Dodds Corner

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Springfield Journal Register, date of paper which originally published the following is unknown.


A famous corner indeed, linked with Springfield history for 80 years! As we say good-bye to it, let's draw back the curtain to 1866 when W. R. Beall opened the first drug store - and a good one - on this site in the then new Conkling Block. In the late 1870's R. N. Doods took over. From then on to his death in 1921, distinctive traditions were built up - continued by W. E. Claypool until his passinb about the first of this year. Old Dodds Corner on the northwest corner of 5th and Monroe was the joint transfer point and community meeting place - "a sort of junction point between the diurnal toil of money-making and the tranquil rest of the fireside." With little variation the same people met there twice a day and often at night. Mr. Dodds proded himself on his prescription service and the quality and variety of his merchandise. Alert attendants dispensed to thirsty thousands Doodds' famous ice cream soda - from "the magnificent fountain for the drink that refreshes and cools but does not inebriate." Husbands and wifes, sweethearting couples and the citizenry in general made this a meeting place. Quite a social center, all in all! On the Monroe Street side, the last door had a little puch-button - that was for the night prescription clerk, who slept there always on call. Yes, a great place was Dodds Corner and long to be remembered in the annals of Springfield!

From the time immemorial, the 5th and Monroe Streets intersection has been Springfield's principal transfer point and downtown "meeting place" - with special reference to old Dodds Corner which occupies the northwest "segment" at this point. Dodds Drug Store, famous for decades, was the bright particular center for the pedestrian traffic which flowed past its doors on both sides. Claypool's establishment now occupies this building - but take a good look at the corner when you pass that way again! Rumor has it that this structure is soon to be replaced with a modern store and office building. The most spectacular fire in 5th and Monroe history was the one of January 17, 1888, which gutted the two Conkling buildings housing Dodds Corner and the Silas W. Hickox grocery on the north. It was a very cold night, 6 degrees above zero, and the Fire Department was hampered at the start by the almost inaccessible location of the flames. However, the fire was brouht under control by morning - with results as shown above. Eleven days later, there was another costly blaze at the H. W. Rokker Printing Company in the block south of Monroe on Fifth Street.

Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe.