Tours

 

I have researched and interpeted the following tours, many with the help of collegues, interns, and volunteers. To book a tour for your group, please contact the sponsoring organization (listed after each tour). Costs vary between tours and types. All proceeds support the sponsoring organization. Most walking and bicycle tours require a 10 person minimum. Stay turned for more information on coach tours.

Springfield Highlights Coach Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Springfield is home to some of Ohio's best works of architecture. This bus tour provides an overview of some of these amazing designs, including the Mast Mansion (1881-6), Warder Library (1890), City Building and Market (1890), Bushnell Building (1893-4), Westcott House (1906-8), and News and Sun Building (1929). Requires moderate walking. Some interiors included, but this varies depending on the day and time of the tour. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Hartman Rock Garden (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

The Hartman Rock Garden is one of the nation’s most intriguing and revered works of in situ folk art, an outsider art phenomena where self-taught artists construct fascinating worlds out of concrete, metal, stone, and whatever else they can find. The garden was constructed by Harry George (Ben) Hartman between 1932 and 1944. Join local historian Kevin Rose as he shares fasninating stories about the remarkable objects in this visonary environment. This tour is offered through the Friends of the Hartman Rock Garden.

 

Mast Castle Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Local architect and builder Lon Krider designed the Mast Castle, popularly known as Castle Knoll, for Phineas and Anna Mast in 1882. This masterpiece of craftsmanship, built with locally quarried limestone and over eighteen varieties of wood, took three years to construct. Join us we explore the interior and exterior of one of Ohio’s great Victorian mansions. This tour is offered through a partnership between the Turner Foundation and the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Downtown Victorian Happy Hour Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

At the end of the 19th century, local leaders understood that great architecture was part of their civic duty. With downtown as their canvas, architects painted a streetscape that exemplified Springfield’s past achievements and future aspirations, including Warder Library (1890), City Building and Market (1890), and Bushnell Building (1893). Tour through Springfield’s Golden Age of architecture. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Downtown Modern Happy Hour Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

In the 1960s and 1970s, a new vision for a vibrant downtown materialized through a series of structures that remain today as an enduring imprint of the modern era in Springfield. Join us as we examine the buildings that redefined the downtown experience, from the elegant minimalism of SOM’s Credit Life Tower to the sleek expressionism of Alfred Shaw’s Key Bank Building. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Civic District Happy Hour Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Springfield’s Civic District, a six-block area originally surrounding the city’s central green, has always been a hub of civic activity. It also features amazing architecture from nationally known firms. Join us as we tour some of Springfield’s most impressive designs from the 1920s and 1930s, including Schultze and Weaver’s News-Sun Building, William K. Shilling’s U.S. Post Office, and George Savage’s Covenant Presbyterian Church. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Downtown Modern Art Happy Hour Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Public Art was a vital component of the Core Renewal Campaign of the 1970s. Demolition of familiar buildings in the downtown core paved the way for sleek modern architecture, minimalist landscapes, and daring public art. This tour will explore several works of art, including David Black’s Flipover and Ronald Bladen’s controversial sculpture Oracle’s Vision. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Downtown West Happy Hour Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

As Springfield continues to redevelop downtown’s west end, civic-minded citizens are re-examining the historic structures that have outlived urban renewal. With big projects in the works, there is renewed focus on several regional landmarks, including Crowell-Collier, the Masonic Temple, and the former Elks Building. Join us as we explore Downtown West’s historic past and hopeful future. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Gilded East High Walking Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

With the success of the Champion Reaper in the late 19th century, Springfield led the nation in the production of farm machinery. These industrialists’ vast and often newly acquired wealth manifested in opulent Gilded Age mansions along East High Street. Tour with us through this open museum of architecture and enterprise and discover the rich histories of Governor Bushnell, famed publisher W.W. Norton, and more. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

College Hill South WALKING TOUR (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

This late-Victorian neighborhood surrounding Wittenberg University is one of Ohio’s best kept secrets. Springfield’s three great classically-trained architects, Charles A. Cregar, Robert C. Gotwald, and William K. Shilling, all called College Hill home. Join us to discover the fascinating story of this historic north end neighborhood. This tour features the areas south and east of campus. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

The Hill Walking Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

From the early 1850s to the end of the Civil War, the Hill was one of Springfield’s most affluent neighborhoods. This changed, however, with the arrival of Champion Machine Company in 1868. Join us as we explore the Hill’s early mansions, later working class housing, and the factories that precipitated the transformation. This tour will also pass the birthplace and childhood home of silent-film actress Lillian Gish. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Progressive East High Walking Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

The Progressive Era ushered in a new generation of leaders and entrepreneurs, whose spirit of innovation and civic responsibility contributed to Springfield’s growth and national prestige. Join us as we stroll past their grand East High Street homes, including the Westcott House and Crowell Mansion, which stand today as a tangible reminder of their amazing success. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Belmont Meadows Walking Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

After the aesthetically austere post-war housing boom of the late 1940s, builders turned to experienced architects to design modern prefabricated housing with character and style. Belmont Meadows, developed in 1954, was the fashionable mid-century neighborhood for Springfield’s trendy middle class. Join us as we take a look back at the domestic architecture and culture of 1950s America. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Historic South Fountain Walking Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Prominent Americans like Oliver S. Kelly, William N. Whitely, and Harry S. Kissell are just part of South Fountain’s storied past. With their success, and that of their neighbors, South Fountain came to be recognized as a premier neighborhood for Springfield’s affluent class. Experience the renaissance of this National Register Historic District. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Westchester Park Walking Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Dick Link and Andrew Hellmuth, then up-and-coming local developers, platted Westchester Park in 1953. Its rolling hills and strong deed restrictions made it an ideal neighborhood for the architect-designed modern home. Join us as we examine some of the best local works from the mid-century, including houses by Phil Snyder, Jack Kline and two show-homes by Better Homes and Gardens magazine. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Elmwood Place Walking Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Developed at the turn of the twentieth century by the Brain McGregor Real Estate Company, Elmwood Place contains one of Springfield’s best collections of Colonial Revival inspired houses. Join us as we stroll along majestic Arlington Avenue and nearby streets and experience the tranquil setting of this idyllic suburban neighborhood. Meet at the corner of South Arlington Avenue and East High Street. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Snyder Park Walking Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Amidst the expansion of industry and population in the late nineteenth century, many citizens throughout Springfield resided in congested and cramped living conditions. John and David Snyder responded by providing land for the city to develop a park with scenic vistas and pastoral charm. Join us as we explore how Snyder Park served as an enclave for recreation and reform. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Liberty District Walking Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

From the 1870s to the 1980s, the Liberty District was a vibrant African American neighborhood filled with schools, churches, theaters, and locally-owned businesses. Join us to discover this neighborhood’s remarkable and, at times, tumultuous history, including stories of Civil Rights leaders Hattie Moseley and Dorothy Bacon, boxer Davey Moore, and the fight for Fulton School. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Irish Hill Walking Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

In the 1870s and 1880s, Irish immigrants working in the famed Champion Reaper factories settled this neighborhood surrounding St. Joseph’s parish. Join us to tour this remarkable district and hear the stories of the ill-fated East Street shops, rowdy taverns, and infamous Skinner Gang. This tour will also pass the birthplace and childhood home of famed silent-film actress Lillian Gish. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Hills and Dales Walking Tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Columbus real estate developers Theodore Weyant and P.J. Guthrie developed Springfield’s bucolic Hills and Dales neighborhood in 1915. Its scenic northern section, where charming streets meander through old growth forest, was a direct competitor to Harry Kissell’s neighboring Ridgewood. Join us as we explore this neighborhood’s picturesque wooded landscape and handsome homes. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

Architecture of Charles A. Cregar Bicycle tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Prolific local architect Charles Cregar left an indelible imprint on Springfield before his untimely death in 1896 at age thirty-nine. Numerous local landmarks are among his catalogue of works, including the City Building and Market (now Heritage Center), St. Raphael’s Catholic Church, and Third Presbyterian. Explore the amazing designs of Springfield’s preeminent Victorian architect. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Jack Kline’s Yellow Springs Bicycle tour (YELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO)

Springfield architect John L. Kline held a lifelong affinity for Yellow Springs, which was reciprocated in numerous commissions. Among these, his modernist residential designs of the 1950s and 1960s, reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian architecture, helped shape the village’s avant-garde aesthetic. Join us on this bicycle tour as we examine the exteriors of some of Kline’s best mid-century designs. A stop at the Vernet Ecological Center completes the tour. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Mid-Century Modern West Bicycle tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Local architects like Jack Kline and Phil Snyder reimagined the post-World War II urban landscape with sleek, efficient, modern designs, some of which garnered national recognition. Join us on this bicycle tour as we rediscover some of Springfield’s best mid-century modern designs, including the George and Frieda McCann House, Columbia Gas Building, and Bauhaus-inspired Building X at Crowell-Collier. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Architecture of Robert C. Gotwald Bicycle tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Robert C. Gotwald arrived in Springfield in 1890 and quickly made a name for himself with commissions for family and friends, including Zimmerman Library (1891) and the Gotwald Houses (1892-7). High-profile designs over the next forty-plus years, including those in Snyder Park, made him Springfield’s most celebrated architect. Join us as we explore his remarkable career. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Mid-Century Modern North Bicycle tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Modernism is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Springfield’s north end, yet these historic neighborhoods contain a diverse and impressive collection of mid-century modern design. Join us on this bicycle tour as we examine pre-war International Style houses by Max Mercer, sleek Contemporaries by Jack Kline, all-metal Lustron homes, and a Usonian gem by Roger Montgomery. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Westcott and the Progressive Era Bicycle tour (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

The Westcotts moved to Springfield in 1903 during a period of social and aesthetic reform known as the Progressive Era. Join us on this bicycle tour as we explore the world of Burton and Orpha Westcott from 1903 to the mid-1920s, including associated houses and factories, architecture influenced by the Prairie School, and the City Beautiful park concepts envisioned for Greenmount Cemetery. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Quirky Springfield Bicycle tour (Springfield, Ohio)

While every town has an attraction that could be described as quirky, Springfield has many. Join us on this out-of-the-ordinary bicycle tour as we discover Springfield’s unique assets and unusual stories. From roadside attractions like Ben Hartman’s Historical Rock Garden to the mystery of buried gold at Snyder Park, we will visit the interesting and intriguing gems that make Springfield a one-of-a-kind town. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Eye Spy Springfield (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

It’s a kids’ world, too! That is why we designed this interactive youth tour to connect children with the world around them. Join us as we discover the hidden details on several downtown landmarks, including the United States Post Office and News-Sun Building. Adult accompaniment and participation are required. Geared for children ages 7-12. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Downtown Safari (SPRINGFIELD, OHIO)

Join us to explore the hidden treasures of downtown Springfield on this interactive youth tour. From curious monkeys on Warder Library to watchful lions on the Bushnell Building, we will discover the rich environment that surrounds us and gain an appreciation for what architecture tells us about our community. Geared for children ages 7-12. This tour is offered through the Westcott Center for Architecture + Design.