Author Archives: editor

‘Rags,’ the interurban mascot

Rags, a brown, curly-haired mutt with a habit of hopping trains, spent a happy half-dozen years as central Illinois’ “mascot of the interurban.” Like modern dogs riding in autos, Rags somehow learned that it was fun to joyride on a … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Transportation | 1 Comment

Paul M. Angle, historian

Of the 35 eminent Illinois writers whose last names are engraved on the frieze that decorates the  Illinois State Library, only three had significant connections to Sangamon County. Two are predictable – Abraham Lincoln and Vachel Lindsay. The third is … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Arts and letters, Buildings, Histories, Lincoln, Abraham, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

‘Fossil Boulder,’ Auburn Township Park

Fossil Boulder is the most notable feature of Auburn Township Park southeast of Auburn. The boulder was unearthed in the mid-1980s in Auburn itself, according to a sign at the park. Information on the sign was researched by Marilyn “’lyn” … Continue reading

Posted in Communities, Parks, Prehistory | Leave a comment

‘Alley saloons’

In a 1922 column, Illinois State Journal writer John E. Vaughn explained why many saloons in 19th-century Springfield were located in alleys. See The Sazarac.

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The Sazarac

The Sazarac, a bar, restaurant and center for political intrigue, was a fixture in the 200 block of South Sixth Street in Springfield for more than a century. The Sazarac was on the west side of Sixth Street for most … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Hotels & taverns, Restaurants | 1 Comment

Temperance movement, 1874

Springfield’s women’s temperance movement lost much of its momentum in 1874, after a (male) Methodist minister went out of his way to blame the local liquor trade on immigrant Germans and Irish. Doubly unfortunate for the crusading women, Rev. William … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Churches, Crime and vice, Ethnic groups, Hotels & taverns, Women | Leave a comment

Slovenians in Sangamon County

In 1909, Slovenian immigrants Josef Grobelnik and Bartol Ramschak operated a popular tavern on South 15th Street. At the time, southeast Springfield was filled with young Eastern European families—most of them new arrivals to the U.S. While Grobelnik and Ramschak … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Churches, Crime and vice, Ethnic groups, Hotels & taverns, Social life | 3 Comments

The Elks Club Group (1952)

Adlai Stevenson II’s 1952 presidential campaign attracted the most talented, eloquent political team ever assembled in Springfield (well, except for Abraham Lincoln working by himself). Stevenson’s team of speechwriters and idea men (there apparently were no women) was known as … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Hotels & taverns, Presidential candidates, Prominent figures, Social life | Leave a comment

$50,000 faro fraud, 1931

A fraudulent card game in Springfield in 1931 cost one of Illinois’ most prominent Republican women $50,000 – and her career. Myrtle Tanner Blacklidge (1878-1958) had been U.S. revenue collector in Chicago for two years when she visited Springfield in … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Politics | Leave a comment

Daniel Pope Cook (Congressman, land owner)

The young lawyer for whom Cook County was named was a landowner in early Springfield and the man who prodded the Illinois territorial legislature to apply for statehood. Daniel Pope Cook was born in Kentucky in 1794 and moved to … Continue reading

Posted in Prominent figures, Springfield, State government | 1 Comment