Category Archives: Parks

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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‘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

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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

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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

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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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Women’s bathing suit controversy, 1916

Springfield women’s rights activist Harriett Reid made fun of the Springfield Park Board’s 1916 directive that women’s swimsuits at the new Bunn Park Beach include skirts. The park board had voted 5-1 to impose the restriction, which was sponsored by … Continue reading

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Zoo Park

Zoo Park was an ambitious, but short-lived amusement park set on nearly 200 acres of land off Eighth Street Road north of the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Early ideas for the park included not only a zoo, but also a mile-long … Continue reading

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Irwin’s Park (‘Irwin’s Grove’)

Irwin’s Park, two miles north of Auburn off Illinois 4, is probably the oldest public meeting place in Sangamon County. For many years, it was also one of the most popular. Today, the property, operated by Auburn Township and the … Continue reading

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Gehrmann Park

The development of Gehrmann Park in 1946 caused the destruction of what then probably was Springfield’s oldest building – a log cabin built by one of the Kellys, the city’s first European settlers. The three-acre park between Third and Fourth … Continue reading

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Lincoln Home neighborhood in 1971 (Nelson Howarth)

Nelson Howarth, with only a week to go in his third and final term as mayor of Springfield, testified in April 1971 before the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation in support of designating the Lincoln Home neighborhood … Continue reading

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