One wouldn’t ordinarily see much in common between a Wild West outlaw, a rock star, and a movie-star-turned-President. But they actually have something quite notable in common: Springfield, Missouri! It turns out that all three have a connection to the Queen City, which is just part of our fascinating history.
Wild Bill Hickok, the famous gunslinger made even more famous thanks to modern Western films and TV series, actually had quite a stay in Springfield back in 1865. Bill was a known poker aficionado who loved high stakes. But he also tended to lose, running up big gambling debts. And it was over just such a debt that Hickok made the Springfield Square famous.
Bill paid off some of his gambling debt to Davis Tutt with a pocket watch. But, he warned Tutt not to gloat by wearing the watch in public. Tutt ignored the warning, displaying the watch. The issue came to a showdown on the square, a classic Old-West draw contest. Hickok won, shooting Davis Tutt dead. Tutt is actually buried in Hazelwood Cemetery in Springfield.
So how does The King fit in? Oddly enough, at the same place The Gipper does. At the Gilloiz Theater! It turns out that both Elvis and former President Reagan both saw films there. Reagan was there for a 1952 premier, Nancy at his side. And Elvis was spotted there between his Shrine Mosque shows when he performed in Springfield in the late 1970s.
Springfield actually has a fascinating history full of sordid characters and major historical events. As part of the midwest, it grew under influences from the East and the West. And being in the middle of the country, Missouri was a divided state between North and South. So it isn’t actually all that surprising that so many famous names have been here. It’s just another reason to love living here!