Book Report: Crossroads at the Spring edited by Shanna Boyle and Julie March (1997)

This book represents my first foray into the history of my new locale, the Springfield area of Missouri. Comparatively speaking, its history extends further back than Webster Groves, Missouri, did. Webster Groves was a proud suburb of St. Louis, and rightfully so: Webster Groves as a suburb extended back over 100 years. But Springfield, as a town and a region, compares something to St. Louis itself and goes back into the early 19th century (I know, St. Louis goes back further, but bear with me here).

This book is a photographic history, which means that it doesn’t present a narrative, but rather a grouping of photographs. As such, it silos up the Springfield story into things like churches, art organizations, government, and so on, and presents some related photos for each category as well as some text talking about how that silo progressed from frontier days into the present day, ca. 1997.

You know what? Those very limitations make it a good primer for the region’s history. It provides some photographs, including some buildings that survive until today, and it provides a selection of interesting tidbits. For example, I now know the original name of the town that would be known as Springfield and I know a story about cobras (the snakes) that indicates cobras appeared on the city seal (although I have no photographic evidence the seal includes or included cobras). Which is enough to make one want to learn more.

Also, a book of pictures coupled with a bit of text is good for perusing during football games (as we’ve previously discussed).

Books mentioned in this review:

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