Late Springfield police officer-magician Hermann Carr was posthumously honored with a street name and an exhibit to commemorate his life and work as a magician and police officer.
Carr, who performed magic at the White House and was known for protecting and serving the Springfield community, died in 2019.
As a memorial, the city renamed a stretch of street on West McCreight Avenue “Hermann Carr Way,” and most recently, the Clark County Heritage Center opened a new exhibit dedicated to the magician.
The exhibit — a virtual program called Magical Memories: Hermann the Magician – a Magical Life” — was recently unveiled on Zoom and will be displayed through the end of January.
The livestreamed exhibit showcases Carr’s work as both a magician and a police officer.
“He was equally known as Officer Carr as well as Hermann the Magician,” daughter Marcie Carr Hagler told the Springfield News-Sun. “His love for kids meant he blended his magic and police work. Kids were drawn to him.”
Carr’s interest in magic first began when he participated in one of Benjamin Franklin the Great’s magic shows as a child. After, he was inspired to become a magician and taught himself the tricks of the trade. He also had a desire to improve community safety as a police officer.
Carr performed magic alongside his police work, performing at county fairs, schools and other events. In 1978 and 1979, Carr even performed for former President Jimmy Carter at the White House.
After graduating from high school in 1955, Carr enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he often performed magic acts. After the stint in the army, he joined the Springfield police and dedicated 27 years of his life to the department.
Carr was known for creating Safety City, a program educating school children about safety rules for traffic, bicycles, seat belts and fires. The program continues to this day as a free summer course.
Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf called Carr a pioneer in policing and said he would belong to a Springfield Police hall of fame if there was one.
Heritage Center curator Natalie Fritz said the exhibit is one of the most “colorful, bright exhibits we’ve ever done.” The exhibit is set up to resemble one of Hermann’s magic shows, along with all of the props he used.
The livestreamed unveiling also included some of Carr’s magician friends performing his tricks and telling stories about the man that influenced their lives.
“I met Hermann Carr when I was 8 or 9 years old, and he was very influential in my lifelong interest in magic,” Springfield Arts Council Executive Director and friend Tim Rowe said.
Carr’s son and daughter are also in talks with other national museums to preserve their father’s props and life legacy even after the exhibit closes.
“If you look at his page, no one has had a bad thing to say about him, and in today’s climate, that’s hard to find, but that was our dad,” Carr’s son Clark said.