This medieval tradition is meant to confer trust and honor; it grows from the medieval walled city whose gates were guarded during the day and locked at night.
The key symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will, as a trusted friend of city residents. The actual 'Key to the City' would function to open the city gates.
In the modern era, the Key to the City is a beloved symbol of civic recognition and gratitude reserved for individuals whose service to the public and the common good rises to the highest level of achievement.
Keys to the City awarded by Mayor Ken McClure:
Feb. 10, 2020
Dr. Robert Spence, president emeritus of Evangel University.
April 19, 2021
Mary Lilly Smith, former director of City of Springfield Planning & Development
March 29, 2022
Johnny Morris, entrepreneur and conservationist
Sept. 19, 2022
William H. (Bill) Darr, entrepreneur and philanthropist
Mayor Ken McClure presents Dr. Robert Spence with the Key to the City in 2020.
Mayor McClure presents Mary Lilly Smith with the Key to the City on April 19, 2021.
Mayor McClure presents Bill Darr with the Key to the City in 2022.