Ghost Stories from Springfield MO

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Closer to home, this week’s spooky tales come from a city about an hour from Joplin. It was fun to spend a day photographing haunted locations and to take an evening ghost tour of a castle.

The castle proved so interesting that I’ll do a separate post to adequately highlight all the spooky happenings there. Check out all five of the locations I visited for Ghost Stories from Springfield MO.

Ghost Stories from Springfield MO title

Springfield, Missouri

Currently the third largest city in Missouri, the Springfield area originally was home to Native American tribes that included Kickapoo, Osage and Lenape. The first European settlers arrived in 1829, from Tennessee.

John Polk Campbell later donated land from his property for Springfield’s public square and he platted the town site. Springfield incorporated in 1878, with the nickname of “Queen City of the Ozarks”.

The city held strategic importance during the Civil War, with Springfield’s divided loyalty between the North and the South. On August 10, 1861, Union and Confederate troops fought for control of the city in the Battle of Wilson Creek. Considered a Confederate victory, the battle saw the death of Nathaniel Lyon, the first Union general killed during the war.

Today, with a population of more than 170,000, Springfield is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the state. Their historic downtown is enjoying a resurgence and the city’s lively culture includes theaters, art, music, dance and opera.

With her turbulent history that includes the forced relocation of Native peoples, Civil War battles and racial violence, there are plenty of locations within Springfield that classify as haunted.

Bride Ghost of Phelps Grove Park Bridge

This 31 acre park, established in 1931, is situated in a beautiful older neighborhood in Springfield. Once part of the Phelps homestead, the original 1,050 acres belonged to the founding “father” and “mother” of Springfield, John and Mary Phelps. John, a Missouri congressman and the 23rd Governor of Missouri, and his wife Mary aided and educated orphans during and after the Civil War.

At the entrance to the park, visitors cross over an old fieldstone bridge that arches over a drainage canal.  Legend has it that on their wedding night, a couple crossed the bridge in their carriage. The horse bolted, causing the carriage to flip over the railing of the bridge. The carriage landed upside down, killing the newlyweds.

People claim to see a woman near or under the bridge, dressed in a flowing white wedding gown. She appears forlorn. And some report that her face is missing. The park and bridge are popular sites for paranormal investigations and abnormal energy readings.

Ghost Stories from Springfield MO phelps bridge
Ghost Stories from Springfield MO – Bride Ghost at Phelps Bridge

Drury University Ghosts

Drury University opened its doors to 39 students in 1873. Over the years, the campus expanded as did the student body. Today the 40 acre campus includes many academic buildings…and more than a few ghosts.

Drury University occupies land that once served as Native American burial grounds. Later the Civil War raged around it. And Smith Hall, a women’s dormitory, is built on the site of a row of Victorian homes. A little girl, caught in a fire that caused her demise, lived in one of those homes. Her ghost lingers. Dressed in pink, the ghostly girl wanders the hallways, looking for her teddy bear.

Other students in the same hall report locked doors and dresser drawers opening and objects out of place in their rooms.

In Clara Thompson Hall, students report pianos that play by themselves and doors that slam closed. And in Wilhoit Theatre flickering lights move about the building when no one is inside.

Ghost Stories from Springfield MO drury university
Ghost Stories from Springfield MO – Clara Thompson Hall at Drury University

Restless Spirits at Landers Theatre

This pretty terra cotta building, built in 1909, has been in continuous use since its completion. It began life as a playhouse and later became one of the first “talkie” motion picture theaters. After major renovations in the 1980s, Landers Theatre today hosts plays, musicals, ballets, symphonies and other artistic performances.

It is also home to restless spirits.

One of the most frequently seen ghosts is a janitor who died in the theatre during a fire in 1920. The janitor hangs out in the balcony, claim the actors who see him from the stage. Others report experiencing another ghost, a baby who accidentally fell from the upper balcony. They hear the fall repeatedly, on a loop. Or hear the baby crying, followed by comforting sounds from the baby’s ghost mother.

Above the stage, a vaudeville stagehand hanged himself from the rigging. His ghost haunts the catwalks.

Another ghost peeks from a fourth floor window, watching passersby walking along Walnut Street. This spirit, a man with long blond hair and wearing Elizabethan clothing, is never spotted from inside the theatre…only by people outside the building.

Ghost Stories from Springfield MO landers theatre
Ghost Stories from Springfield MO – Landers Theatre

Permanent Guest at Walnut Street Inn

This pretty bed and breakfast at 900 E Walnut Street, built in the mid 1890s, has a permanent otherworldly guest. She claims the Rosen Room as hers. A man staying in the room looked up from where he reclined on the bed to see a woman sitting at a table against the wall.

“Excuse me,” he said. “This is my room!” The woman replied that it was her room…and disappeared.

Others report seeing the woman sitting on the edge of their beds. And people often feel a cold draft on the backs of their necks.

Activity appeared to increase in the inn after a 1998 renovation. If you dare, you can make a reservation HERE. Would I? Yes! In fact, I hope to stay there soon.

Ghost Stories from Springfield MO walnut street inn
Ghost Stories from Springfield MO – a permanent guest at Walnut Street Inn

Haunted Castle

I only recently learned that Springfield has a castle! Image my excitement to discover that it offers year around ghost tours.

Pythian Castle, constructed in 1913, originally housed older members of the Knights of Pythias and their widows and orphans. Later the military purchased the castle and used it as a prisoner of war camp during WWII and a place to rehabilitate burned and injured US troops. It is now privately owned and available for special events and history and ghost tours.

At least 100 deaths occurred within the castle. Causes of death range from diseases such as tuberculosis to accidents to suicide. Many spirits haunt Pythian Castle.

Ghosts include children who speak to and play pranks on visitors, Mr. Boots who lurks in a tunnel in the basement, the spirits of soldiers and shadow people.  Several paranormal investigators have captured audio and video evidence of the hauntings at the castle, including the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures crew.

Tours last 90 minutes and include a very interesting and informative video. If you live in the area or pass through Springfield, stop for a tour. Info HERE.

Does your city offer ghost tours?

I learned a lot of Springfield history while checking out these haunted locations in the city. In fact, that’s one of my favorite reasons for participating in a ghost tour or creating my own version of one…learning the oft times hidden history of a place.

It’s fun to explore historical cities, such as Washington DC, and learn about their local ghosts and legends. However, small towns and perhaps YOUR hometown have their own spooky tales as well.

You can read Joplin’s ghost stories. And I’d love to learn about your city’s ghost tales as well. Share a spooky story in the comments below.

Ghost Hunting
Ghost Hunting at Pythian Castle

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Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri

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During these past two years, with travel more restricted due to the pandemic, I’ve discovered that adventures are literally everywhere. I don’t have to travel far to find fun places to explore.

On a recent solo getaway weekend, my destination lay 75 miles east of my hometown of Joplin, Missouri. Springfield is a big, sprawling city that offers many fun experiences. For this weekend, I chose a part of the city that I didn’t even know existed.

Come explore historic C Street in Springfield Missouri and see why I enjoyed my weekend so much!

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Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri

C Street is what the locals call Commercial Street, in northern Springfield. This six block historical section of the city is home to coffee shops, a variety of restaurants and charming stores. It’s an oasis with a small town feel, in the midst of a big city.

My weekend here, with Culture Boutique Hotel as my home base, included doing an Adventure Challenge. The challenge was to explore in a new area, visit a restaurant and a museum or shop, and then create a fresh narrative about that place.

While I explored C Street, I created a story about this charming and delightful small town, in the shadow of a much larger one. Because those six blocks lined with 1870s and 1880s buildings reminded me of a thriving downtown in a small community.

When I later researched C Street, I discovered my made up narrative was actually the truth. Commercial Street used to be the hub of a small town, North Springfield.

Historic C Street shops
Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri – shops and restaurants
Explore Historic C Street downtown feel
Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri with its downtown feel

The Origins of C Street

In 1870, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad came into the area. It bypassed the town of Springfield and laid tracks north, to the new community of North Springfield, established with the purpose of attracting the railroad.

A commercial district grew around the train depot and Commercial Street was born.

Many Springfield businesses moved to the new district, catering to the railroad personnel, inhabitants and travelers. Bars, restaurants, hotels and shops opened. Commercial Street was THE place to go for good food, unique shops and music.

North Springfield became a part of Springfield in 1887. The area continued to thrive until the 1960s. When rail travel declined, the population and businesses shifted south.

The Commercial Club, found in 1928, fueled interest in revitalizing the area. The street was designated a historic district in 1978 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Today it is once again a thriving area favored by artists, craftsmen, teachers, students and businesses.

Explore Historic C Street art
Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri – street art

Explore the Restaurants on C Street

You won’t find chain restaurants or fast food joints on C Street. Savor a meal in one of the area’s fine restaurants. From local flavors to ethnic foods, coffee or tea to breweries, C Street is a delight for the culinary adventurer.

The Artisan Oven 206 East Commercial – offering breads, pastries, desserts, coffee and tea and breakfast and lunch.

Basilico Italian Café 306 East Commercial – offering Italian food for lunch and supper.

Big Momma’s 217 East Commercial – offering coffee and tea and soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods for breakfast, lunch and supper.

Café Cusco 2234 East Commercial – offering Peruvian inspired meals for lunch and supper. (Read my review of Café Cusco HERE). Reservation required.

Eurasia Coffee and Tea 445 East Commercial – offering casual dining for breakfast, lunch and supper plus coffee and teas. This café is part of Culture Boutique Hotel and open to the public.

Gilmore’s Tea Room 211 East Commercial – offering a variety of teas and sweet treats plus lunch.

La Habana Vieja 220 West Commercial – offering authentic Cuban cuisine for lunch and supper.

Linberg’s Tavern 318 West Commercial – the oldest tavern in Springfield offers drinks and meals from noon until midnight.

Pizza House 312 East Commercial – offers hand rolled, thin crust pizza from 11:00 until 9:00

Ruthie’s on C Street 504 East Commercial – offering soups, sandwiches, drinks and live music.

That Lebanese Place 338 East Commercial – offering authentic Lebanese food for lunch and supper.

Van Gogh’s Eeterie  334 East Commercial – offers Dutch inspired food for breakfast, lunch and supper. Reservation required.


Moon City Pub 420 West Commercial – offers craft beers and cocktails plus gourmet soft pretzels and live music

Q Enoteca 308 West Commercial – offering wine, craft beers and appetizers.

White River Brewing Company 505 West Commercial – offering beers and live music.

Creating Adventure cafe cusco 2
Café Cusco, serving delicious Peruvian food.

Explore the Shops on C Street

A variety of unique and fun shops await the visitor to C Street. I love that it’s easy to walk this six block area and discover so many interesting places to explore.

I share just a sampling of what’s available on historic C Street.

Askinosie Chocolate  514 East Commercial – offering award winning, made from scratch chocolates.

Chabom Teas & Spices 209 East Commercial – offering a wide variety of spices and spice mixes plus teas and tea blends.

Cymphony’s on C Street 426 West Commercial – offering unique clothing and treasures.

Footbridge Trading Company 320 East Commercial – offering unique gifts from local artisans.

Gypsy Girl Junk 225 West Commercial – offering vintage and flea market type finds.

Hakaar’s Bazaar 217 West Commercial – offering vintage furniture, decor and lots of fun stuff.

Ms Gilmore’s Vintage Suitcase 211 East Commercial – located in the same shop as Gilmore’s Tea Room, this fun space offers clothing, new merchandise, collectibles and antiques.

Springfield Mercantile Co 326 East Commercial – offering natural home goods for a simple, sustainable lifestyle with zero waste.

A Wench in Gear 301 East Commercial – offering upcycled, sustainable corsets and clothing.

Although it is closed for the season, The C Street City Market, 321 East Commercial, offers local produce, soaps, baked goods, herbal tinctures and salves, gifts, jewelry and so much more, from April until October.

Explore Historic C Street mercantile
Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri – Springfield Mercantile Co
Explore Historic C Street tea market
Explore Historic C Street in Springfield Missouri – Chabom Teas and Spices

My Experience on C Street

I am so grateful that I ended up on C Street, for my solo getaway weekend.

I parked my car at the hotel and didn’t get in it again until I headed home. Within walking distance of the hotel are all the restaurants and shops I wanted to explore. I enjoyed breakfasts and suppers at Eurasia Coffee and Tea. Plus my first experience with Peruvian food happened at Café Cusco when I dined there for lunch on Saturday.

And I loved my leisurely explorations in the eclectic shops.

One of my favorite experiences was afternoon tea at Ms Gilmore’s. I seriously could spend an entire day wandering around that two story shop and the tea was delightful.

I look forward to another trip to historic C Street. One visit is not enough to see all that there is to see! I appreciate the warm, close knit community and all that it offers.

Are you ready to explore historic C Street in Springfield Missouri?

Explore Historic C Street tea room
Alice in Wonderland inspired tea room in Ms Gilmore’s.


Click photo to order vintage sign.


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Journey 318: 2 Friends & Junk Show Springfield 

On this beautiful fall day, mindful of the tragedy in Paris, open hearted in quiet love, it was good to spend time with some members of my family. Greg drove me, daughters Elissa and Adriel, and Adriel’s fiancé Nate, to Springfield to the 2 Friends & Junk show. 


My girls and I enjoy wandering through craft and junk shows and flea markets. We look for items to purchase, that catch our eyes. And we look for ideas for repurposing things that we already own, at home. Greg and Nate, while not shopping per say, enjoyed looking around as well. They were great to fetch sodas and iced teas, carry packages and take purchases to the car to stow in the trunk. 

Here’s a pictorial representation of my journey today, through the always fun 2 Friends & Junk Show. 
Painted furniture is still a hot item. Some booths sold chalk paint as well. 


 This booth had a cute idea…little Christmas trees tucked into glass jars and silver vases. 


 Loved the little bottle brush trees at this booth. 


Seeing this display, I got an idea on how to create a simple obelisk for my garden. 



Nate, Adriel and Elissa looking through tiny treasures. 

 So many creative ways to decorate for Christmas. 


My favorite booth at this show!


My purchases. Picks of rustic red berries, rusty stars and rusty jingle bells, in a very cool olive bucket. I intend to place a tall skinny artificial Christmas tree in the bucket for the holidays. And find other way to use the bucket as the seasons change throughout the year. 



A leather cuff, stamped with acorns. Acorns are my symbol this year for remembering during my journey. 

We had a fun day at the show. I was inspired, being in the presence of so much creativity. 180 booths meant there was a wide variety of artistic talent on display. And I loved finding vintage items, such as suitcases and antique jewelry, tucked alongside wooden boxes, metal buckets and painted furniture. 
We capped off our trip to Springfield with a late lunch at Zio Italian Restaurant. The food was delicious, the conversation lively and the laughter the type that brings tears to the eyes! I call that a great meal. 

We look forward to the next 2 Friends & Junk Show, in Joplin, in February 2016. The girls and I will be there, with other family members I hope. Listen for our chatter and laughter, and join us. 



Day 112: Springfield Botanical Gardens


Today was a gorgeous spring day. After sales meeting this morning, and taking care of a contract, it felt like the perfect day to be outdoors. I had heard there was a Redbud Tree Garden and a Japanese Garden in Springfield, MO. For my first today, Greg and I drove to that nearby city to check out the gardens. It was only after I was underway that I remembered today was Earth Day! What an ideal way to appreciate the beauty of my world.

The botanical gardens were easy to find. I appreciated that Greg googled the location before we left Joplin. My first surprise was how large and varied the gardens are! There are 114 acres of gardens and grounds that include the Botanical Center, a Butterfly House, a Farmstead, a small lake surrounded by a walking trail, and many different types of gardens to stroll through. We started in the Center to pick up a map and info about the grounds and then headed to the Japanese Garden. As my backyard is being transformed, I want a meditation garden in one corner, with strong Japanese influences. I was excited to see this garden so I could get ideas. Sadly, that was my next surprise…the Japanese Gardens are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays! We peeked over the fence. It looks like a lovely, serene place to stroll and reflect. I will definitely go back to check out this space.

There were so many other gardens to explore that I was not disappointed about the locked gate at the entrance to the Japanese Garden. We strolled instead through the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden. This space includes a perennial border, themed herb beds, and a kitchen garden. The winding pathways made of mulch inspired me to create similar paths in my own garden.

Next we walked along a trail that meandered past the Redbud Garden, which was established in 2011, and the Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House. The Butterfly House opens in May. I have always wanted to go into such a place! I will be visiting this enclosed structure, where a variety of native butterflies move through their life cycles before being released in September. The path then wound through individual gardens housing lilies, irises, roses, peonies, and wildflowers. The plants are just pushing up through the ground. It will be interesting to return several times this year to see how the gardens change with the seasons. I am especially intrigued by the ornamental grasses garden, as I want to include a variety of grasses in my backyard sanctuary.


The path joined the walking trail that surrounds the lake. We found a bench near the water to rest on and watched the Canadian Geese float by. The water was like glass, disturbed only by the passing geese. It was such a peaceful and beautiful spot to be still in and enjoy nature. There are many other gardens to explore that we saved for another visit. I want to check out the White Garden, the Hosta Garden and the English and Summer Gardens. A new sensory garden is being developed that sounds promising as well, and of course, I can’t wait to stroll through the Japanese Garden which covers 7.5 acres.

This was a delightful first and gave me wonderful ideas for smaller scale projects for my own garden. As we were leaving, we met Frank, a volunteer at the Center, who chatted with us and shared his amazing gardening website. Meeting and connecting with new people has been an unexpected and wonderful perk that has accompanied many of my firsts. I assured Frank, and promised myself, that I would return soon. And I will!