The magic of Hermann Carr: October proclaimed his month in Springfield

Marcie Carr-Hagler could have used some luck — or maybe magic — a couple of weeks ago to help her avoid the fall where she broke her leg.

With her leg in a cast and arriving by wheelchair, Marcie made sure she would not miss the special occasion when Springfield City Commission proclaimed October as Hermann Carr Month in honor of her father.

Immediately after the proclamation was read, stories spilled forth from commissioners as well as audience members about the many lives touched by the late police officer and founder of Springfield’s Safety City. Others remembered his performances as a magician.

All were heartwarming stories that his children Clark Carr and Marcie often hear. They reinforce the lasting magic that Carr gifted the Springfield community.

Officer Hermann (he insisted children call him by his first name) launched Safety City education for city kindergartners in the 1960s. Over the next 20 years he would touch the lives of an estimated 20,000 children. Safety City taught youngsters about navigating safely in the world as they began attending school.

They learned about seat belts, traffic signs, bicycles and more.

“He was ahead of his time with policing in schools,” Clark Carr said of his father. “He believed in working with children in their early years and following them all the way through.” While Carr passed away in 2019, Safety City continues to be offered every summer to each new generation starting school.

Carr also built relationships with children over time by returning to the schools to perform his magic act. He appeared at the Clark County Fair, in the annual Memorial Day Parade and various other community events.

October is an especially apt month to honor Carr. In the 1970s he was instrumental to the city participating annually in National Magic Week the last week of October. While alive, Carr would often attend the commission meetings during the observance to perform some magic tricks to underscore the fun and fantasy that magic makes.

As the city celebrates Hermann Carr month during October, community members can also enjoy a display of his magic memorabilia at the Springfield Heritage Center.

These celebrations of Carr’s contributions to the community also coincide with the one year anniversary of the renaming of a portion of McCreight Avenue to Hermann Carr Way in his name. Appropriately the section named for him is visible from his mausoleum in Ferncliff Cemetery, also at the familiar ending location of the Memorial Day parades he participated in for decades.

Marcie maintains Hermann Carr tribute page on Facebook that highlights the many contributions her father made to the community and invites others to share their stories and memories of Officer Hermann and Hermann the Magician.

Photos, posters and newspaper clippings reflect a smiling, energetic presence always surrounded by people enjoying the moments they spent with him. Magic moments for many, still fondly remembered, as clearly demonstrated by those sharing stories at the recent commission proclamation in his honor, Carr’s familiarity and impact continues for those who now qualify as nearly senior citizens.

That is true magic.

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