City of Springfield, Illinois

James O. Langfelder - Mayor

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Schnepp Block

Schnepp Block

314 East Adams Street, Springfield, IL

At the time of its construction in 1912 the Schnepp Building or “Block,” as it was then referred to, was the largest building of its kind ever built in Springfield. Developed by Springfield realtor and mayor, John S. Schnepp, it consisted of 12 individual storefronts joined together and veneered with a front covering of brick and limestone, giving the appearance of a single building. This transition period marked the change from the earlier single, double or even triple storefronts and later single, large open store buildings to follow. The later buildings, built after 1920, had single, open, expansive interior spaces we recognize today, with only one or two entrances rather than a row of doors into individual storefronts like the Schnepp Block.

The Schnepp Block, while appearing to be one building, reveals its division into individual units on the first floor. Each storefront has an arrangement of entrance doors at its east and west sides with a display window centered between. At the second and third levels a row of double windows have arched heads crowned with large, arched limestone caps. Bands of limestone join the windows in a horizontal pattern and contrast strongly with the dark brownish, rough-faced brick. All these elements contribute to a “modern” horizontal design emphasis. Several dozen businesses—restaurants, appliance stores, electrical shops, hardware stores and others—occupied the Schnepp Block storefronts through the years.