Category Archives: Local government

Harry Taylor, first black firefighter, police detective

Harry Taylor (1861-1928) was Springfield’s first African-American firefighter, but became better known as a Springfield police officer and detective. Positions on both the police and fire departments were patronage appointments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Taylor was … Continue reading

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The Town Branch

Many of Sangamon County’s first pioneers settled next to the Town Branch, a meandering stream that was early Springfield’s defining topographic feature. Starting in the late 1850s, the creek took on a new role, one it continues to hold today: … Continue reading

Posted in Early residents, John T. Stuart, Local government, Maps, Public health | 1 Comment

The whipping post, 1828-37

A whipping post stood permanently on the northeast corner of Springfield’s public square from 1828 to 1837. It apparently was used infrequently, but often enough that whippings stuck in the minds of those who saw them. The post – which … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Early residents, Illinois capital, Law enforcement, Local government, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

‘Deadman’s Crossing,’ 16th Street and Sangamon Avenue

The railroad intersection at 16th Street and Sangamon Avenue earned the nickname “Deadman’s Crossing” in the years before an underpass was built to route traffic below the train tracks. At least 16 people were killed at the crossing between 1903 … Continue reading

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First African-American to hold public office

Springfield’s Hicklin family provided two of Sangamon County’s earliest successful black politicians, as well as leadership in the local civil rights and African-American history movements. Hezkiah Hicklin (1835-1904) was the first black person in the county to hold public office, … Continue reading

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Women’s vote history, Sangamon County

Following the Civil War, Illinoisans decided their state constitution needed updating. Delegates met in Springfield from December 1869 until May 1870, and one of the issues they debated was whether to allow universal suffrage. The 15th amendment to the U.S. … Continue reading

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Annie Rheem Hannon (first woman elected to public office)

The first woman to hold an elective office in Sangamon County was Annie Rheem Hannon (1857-1945), who served from 1892 to 1894 as county superintendent of schools – a position for which neither she, nor any other woman, could cast … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Women | Leave a comment

Lincoln Library’s grandfather clock

The nine-foot-tall grandfather clock that sits on the first floor of Lincoln Library was given to the library in 1936 by the widow of former Springfield School Superintendent J.H. Collins. Collins, according to a bookmark available at the library that … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Schools and school districts | 4 Comments

Lincoln Land Community College founded, 1967

Lincoln Land Community College held its first classes on Sept. 23, 1968, in temporary buildings on a temporary site. Even the name was temporary. LLCC – officially known as Lincoln Land Junior College until two weeks after classes began –was … 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

Posted in African Americans, Amusements, Local government, Parks, Women | Leave a comment