Author Archives: editor

Barbed wire

See Osage Orange (hedge apple).

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Osage orange (hedge apple)

The heyday of living fences on farms lasted less than 30 years. But Osage orange trees, descendants of fencerows planted as early as the 1840s, still line country roads and fill hedge lines throughout central Illinois. As the name suggests, … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Farming | 1 Comment

Italian Villa fire (1932)

The explosion that wrecked the Italian Villa nightclub on East Monroe Street in 1932, killing two, was never explained. Suspicion, fueled by testimony from passersby, the track records of the club’s owners, and a rash of explosions around central Illinois … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Hotels & taverns, Italians, Italians, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

YMCA Athletic Park (1890s)

For a brief period in the 1890s, the Springfield Young Men’s Christian Association maintained what it called an athletic park. The park was on 10 acres leased by the YMCA at the southwest corner of Pasfield and Allen streets. A … Continue reading

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A&P supermarkets

A&P was the first grocery chain to label its Springfield stores “supermarkets.” One A&P on South Grand Avenue was converted to the supermarket concept in April 1940. A second A&P at Fifth and Mason streets was the first local store … Continue reading

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Moran Market

Moran Market (also known as Moran’s Market) was the first self-service grocery store in Springfield. More here.

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First self-service grocery (1918), first supermarket (1940)

The opening of Springfield’s first self-service grocery in March 1918 meant lower prices – thanks to the layoffs of three clerks. The innovator was Moran Market on the northwest corner of Eighth and Washington streets, whose manager, Clyde McElroy, announced … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business | 7 Comments

William Ide (Bear Flag Rebellion)

William Ide, who lived in Sangamon County for six years, traveled on to California in 1845 and became the leader of Americans who challenged Mexican rule in what was called the Bear Flag Rebellion. More information.

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William Todd (Bear Flag Rebellion)

William Todd of Springfield emigrated to California in 1845 and later designed the flag of the short-lived California Republic. More information. 

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William Ide, William Todd and California’s Bear Flag rebellion

Two former Sangamon County residents played key roles in the rebellion that overturned Mexican rule in California in  1846. William B. Ide (1796-1852), was the rebellion’s leader and military commander. William L. Todd (1818-1876), one of Ide’s soldiers, helped create … Continue reading

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