Category Archives: Department stores

Bressmer department store fire, 1948

Fire caused by a lightning bolt destroyed the John Bressmer Co. department store in downtown Springfield early on May 2, 1948. First reports estimated damages of $2 million. Even though that figure was later adjusted downward to about $1.3 million, … Continue reading

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Boston Store fire, 1915

What was thought to be Springfield’s most disastrous fire ever, up to that point, demolished The Boston Store on the east side of the downtown square on Dec. 7, 1915. The Boston Store was part of a loosely affiliated chain … Continue reading

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Most costly fires in Springfield, 1904-48

The following list of the most destructive fires in Springfield history was published in the May 3, 1948, Illinois State Journal. The list is based solely on the amount of property damage. Damage estimates are not adjusted for inflation. Preliminary … Continue reading

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Myers Brothers’ monkey

A monkey was a mainstay attraction of the second-floor boys’ shop at Myers Brothers Department Store in Springfield for much of the 1950s. Actually, there were at least two monkeys – “Weegee,” who went on display at Myers in 1952, … Continue reading

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Central Illinois Public Service Co.

The utility company now part of the utility conglomerate Ameren Illinois was founded in Mattoon as an electric streetcar line in 1902. The firm eventually moved into other businesses — electric generation and distribution and delivery of  natural gas, water … Continue reading

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John Bressmer Co.

The John W. Bressmer Co. was founded as a dry goods store in 1861 and later expanded into a full-fledged department store, selling men’s and women’s clothing, furniture and household items. With Myers Brothers, it was one of downtown Springfield’s … Continue reading

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Herndon & Co.

Founded in 1866, R.F. Herndon & Co. sold dry goods and women’s and children’s clothing, specializing for many years in gloves. Herndon’s was on Fifth Street until 1964, when it moved to 206 S. Sixth St.  A Herndon’s also opened … Continue reading

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Myers Brothers Department Store

“The Store That Quality Built” began with Morris Myers, an immigrant from Germany who opened a general store in Athens in 1858. Myers moved his store to Springfield in 1865. Morris Myers died in 1873, leaving sons Albert, Louis and … Continue reading

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Albert Myers Jr. (First Citizen)

Albert Myers Jr. (1917-2005), part of the second-generation family management of the Myers Brothers Department Store, was named Springfield’s First Citizen in 1973. His award citation noted Myers’ leadership in both business and charitable activity. Myers served as president of … Continue reading

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S. A. Barker women’s clothing

Sam Barker bought and renamed Newman’s (“A Shop for Ladies”) at 500 E. Adams St. about 1919. S.A. Barker moved to the Illinois Building, on the northeast corner of Sixth and Adams, in 1930. Lester Friedman (1909-95), who began working … Continue reading

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