Category Archives: Local government

Bank holiday scrip (1933)

Springfield kept its economy going during the “bank holiday” of 1933 by printing its own money. State and federal officials ordered banks across the nation to close in early March 1933, amid a wave of bank collapses caused by the … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Depression, Local government, State government | 1 Comment

World War I memorial (new)

An obelisk bearing the names of 113 Sangamon Countians who died of wounds or disease in World War I was created in the early 2000s by John Kerasotes, a member of Springfield’s pioneering movie theater family. Kerasotes, however, remained anonymous, … Continue reading

Posted in Historic Sites, Local government, Markers, Military, Sangamon County, Women | Leave a comment

DeWitt Smith Building fire, 1918

When the DeWitt Smith Building caught fire in 1918, modern firefighting equipment saved the building, and a heroic elevator operator rescued many of its tenants. Even so, the top floors of the building, on the southeast corner of Fourth and … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Architecture, Auto dealers, Buildings, Disasters, Local government | 2 Comments

First woman principals in Springfield public schools

Women served as principals in the Springfield public schools for the first time in the 1874-75 school year, but only following a debate in which some board members declared they opposed “so hazardous an experiment as the employment of lady … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Local government, Schools and school districts, Women | Leave a comment

LincolnFest (1981-93)

LincolnFest, Springfield’s Fourth of July street festival, lasted from 1981 through 1993. Aside from fireworks, the free two-day festival offered games, parades, carnival rides, and activities for kids and seniors. Highlights of each year’s event were free performances by nationally … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Celebrations, Local government, Spectacles | 1 Comment

‘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

Catharine Frazee Lindsay, community visionary

Catharine Frazee Lindsay is remembered mainly as the mother of Springfield’s famous poet, Vachel Lindsay. But many of her son’s ideals and, perhaps, some of his literary talent were inherited from his indefatigable mother. Despite a variety of personal trials, … Continue reading

Posted in Churches, Historic Sites, Lindsay, Vachel, Local government, Prominent figures, Women | 3 Comments

New Deal projects, 1930s

Thousands of people clogged downtown Springfield on June 30, 1939, celebrating the fact that streetcar tracks no longer crisscrossed Monroe Street. The giant festival, which included three bands, a jitterbug contest and appearances by city officials, was the climax of … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Buildings, Celebrations, Depression, Local government, Social services, Transportation | 2 Comments

Lincoln Library and World War I

World War I doughboys wanted reading material – “good red-blooded fiction” and more – and they got it with the help of Springfield’s Lincoln Library. But a small box stored for almost a century in the Sangamon Valley Collection, the … Continue reading

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John Schnepp, mayor & embezzler

John S. Schnepp (1866-1954) was a lawyer, real estate developer and two-time mayor of Springfield. He also was an embezzler and philanderer. With his thefts on the verge of exposure in January 1932, Schnepp disappeared. Discovered three years later selling … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Crime and vice, Local government, Prominent figures | Leave a comment