Category Archives: Amusements

‘Toy-pistol tetanus’

Dozens of young Sangamon County residents were injured, and a few killed, by toy pistols during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The pistols were a regular feature of the Fourth of July, which is when the vast majority … Continue reading

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Courthouse square locomotive

Two thousand people filled Adams Street in 1915 to watch a steam locomotive puff its way from Third Street to the courthouse square. The engine – the Chicago & Alton Railroad’s No. 533 – was set up on the south … Continue reading

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Second Christmas parade (1929)

Correction: This entry has been retitled. The first Christmas parade (smaller and less formal) in Springfield was held in 1914. You can read about it here. Embarrasssed apologies from SangamonLink’s editor, who wrote both entries, for forgetting the first one. And … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Celebrations, Children, Department stores, Depression, Spectacles | 1 Comment

‘Napkin social,’ First Methodist Church (1895)

The napkin above, printed in 1895, is a rare relic of a fundraising technique that was popular among women’s church groups in the late 19th century – “napkin socials.” The idea was that members of a group – in this … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Churches, Women | 1 Comment

The Sternaman brothers (football pioneers)

Two brothers from Springfield played important roles in the history of football. One co-founded the Chicago Bears. The other, by starring in the most notorious football game ever played in central Illinois, helped bring about tighter rules on amateur sportsmanship. … Continue reading

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Brainerd Hill (West Lawrence Avenue)

Brainerd Hill, now Springfield’s favorite sledding spot, once was the ultimate challenge for the city’s competitive bicycle community. Springfield “wheelmen” organized the Capital City Cycling Club in the fall of 1887 to sponsor a variety of bicycling events, foster competition … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Parks, Prominent figures, Social life, Sports and recreation, Transportation, Women | 3 Comments

The Mill, tavern and restaurant

The Mill, 906 N. 15th St., was one of Springfield’s most popular dining spots for nearly 40 years. Brothers Herman (1897-1980) and Louis Cohen (1893-1962) opened the tavern and restaurant in May 1933 on the same corner where they had … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Fires, Hotels & taverns, Restaurants, Social life, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

‘The rink,’ 1868-71

This entry has been revised — ed. Springfield’s first ice rink hosted skating contests, floral exhibits, masked balls and the “Knights of the Skate” during its brief existence at Walnut and Monroe streets. “The rink,” as it was simply known, … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Social life, Sports and recreation, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Springfield park names

Parks in the Springfield Park District have taken their names from U.S. presidents, local pioneers, subdivisions, donors and others. Here is a list of parks and their name derivations as of summer 2017. Bergen. 2900 Clear Lake Ave. The Springfield … Continue reading

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Tree-sitting fad, 1930

Endurance tree-sitting – climbing trees and staying in them as long as possible – captivated Springfield youngsters, and amused newspaper readers, for several weeks in mid-1930. The local tree-sitters were part of a brief nationwide craze for the stunt. “Long … Continue reading

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