Category Archives: Children

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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Ridgely Elementary School, 1914-1926 (Marguerite Soma memories)

In 1997, students at Ridgely Elementary School, 2040 N. Eighth St., interviewed former Ridgely teacher Marguerite Beechler Soma (1894-1997). Her reminiscences were compiled and published on the school’s Alumni Day web site (in fact, the site was dedicated to her). … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Education, Histories, Schools and school districts, Women | 2 Comments

Springfield traffic rules, 1903

Springfield officials enacted the city’s first ordinance regulating automobiles in 1903, only three years after motorcars were introduced to the city. The rules went into effect on Dec. 3, 1903. The ordinance set a speed limit of 12 miles per … Continue reading

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Seven children die in car/train accident, 1928

Seven young people – six siblings and a cousin – were killed on June 5, 1928, when the car they were in drove in front of a southbound Interurban train near Auburn. The car was traveling west on Divernon Road. … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Disasters, Railroads, Transportation | Leave a comment

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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Edith Martin, teacher & heroine

Teacher Edith Martin may have saved 30 children by forcing them out a second-story window as flames consumed Thayer’s Caldwell School on Feb. 16, 1903. An Illinois State Register special correspondent described the rescues in a highly colored account published … Continue reading

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Ridgely School fire, 1916

Regular fire drills were credited with saving the lives of an unknown number of children when Ridgely School caught fire in the middle of classes on Nov. 15, 1916. The blaze began when sparks from the school’s coal furnace flew … Continue reading

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Measles vaccinations, 1966 (photo)

In February 1966, Illinois Department of Public Health officials predicted a major measles outbreak unless local agencies set up crash immunization programs. “We will have a severe epidemic with deaths and encephalitis … unless there is widespread use of the … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Illustrations, Medicine, Public health, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The J.C. Ayling kite factory

The J.C. Ayling Kite Co., which got its start in a backyard shed on North Seventh Street, manufactured millions of Jolly Boy kites in Springfield from 1911 until the 1940s. The key to the company’s success was an innovation developed … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Children, Industry | 2 Comments

Nude swimming banned, 1921

Springfield Park District officials resorted to a police guard and at least one arrest to keep boys from swimming nude in a Lincoln Park pond in 1921. Officials warned the pond would be closed and drained if swimmers didn’t wear … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Children, Law enforcement, Local government | Leave a comment