Richard Crabtree

Johnson Family Collection

Drive by Phelps Grove Park in central Springfield and you'll likely see people walking their dogs, playing Frisbee, or having a picnic. This park is over 100 years old, and we explored its past as part of our ongoing Sense of Place series looking at local history.

According to Richard Crabtree, a local realtor and Springfield historian, the land for Phelps Grove Park was purchased during the Civil War, but it did not become a park until 1914 when it became both a park and a neighborhood.

Richard Crabtree
Ryan Welch / KSMU

So you’re in the market for a new home, or just bought one, and curious about its history. When was it built? Who were its previous occupants? Most sellers would have some of this information, but would that tell the whole story? Richard Crabtree is a realtor with Murney Associates in Springfield who, in addition to his day job, spends countless hours digging up historical data on properties. In fact, the back of his business card reads “Realtor – Historian – Restorer.”