Category Archives: Industry

Ridgely family

Nicholas Ridgely, a Maryland native who moved to Sangamon County in 1835, was the father of 13 children by two wives (both named Jane). Here is a look at several Ridgelys who played prominent roles in 19th-century Springfield. *Nicholas Ridgely … Continue reading

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Springfield in 1912 (‘General Facts’)

Above is a page from Springfield: The Capital of the State of Illinois (1912), published by the Springfield Commercial Association, a forerunner of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps the most illuminating “general fact” to the modern reader is … Continue reading

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The Pasfield family (1830s to 1930)

Three men named George Pasfield — father, son and grandson, usually distinguished as “the first George Pasfield,” “Dr. George Pasfield” and “George Pasfield Jr.” — played major roles in the growth of Springfield over nearly a century. 1830s George Pasfield … 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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Armbruster Manufacturing Co.

Armbruster Manufacturing Co., which bills itself as “America’s oldest tent maker,” got its start when Rudolph Armbruster (1852-1922) opened an upholstery business on South Fifth Street in 1875. In its early years, the company also sold “foot rests, folding rockers, … Continue reading

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Illinois Agricultural Works

The Illinois Agricultural Works, founded in 1882, had a farm implement plant at 10th and South streets for a few years. However, it is most notable because of its status as an early, failed business venture of the later cereal … Continue reading

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Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co.

The Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co. (later Fiat-Allis and Fiatallis) made heavy construction equipment from 1928 until 1985 at a 70-acre plant between Sixth and 11th streets and Stanford Avenue and Stevenson Drive. At its peak in the 1960s, A-C employed about … Continue reading

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Amrhein Bakery

Amrhein Bakery, founded in 1888 by Christoph Amrhein (1864-1935) operated first from a shop in downtown Springfield, but moved to Eighth Street and North Grand Avenue a few years later. Business grew to the point that Amrhein built a large … Continue reading

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Bunn-O-Matic Corp.

George Regan Bunn (1915-2002), while managing the Capitol Wholesale Grocery Co. in the mid-1950s, started a division dedicated to coffee brewing equipment. In 1957, he perfected the world’s first flat-bottomed fluted paper coffee filter, a step that revolutionized coffee brewing, … Continue reading

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Carpenter’s Mill

Carpenter’s Mill, a saw and grist mill, was built in 1845 near where modern Business Route 55 crosses the Sangamon River south of Sherman. The rock cut where the old road went through the bluff is still visible. The mill … Continue reading

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