In 2015, we opened our second location in Half-A-Hill Center at the intersection of Lone Pine and East Battlefield. We were drawn to the site because of its fascinating history, with roots dating all the way back to the 1920's when Lone Pine was still a dirt road. That plot of land used to be home to Half-A-Hill tavern, a popular restaurant and dance hall known for great music and unrivaled fried chicken. While the original Half-a-Hill was torn down in 1978, we’re still fascinated by its role in Springfield history.
Our Historic LocationToday, Half-A-Hill Center sits at the intersection of East Battlefield and Lone Pine. It’s the home of our Battlefield location, as well as B2 Cafe next door. We also share the shopping center with retail and grooming destinations, but it looked a lot different 50 years ago.
This site used to be home to the original Half-A-Hill, a tavern and dance hall that opened about five miles southeast of what was then Springfield’s city center. According to local history blog Ozarks Alive, Half-A-Hill’s name had nothing to do with its placement on a hill. Rather, it was named after a short story published in the Ladies’ Home Journal about a couple who met halfway up a hill to spend time together.
A Dining LandmarkOzarks Alive reports that Maude Belle Hickman was the mastermind behind Half-A-Hill. As a cook and businesswoman, she took the landmark business from a tiny roadside food stand to an iconic destination alongside her husband, Walter Clarence Hickman. For nearly six decades, Half-a-Hill was a destination for anyone who wanted to have a good time and get a taste of Maude’s famous fried chicken recipe. Things have changed a bit now, but one thing remains the same: People still flock to the property for great eats—although it’s for pasta and smoothies instead of fried chicken these days.
Other Local Ozarks Landmarks to KnowHalf-A-Hill’s history is fascinating. If you’re a local history buff, here are a few other places of note to check out:
Calaboose MuseumLocated at 409 West McDaniel, the old Calaboose was built in 1891, making it the oldest existing structure owned by the City of Springfield. Originally used as a jail, the building now serves as a police substation and includes a police museum on the first floor. It was also carefully restored by the City using the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation Projects, as well as extensive research from the City archives.
Pythian CastleThe Pythian Home of Missouri, also known as Pythian Castle, was built in 1913 by the Knights of Pythias. The gorgeous, sprawling building was used by the U.S. military to house German and Italian prisoners-of-war during World War II. The building is now privately owned and open to the public, offering events like ghost tours and even weddings. The building was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
Wilson’s CreekWilson's Creek National Battlefield was the home of the first major Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi River. Now, visitors to Wilson’s Creek can experience historic reenactments and take a tour of the Ray homestead, where John Ray and his wife, Roxanna, lived with their children during the Civil War.
Even though Half-A-Hill was torn down more than 40 years ago, it’s still fascinating to remember the property as it once was: a tavern, roadhouse and dance hall for rowdy guests. Come see for yourself: Pay us a visit, or give us a call at (417) 883-5748 (B2 Cafe) or (417) 881-4442 (Bambinos on Battlefield) with any questions.