Category Archives: State government

Women win civil service hiring rights in Illinois, 1920

Harriett Reid of Springfield placed first in the 1918 examination for arbitrator with the Illinois Industrial Commission. But when the commission decided to hire two more arbitrators in 1920, it advertised that it wanted men for both posts. That set … Continue reading

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Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum

The Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum was a huge hit when it first opened to fairgoers in 1901. But not huge enough, because the building had to be substantially expanded only two years later. The Coliseum, declared unsafe for use in … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, National Register, State government | 8 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

Paul Powell shoebox scandal

The discovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars stuffed in suitcases, an attache case, loose envelopes and, of course, a shoebox within days after the October 1970 death of Illinois Secretary of State Paul Powell remains clouded by confusion and … Continue reading

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Willard Ice, ‘Mr. Revenue’

Willard Ice (1915-80) was an attorney and public servant at the Illinois Department of Revenue for more than 30 years, including a brief period as revenue director.  The Revenue Department’s headquarters in Springfield is named after Ice, commemorating his contributions … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Illinois capital, Prominent figures, State government | 3 Comments

Stephen A. Douglas’ missing finger

Before he was Abraham Lincoln’s foil in the 1858 contest for U.S. Senate in Illinois and then for the presidency in 1860, Stephen A. Douglas was a regular presence and sometime resident in Springfield. Douglas also was, briefly, Lincoln’s rival … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Early residents, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Lincoln, Abraham, Politics, Presidential candidates, Prominent figures, State government | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Elizabeth Magie (‘Monopoly’ precursor)

Elizabeth Magie, who designed the heart of what later became the board game Monopoly, spent much of her youth in Springfield. Magie (1866-1948) moved with her family to Springfield in the late 1870s, after her father, formerly a newspaper editor … 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

Executive Mansion demolition plan, 1963

Postponed maintenance, repair crises and general dilapidation have been recurring problems at the Illinois Executive Mansion – most recently in 2014 and 2015, when a leaky roof and mold in the basement helped create a need for more than $5 … Continue reading

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Suicide of Secretary of State Harry Woods, 1914

Springfield and Illinois as a whole were shocked when the news broke Oct. 12, 1914 that Secretary of State Harry Woods had shot himself in the garage of his home at 628 S. Walnut St. Woods, 51, had been dead … Continue reading

Posted in Law enforcement, Politics, Prominent figures, State government | 2 Comments