Category Archives: Amusements

Charles Wood/Carlo Modini, operatic tenor

A torrential rainstorm beat down on Springfield the evening of Sept. 16, 1886. But the weather didn’t stop local opera aficionados from packing the Chatterton Opera House at Sixth and Jefferson streets to hear tenor virtuoso Carlo Modini. “Nearly every … Continue reading

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Fortune-teller scandal, 1897

A fortune-teller with a gift of gab went to prison in 1897, thanks partly to an investigation by Springfield’s first woman dentist. Arthur A. Waite went by the name of “Luke Leslie” when he set up shop at Second and … Continue reading

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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

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Springfield wins minor-league baseball game, 33-23 (1926)

Baseball-mad Springfieldians got more than their money’s worth on July 20, 1926, both on the field and in the next day’s newspaper story. The Springfield Senators, the local entry in the Class B Three-I League, outslugged the Peoria Tractors that … Continue reading

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Riverton Athletic Club

The mammoth home run Robin Roberts hit on Oct. 14, 1951, remains a highlight in the 80-year history of the Riverton Athletic Club. Roberts, a Springfield native who had just completed the second of his six 20-win seasons as a … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Parks, Social life, Sports and recreation | 1 Comment

Great National Horse Show and Equestrian Fair, 1865

The 11th annual Great National Horse Show and Equestrian Fair, held on the outskirts of Springfield in August 1865, was neither national nor, apparently, all that great. But it did draw Harper’s Weekly, the era’s most popular magazine, to central … Continue reading

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Dan Patch sets state fair race record (1906)

An estimated 40,000 people watched Dan Patch, the world’s most famous harness horse, set a new Illinois State Fair pacing record on Oct. 2, 1906. Dan Patch covered the one-mile fairgrounds track in 1:59¼, the first time a harness horse … Continue reading

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Haskell Viaduct (Illinois State Fairgrounds)

The Haskell Viaduct was a pedestrian bridge that connected the Exposition Building to the Poultry Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds from 1897 until, probably, the mid-1920s. The Poultry Building (today’s Artisans Building) also was completed in 1897, but in … Continue reading

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‘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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