Inside a Piece of Springfield’s History: The Day House

Sep 17, 2014

Like many downtown U.S. cities, historical landmarks are commonplace. The City of Springfield is no different.  KSMU’s Simone Cook tells us about the city’s third-oldest structure, located just south of the square.

Credit Simone Cook

Originally built in 1875, the Day House is Springfield’s oldest brick residence. Located at 614 South Avenue, the home was constructed by George Sale Day, a local politician and owner of the Hudson Brickyard. The bricks used for the Day House were made from Mr. Day’s own kilns, as a way to showcase his craft.  Not only is the home important for its history, it also is highly praised for its unique combination of Georgian and French Empire architecture style.

Clarissa French is a receptionist for the Ozarks Counseling Center, which has operated out of the Day House for the past year.

“Well of course, its age and its history, and the fact that it was built immediately after the Civil War and it is still standing. It is also a unique design, you don’t see many houses in Springfield or the area that look like this one,” French said.

Day deeded the property to his wife, Theresa. Upon her death in 1882, the property was passed down to her grandchildren.

A city council member for two terms, Day was elected mayor in 1882. His political career ended the following year, but his brick company continued, and Day later partnered with Milton A. McCluer on a grocery business. It was McCluer who purchased the home from the home’s heirs in the early 1900s, and remained in his family until 1943.

The next three decades of the house are somewhat unknown, until the famous Springfield architect Richard P. Stahl saved the building from disrepair in the late 1960s. Robert Weddle, professor and interim director at Drury University’s School of Architecture, says Stahl had his architectural practice in the Day House for a number of years.

“So even while he was building some really new buildings in Springfield, like Parkview High

School, and a number of others, his practice was housed in the Day House. At a time when a lot of the buildings on that street were getting torn down using federal redevelopment money, he was promoting saving buildings like that.”

Stahl worked to get the Day House on the National Register of Historic Places. This being one of the reasons behind the beautiful condition the nearly 140 year old home is in now.

As the home’s current tenant, Ozarks Counseling Center recognizes that history, which the organization says it hopes to preserve for generations to come.