Category Archives: Springfield

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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Springfield street name changes

One might think that names chosen for streets would remain the same indefinitely unless the name causes confusion or the street was physically removed.  Both circumstances have occurred over the years in Springfield. While the city of Springfield generally discouraged … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Springfield, Transportation | 2 Comments

Ridgely village

The village of Ridgely, which ran from about Fifth Street to 15th Street between Ridgely and Sangamon avenues, was among suburbs that sprang up as residential developments expanded beyond the “Grand avenues,” the traditional city limits of Springfield. Ridgely, incorporated … Continue reading

Posted in Communities, Local government, Prominent figures, Springfield | 2 Comments

Springfield city charter election, 1840

Springfield officially became a city on April 6, 1840. Springfield already had been incorporated as a town in 1832. As the community grew, however, city officials – including Abraham Lincoln, who became a town board member in 1839 — asked … Continue reading

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Nelson Howarth (Springfield mayor)

Nelson Howarth (1911-91) was the colorful, combative mayor of Springfield for three terms between 1955 and 1971. During his administrations, Springfield was named an All American city, city boundaries were greatly expanded, and the city initiated construction of a new … Continue reading

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Sangamon County/Springfield timeline, 1818-1840

The following timeline is taken from a handout distributed by Melinda Garvert for a talk she presented at the Iles House on Feb. 17, 2015. Reprinted with permission. 1818 —  Illinois becomes the 21st state in the union due to … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Early residents, Illinois capital, Local government, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Springfield, State government | 5 Comments

The Historic Preservation Association of Springfield

Note: This post has been revised by the author. By the middle 1980s, the preservation of historically and architecturally significant buildings had become the subject of growing attention in Springfield. This attention reflected national trends, as well as regret over … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Historic Sites, Local government, National Register, Springfield | 3 Comments

Springfield in 1939 (Federal Writers Project)

Below are the introductory information and first three paragraphs of the entry about Springfield contained in Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide, published in 1939 by the Federal Writers Project, a Depression-era economic stimulus program. Writers were not identified, but the … Continue reading

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A.J. Liebling on Lincoln’s presence in Springfield (1950)

A.J. Liebling (1904-63), noted essayist and press critic for The New Yorker magazine, visited Springfield in 1950 for the first article in a New Yorker series on the Lincoln tradition. Among those Liebling interviewed were George “Gib” Bunn Jr., Gertrude … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Lincoln, Abraham, Prominent figures, Springfield | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Hawthorne Place

The developers of the Hawthorne Place subdivision were ahead of their time. Its construction, starting in 1902, triggered Springfield’s suburban growth and created new ways of living for residents of the city. Hawthorne Place, which takes in Whittier, Lowell and … Continue reading

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