ARCHIVE 2001-2008: 2004 - SOUTHTOWN
In the first half of the 20th century, Springfield’s (Ill.) South Town, a neighborhood defined by the intersection of 11th Street and South Grand Avenue, was a prominent neighborhood shopping center. "A city within a city,” according to The State Journal-Register in 1937, “with stores and shops to suit every need.”
But as the spread of suburbs began to hurt urban neighborhoods, places such as South Town began to slowly deteriorate. In 1937 South Town had 26 stores - today there are eight.
This rough neighborhood begins one block east of the railroad tracks, dividing Springfield into two very different communities. "“This is the crossroads,” says resident Doug Delong.