Category Archives: Public health

Mary Bryant Home

The genesis of Springfield’s Mary Bryant Home for the Blind and Visually Impaired was the meager life savings of a blind woman who understood the need for a safe home. Mary Bryant, born in Chicago in 1854, lost her sight … Continue reading

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Polio quarantine, 1949

In July 1949, with a polio epidemic under way, Springfield officials ordered children under 16 years old into quarantine – confined, with few exceptions, to their own backyards. Hours later, 4-year-old Thomas Suttle died of polio. The boy was the … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Local government, Medicine, Public health | 8 Comments

New Year’s news, 1920

Good news dominated Springfield newspapers on New Year’s Day 1920. The pages of the Illinois State Journal and Illinois State Register were full of predictions about the year to come. Businesspeople were optimistic. Among those the Register quoted was Joseph … Continue reading

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Dr. Sheppard A. Ware, physician

Dr. Sheppard Anderson Ware (1872-1948) was a physician in Springfield for 40 years. He was also was a member of the Sangamon County Medical Society and additionally worked for the Illinois State Department of Health. Born in Brownsville, Tenn., Ware … Continue reading

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‘Segregated district,’ 1909-15

In the early 20th century, the city of Springfield set aside a few square blocks where prostitutes were allowed to ply their trade without interference from police. The theory behind the quasi-legal “segregated district” was to keep the rest of … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Local government, Public health, Springfield Survey, Women | 1 Comment

First blood transfusions

Dr. Don Deal (1879-1952) performed Sangamon County’s first blood transfusion in 1914 – apparently successfully. The patient was Mrs. Henry Harney of Middletown, who came to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield for removal of a tumor, according to the Dec. … Continue reading

Posted in Medicine, Public health | 2 Comments

Fallout shelters in Sangamon County

On April 5, 1964, about 150 people moved into the sleek, white-tiled tunnels below the State Office Building. They were to remain there for 25 hours, drinking purified water and munching biscuits, while loudspeakers blared warnings and audio recordings simulated … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Communications, Illinois capital, Local government, Maps, Public health | 9 Comments

Newsboys vs. the mayor, 1921

When a newsboy stiffed Mayor Charles Baumann out of 2 cents change, Baumann ordered city police to dismantle every news stand in downtown Springfield. But the newsboys had allies of their own, including an influential group of civic-minded women. The … Continue reading

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The Town Branch

Many of Sangamon County’s first pioneers settled next to the Town Branch, a meandering stream that was early Springfield’s defining topographic feature. Starting in the late 1850s, the creek took on a new role, one it continues to hold today: … Continue reading

Posted in Early residents, John T. Stuart, Local government, Maps, Public health | 1 Comment

Carver Convalescent Center fire, 1972

Investigators never agreed on the cause of the fire that killed 10 residents of a shabby nursing home on May 6, 1972. The number of deaths make the fire at Carver Convalescent Center, 1527 E. Washington St., the worst single … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Disasters, Fires, Public health | Leave a comment