In the early 19070’s a group of people from greater Springfield got together to try to preserve the historic Victorian townhouses on Mattoon Street. The street was suffering badly from blight and fires and was a sketchy street filled with boarding houses (where you could rent space by the hour), prostitutes and drugs. Many homes which were built in the late 1870’s to house a single family housed dozens of unrelated people in the 1970’s.
The Quadrangle-Mattoon Historic District was formed in 1971. It was the city’s first Historic District. Without the creation of that historic district and the hard work of several considered private citizens, along with generous government funds to enable capital improvements, the street would not be the gem that it is today. Things like this don’t happen automatically or by chance. It takes planning and public-private partnerships and caring property owners and residents.