Category Archives: Communities

Pensacola

“Pensacola” was the name given to a tiny, unincorporated community in Cotton Hill Township, southeast of Springfield, in the 1800s. The area is designated for inundation if and when Hunter Lake is ever created as a backup water source for … Continue reading

Posted in Communities, Early residents, Historic Sites, Hotels & taverns, Mills, Politics, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Rural mail delivery begins, 1896

The first rural mail deliveries in Sangamon County – in fact, in all of Illinois – took place in the Auburn area on Dec. 10, 1896. Rural Free Delivery, as it became known, started as a nationwide experiment, one many … Continue reading

Posted in Communities, Politics, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

The Battle of Virden (1898)

The 1898 “Battle of Virden,” a 10-minute gunfight that killed 13 men and had lasting significance for Illinois coal mining, was fought in Macoupin County, just south of the Sangamon County line. However, the Virden confrontation also led to turmoil … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Business, Coal mines and mining, Communities, Industry, Labor unions, Markers, State government | Leave a comment

Italian immigration

More than 1,000 people paraded through downtown Springfield on Oct. 12, 1920, to celebrate Columbus Day. Floats depicted the Statue of Liberty, Christopher Columbus himself and Columbus’ flagship, the Santa Maria. Italian fraternal societies from Springfield, Virden and Decatur turned … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Coal mines and mining, Communities, Prominent figures | 7 Comments

‘Wigwam tree’ and sulfur spring, Loami

The “wigwam tree” was a hollow sycamore near Loami that, according to John Carroll Power in History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County (1876), was once measured at 18 feet in diameter. Power wrote that the tree stood “a … Continue reading

Posted in Communities, Early residents, Native Americans, Prehistory | 4 Comments

Old Stone House, Rochester

The Old Stone House, a project of the Rochester Historical Preservation Society, is an 1830s dwelling moved from its original site east of town to near Rochester Community Park. It is open periodically as a living history demonstration. The house … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Communities, Historic Sites, Lincoln, Abraham, Markers, Museums | 1 Comment

Riddle Hill

Riddle Hill got its name in 1899, when farmers and other residents west of Springfield expected a proposed Springfield-to-Jacksonville electric railway to boost land prices in the area. The Illinois State Journal announced the creation of a new Riddle Hill … Continue reading

Posted in Communities, Prominent figures, Transportation | 2 Comments

Pawnee High School fire, 1958

Pawnee High School was demolished by a fire on Feb. 24, 1958, that was ignited by a student attempting to break into the school’s vault. Frank Carlos Ewing Jr., 15, admitted to Sangamon County sheriff’s investigators that he broke into … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Communities, Crime and vice, Disasters, Education, Law enforcement | 9 Comments

Divernon school photos, 1920s

The above photos of Divernon school students were provided by John Faber. Students’ identifications (except for a few relatives of Mr. Faber) are not available. Divernon opened its first school in 1887, but school enrollment began to jump after the … Continue reading

Posted in Coal mines and mining, Communities, Education, Photos and photosets, Schools and school districts | Leave a comment

Sangamon Ordnance Plant

Dozens of seemingly out-of-place structures dot farm fields west of Illiopolis, the last reminders of what once was one of the U.S.’s largest producers of World War II artillery ammunition. From 1942 to 1945, the Sangamon Ordnance Plant produced 24 … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Agriculture, Buildings, Communities, Disasters, Industry, Military, Transportation, Women | 21 Comments