, several small stores and saloons developed in the neighborhood.
The Enos Park Neighborhood is located north of the original platted town of Springfield, and until circa 1860, the area was clearly on the rural fringe of the community. Unlike many neighborhoods which were platted in a single episode, he Enos Park neighborhood is a patchwork of additions that date from 1833 to 1965 with the vast majority of the platted subdivisions having been made by 1909. The names and dates of these additions and subdivisions are listed in (Table 2), while (Figure 3) shows their boundaries. (Figure 4) details the temporal trends in the addition and subdivision platting in the neighborhood.
The Enos Park neighborhood is illustrated in the 1867 bird’s eye view of Springfield (Figure 5). One of the more prominent features depicted in the 1867 view is a horse-drawn trolley running along Fifth Street, between Monroe Street and Oak Ridge Cemetery. This trolley line had been placed in operation in July 1866 by Springfield City Railway Co,. and initially ran between Monroe Street and Oak Ridge Cemetery. One of the early appeals of this trolley was it’s Northern terminus at Oak Ridge Cemetery, which drew a large number of tourists wishing to see the Lincoln Tomb. The line also serviced traffic heading to Lincoln Park. At Monroe Street, the Springfield City Railway intersected a second, competing trolley line that had started service several months before in January of 1866. The latter line was operated by the Capital Street Railway and ran along Monroe Street, between Tenth Street and Lincoln Avenue. In time these two rival streetcar companies were consolidated under the name of the Capital Railway Company. The presence of the trolley line along Fifth Street aided in making that street one of the most prominent thoroughfares in the Enos Park Neighborhood just as it is one of the main streets of today.
The city’s first baseball team which was organized in 1876 and known as “The Liberties”, played in a field at Seventh Street and Enos Avenue.
By 1896, the neighborhood had been extensively developed. While there were still a number of large lots that were associated with earlier residences in the neighborhood (such as the Edwards House), these were the exception, rather the norm. Most of the lots in the neighborhood by this date offered frontages that ranged between 40′ and 100′ width, and very few of the lots remained undeveloped. The only large sections of land remaining in the neighborhood that had not been heavily developed as of 1896 were the two long blocks bounded by Eighth and Sixth Streets on the East and West and Bergen and Elm (Enterprise) on the North and South. There was only one structure present on the block between Seventh and Eighth Streets; this was the large Third Presbyterian Church, which had been erected on the Southeast corner of Seventh and Bergen Streets in 1890.
Enos Park, the landscape feature that today’s neighborhood identifies with, was not established until the first decade of the twentieth century. In late 1899, a group of 200 Springfield residents presented a petition to establish a city park system. Voters approved the measure and the first trustees were elected on February 8, 1900. Elijah Iles donated land for Iles Park in 1903, and Susan Enos donated land for Enos Park in 1905. Gehrmann Park located along North Third Street, was donated to the city of Springfield by Charles A. Gehrmann, a local dry goods merchant, on July 19, 1945.
Susan Enos, believing that a public park located on North Seventh Street would be of great advantage to the city of Springfield, and would add materially to the health and pleasure of the inhabitants thereof, particularly those residing in the Northern part of the city, conveyed a 320-foot square block of land partially bounded by Enterprise, Eighth, and Seventh Streets to be used as “A public ornamental Park” (specifically excluding any kind of ball games or for games similar thereto). The provisions of the deed state that the city of Springfield would prevent the land from being used as a dump, preventing the encroachment of unlawful roads, driveways, or trespassers upon the land, build a sidewalk on the West side of the park land, and maintain all the sidewalks on the property. This park is still used as requested by Susan Enos.
By the early twentieth century, the Enos Park neighborhood that we recognize today represented a patchwork of neighborhoods with housing occupied by low-income, working class households to the most affluent businessmen within the community. Residents living in the Eastern and Western fringes of the neighborhood were less affluent than those residing along Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Streets. They were also more apt to blue-collar workers and belong to minority groups. The economic and social disparity is illustrated by comparing occupation and home ownership in the three areas of the community for the year 1905. The areas selected for the comparison are: The East side of the 600 block of North Third Street; The West side of the 900 block of North Sixth Street; and the southern half of the East side of the 1100 block of North Eighth Street (Table 3).
Of the three areas discussed, the East side of the 600 block of North Third Street appears to have been the poorest and was also the most ethnically diverse. Moving several blocks to the Northeast, the neighborhood changed dramatically. The residents on the West side of the 900 block of North Sixth Street in 1905 were all white and predominantly held white collar occupations. This area was one of the older and more affluent sections of the Enos Park neighborhood, and the housing there was much larger than that found on Third Street; most of the houses were two stories in height and were of brick construction. The residents of the Southern half of the 1100 block of North Eighth Street in 1905 were also white, but were largely blue collar. This area was clearly less affluent than the 900 block of North Sixth Street, but it appears to have been more affluent and stable (in respect to ownership and tenancy) than the 600 block of North Third Street.
By World War I, the Enos Park neighborhood was reaching the peak of its development. The character of the neighborhood during this period is partially revealed by a 1914 Springfield city map (Figure 5). While offering only a general overview of the neighborhood, the 1914 map shows the three trolley passing through the neighborhood at that time and also depicts the major institutional buildings present, including four churches and the Teacher’s School and McClernand Public School.
The Enos Park neighborhood was a diverse urban neighborhood that had developed fully by the early twentieth century. Upper class and working class areas with the occasional presence of a corner store developed within the neighborhood. Upperclass housing developed along portions of Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Streets. Most of the dwellings are two story frame structures with frame carriage houses. The houses west of Enos Park, which is now referred to as Pascal Place, area a good example of such developments. The Block bordered by Fifth, Sixth, Enterprise and Bergen Streets had only eight homes, six of which remain today. Another pocket of upper class development centered around Edward’s Place (700 North Fourth Street) and the Ferguson Mansion. The 700 Block of North Fifth Street featured multi-family, middle-class dwellings. The Best Example of these Middle-class, multi-family dwellings is the Enos Flats or the Row houses at 716-724 North Fifth Street (Figure 6).
Pockets of working-class housing had developed in the neighborhood by 1917. These areas were characterized by small (often one-story) frame houses on narrow lots. These houses often do not have a carriage house associated with them and exhibit much less uniformity in character and are set back from the road. Many homes on Third Street are indicative of this pattern. These areas are in close contact with the railroad tracks which affected lot development.
A portion of the neighborhood does have a mixture of both upper and working class residents. The block between Seventh and Eighth and Enos and Enterprise Streets is made up of smaller lots, but contains a great many two-story homes and carriage houses (Figure 7).
Although the area was predominantly a residential neighborhood, it did have some commercial activity. Commercial buildings in 1917 were primarily concentrated along the neighborhood’s periphery, on or near North Grand Avenue and Carpenter Street. The majority of these commercial and light industrial sites occupied corner locations. The corner of Sixth and North Grand was the most concentrated area of commercial buildings in the neighborhood. Other non-residential buildings in the neighborhood consist of multiple churches and a single school. Other institutions surrounding the area were St. John’s Hospital, a City Reservoir, and Concordia College.
Trolley cars, by this time were electrified, and traveled along Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Streets, providing the inhabitants of the Enos Park neighborhood with transportation throughout the city.
Figure 7. Two views of the Enos Park neighborhood during the late nineteenth century. The top view is facing South along Sixth Street and was taken ca. 1889. The bottom view is illustrating 806-820 North Eighth Street in 1898.
Ancillary outbuildings, detached from the main dwelling, were an integral part of the nineteenth and early twentieth century house lots. By the late nineteenth century, most dwellings associated with the middle-and upper-class inhabitants of Springfield had a number of outbuildings scattered throughout the rear yard.
Carriage houses and/or stables were common within the Enos Park neighborhood during the late nineteenth century and even into the early twentieth centuries. The carriage house generally was a frame construction, one or 1-1/2 story in height, and sitting on the rear property line, accessed from the alley. Some pf the more substantial, upper-class housing in the neighborhood had larger, brick carriage houses associated with them. There are currently three carriage houses still remaining in the Enos Park Neighborhood. A single frame carriage house (with a prominent central gable dormer) located at 906 North Fifth has been converted into a rental house. A small carriage house located at 717 North Sixth Street is typical of the brick carriage houses constructed during the late nineteenth century. A much larger brick commercial stable, wagon shed and workshop is located at 1113 North Fifth Street.
Privies were once a common feature of the urban landscape in the Enos Park neighborhood. Although many of the houses in this neighborhood may have been constructed with interior bathrooms, a vast majority of these structures were built just before the general acceptance (and economic accessibility) of the indoor bathroom. These outdoor “necessaries” were often located along the rear or side property line, often in close association with the wood/coal shed and/or carriage house. often the privy was connected to the kitchen sink and also functioned as a cesspool, draining waste water from the kitchen. There are no privies still in existence in Enos Park, though the subsurface privy pits are still present, in great numbers within the neighborhood.
Such subsurface features often were used as waste disposal receptacles and contain a wealth of material culture items, that when properly excavated and analyzed, has the potential to yield significant information about the lifeways of the inhabitants of the neighborhood.
The commercial buildings in the neighborhood were comprised of mostly corner businesses. The corner of Sixth Street and North Grand Avenue provided the most concentrated area of commercial buildings in the neighborhood. These businesses included a saloon, a tin shop, a barber shop and two other stores of unknown function.
Saloons were the most common business in the neighborhood in 1917. A brick tavern with an attached dwelling was located at 1161 North Eighth Street. This building represents one of the substantial combination dwelling/commercial dwellings in the Enos Park neighborhood and is currently occupied by the North Grand Pub.
Other corner businesses present in the Enos Park neighborhood in 1917 included a drugstore, an unidentified store with attached dwelling both located on Fifth Street, and a bakery located mid-block on North Grand Avenue. Another store was located on North Fourth Street in a building that had been occupied by Kientzler Brother’s Sausage Factory in 1896.
In 1934, the Ferguson mansion was purchased and converted into a funeral home, the Vancil Funeral Mansion, which was operated out of the home until 1971. There was a great effort, by the association, to save the historic mansion. Unfortunately, it was demolished in 1997.
Several nineteenth century combination commercial and domestic buildings are located in the Enos Park neighborhood. Two large brick examples include the Defrates Grocery at 1001 North Ninth Street and the saloon located at 726 East North Grand Avenue. Both structures are large, L-shaped buildings that incorporate owner’s living quarters within the side wing of the structure and are believed to have been constructed ca. 1875-1885.
There is one school in the Enos Park neighborhood. This is the McClernand Public School, which is located at 801 North Sixth Street. It was named in honor of John A. McClernand, a prominent Springfield lawyer and Democratic politician who served as a General during the Civil War. McClernand lived in a large italianate house situated on the same lot occupied by the present school. In 1882, this house became a teacher’s training school.
The 1917 Sanborn Map indicates that four churches were once located in the Enos Park neighborhood; two of which were Presbyterian.
The Third Presbyterian Church, constructed in the Richardsonian Romanesque Style in 1890, is located at 700 East Bergen Street. Prior to constructing the present building, earlier churches were located at Sixth and Monroe Streets, Seventh Street and Capitol Avenue, as well as at the Northeast corner of North Grand Avenue and Sixth Street (constructed in 1873). Although contemplating a move to what was then the Westside, the congregation decided that the best opportunity for Christian work was in the Northend, so the congregation decided on the North Grand Avenue and Sixth Street location. At that time, the Northend neighborhood was sparsely settled and several of the prominent industries in the area had not yet opened. On July 26, 1997, lightening struck the church (located at Seventh and Bergen Streets) and the resulting fire completely gutted the structure, leaving only the brick walls standing. The Church was re-built at the same location.
Historical view during construction, ca. 1888.
The Second Portuguese (Presbyterian) Church, which was constructed ca. 1858-1860 in the Greek Revival Style, was located at 801 East Miller Street (current addressed as 710 North Eighth). The congregation splintered from an earlier congregation of Portuguese immigrants that arrived in Springfield from The Madeira Islands in 1849. Abandoned as a church sometime between 1941 and 1952, the building currently is part of the Mental Health Centers of Illinois.
The Kumler Methodist Episcopalian Church, a large stone building constructed in the Victorian Gothic Style in 1888, is located at 602 Fifth Street. In 1927, the church was remolded and a new wing (housing both educational and recreational facilities) was constructed onto the East end of the building.
The St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church was located near the corner of Eighth and Enos Streets (demolished sometime after 1952). Construction on the church was finished in March 1908. This relatively plain church was constructed for the accommodation of the Lithuanians, many of whom were miners living in the neighborhood.
The T. S. Little residence was a large Italianate structure located at the Northwest corner of North Fifth Street and North Grand Avenue. Large Suburban houses such as this were constructed during the middle nineteenth century along North Fifth and Sixth Streets. This house (pictured below) later became the home of W. O. Langdon. In April 1897, this structure became the Springfield Hospital and Training School, a 12-bed facility operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. This was the Beginnings of Memorial Medical Center. Today Memorial Medical Center is located at 701 First Street.
St. John’s Hospital, established by the Hospital Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in 1875, is a historic landmark in both the medical and religious communities of Springfield. It is one of the rotating Level One Emergency Trauma Centers for the Springfield area, a distinction it shares with Memorial Medical Center. St. John’s Hospital is also home to the Prairie Heart Institute, which performs more cardiovascular procedures than any other hospital in Illinois. St. John’s is located at 800 E. Carpenter Street,
The Enos Park neighborhood reached its peak during the late 1910’s and 1920’s. During the 1930’s through the 1950’s, many of the large, single family homes were converted into multiple family dwellings and the neighborhood began a slow but steady physical decline. During this time, many of the original immigrant families (particularly German, Italian, Lithuanian and Portuguese) also began to move out of the neighborhood as the city grew to the west and south. Fewer properties were owner occupied, and many of the residents were now renting apartments in homes originally built for single family occupants. A disproportionate number of rental properties led to both physical deterioration of the neighborhood and a changing demographic. By the late 1970’s and 1980’s this process had intensified and some areas within the Enos Park neighborhood had become fairly blighted with many structures being condemned and demolished. Nonetheless, several groups and individuals have taken a strong interest in the neighborhood, rehabilitating many of the structures and attempting to bring pride back to the neighborhood. A number of properties with architectural significance have been restored to their former glory, and the historic character of the area still prevails.
Our organization was formed in 1989 as a group of concerned citizens living within the area bounded by North Fourth, North Ninth, North Grand and Carpenter Streets, and the boundaries were later expanded to include Third St. as wel. Our organization is dedicated to the preservation and rejuvenation of the neighborhood. Additionally, several neighborhood residents have taken a pro-active role in renovation and upgrading their homes. In some cases, residents and private investors are purchasing buildings and homes in the neighborhood and either converting them back to single family structures or substantially reducing the number of units per building and renovating the properties into quality rental housing.
Some of the renovations are pictured below:
Because of the volume of abandoned and boarded up buildings within the Enos Park neighborhood, demolition of buildings are an ongoing process. Since 1977, significant early structures have been demolished. The continued demolition of such structures within the core of the neighborhood has had a negative effect over the years, leaving behind vacant lots throughout the area.
However, many unique and historic structures remain. Currently, there are 18 buildings in the Enos Park neighborhood that have been identified as potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. It ultimately is the decision of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council as to whether these buildings are eligible for the National Register. Edwards Place (700 North Fourth Street) is the only building in the Enos Park neighborhood that is already listed on the national register. Many of the buildings in the Enos Park neighborhood would enhance their chances for National Register and City Landmark listing simply by removing siding, painting and limited renovation/restoration work. The EPNIA will seek to offer guidance and advice to property owners wishing to renovate their homes in keeping with these suggested guidelines.
Although the majority of the houses in this area are not eligible to be listed individually as a City Landmark, they collectively retain sufficient integrity to give the feeling of an early twentieth century neighborhood. As defined, historic districts are a collection of properties within a specific area that may lack distinction individually, but as a group represent an important historical or architectural development and also present a feeling of a particular place and time. This is the case with much of the Enos Park neighborhood. Defining the boundaries of that district without gerrymandering them, however, is difficult due to the varying degrees of historic integrity one encounters from one sector of the neighborhood to the next.
The Enos Park neighborhood is slowly progressing in the right direction of the good standing that it once had. The market for homes in the Enos Park neighborhood has increased in the past 5-10 years, as have the property values. There has been quite a bit of commercial development as well as residential renovations, and the medical facilities in the area continue to grow. Buyers are renovating the once decrepit houses, and in many cases trying to preserve the unique architectural elements of these structures.
Although we must strive to protect and enhance the existing architectural resources within this area, other means of preservation should be considered as well. If demolition of a particular structure is warranted, a program of documentation should be pursued prior to the demolition. Several levels of documentation must exist. Minimally, the buildings should be photographically documented (both interior and exterior). Often, a more thorough job of documentation is warranted, consisting of photographs supplemented with archival research, on-site architectural investigations, and in many cases, archaeological investigations prior to demolition of the structure. Such documentation preserves our cultural heritage through the archival record.
The re-building of the Enos Park neighborhood should be considered as a work in progress. All efforts should be made to continually upgrade the status of the inventory forms, particularly in respect to the site-specific historical information; this is a process that can be conducted by volunteer workers. More thorough analysis of the city directories needs to be pursued. Similarly, researching the city architects and their involvement in the neighborhood should be pursued. Additionally, a program of historical archaeology, addressing various questions of ethnic identity and class segregation within the neighborhood, would prove of interest to a wide range of professions as well as the general public.
The following table is based on the study done by Fever River Research in 1997:
It is an ongoing battle for those of us who are struggling to combat the ills that have fallen on the Enos Park neighborhood; most of the older neighborhoods in the city face similar challenges brought on by decades of urban sprawl that left the heart of the city to decay. With the help of those who purchase homes, renovate and rehabilitate dilapidated structures, support from the City of Springfield and the Historical Society, and the hard work of the Springfield Police Department in combating crime, the Enos Park neighborhood will again regain the status of the “Jewel of Springfield,” in the very near future.
There have been major improvements over the past few years, including the complete renovation of Enos Park in 2008; the renovation Gehrmann Park in 2010; installation of historic street lights and pedestrian lights along 5th and 6th Streets; new sidewalks on 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th St.; planting 250 trees in the boulevards; and decorative planters at each of the main entry points to the neighborhood. With the help of many dedicated volunteers and board members, the Enos Park neighborhood is already well on its way to being a glorious place to live in the 21st century!