Category Archives: Buildings

Patrick Henry statue, St. Joseph School

The mystery of what happened to St. Joseph School’s statue of Patrick Henry may never be solved. But the question of how a life-sized marble sculpture of a Protestant patriot happened to stand above the entrance of a Catholic school … Continue reading

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Butternut bakery, Jefferson Street

George S. Connelly & Co. began baking bread in an L-shaped building surrounding the corner of Second and Jefferson streets in 1913 or 1914. The Springfield area would eat Butternut bread baked there for almost 60 years. George S. Connelly … Continue reading

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‘The rink,’ 1868-71

This entry has been revised — ed. Springfield’s first ice rink hosted skating contests, floral exhibits, masked balls and the “Knights of the Skate” during its brief existence at Walnut and Monroe streets. “The rink,” as it was simply known, … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Social life, Sports and recreation, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Lustron all-steel homes

More than 4,000 people viewed Springfield’s first all-steel Lustron home when it opened for public inspection on June 26, 1949. The demonstration home at 2255 S. College St. was the first of five that eventually were built in Springfield and … Continue reading

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Johnston-Hatcher fires, 1907 & 1913

The Johnston-Hatcher Co. sold home furnishings of all kinds from 1899 to 1949 in downtown Springfield. The store, however, fell victim to two of the city’s most devastating early 20th-century fires. Johnston-Hatcher was the creation of two sets of brothers … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Airport, Amusements, Auto dealers, Buildings, Business, Crime and vice, Disasters, Farming, Fires, Presidents, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Price-Prather House, Williamsville (National Register)

Williamsville’s Price-Prather House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places partly for its architectural features, but the building’s early owners, especially J. Frank Prather (1859-1927), played major roles in development of the beef cattle industry in Sangamon County, … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Architecture, Buildings, Farming, Historic Sites, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

Ben F. Caldwell: politician, farmer, banker

Ben Franklin Caldwell (1848-1924) was a member of Congress and the Illinois legislature in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He also was a farmer, banker and civic leader whose donations helped build schools in both Chatham and Thayer. … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Business, Fires, Historic Sites, Politics, Prominent figures, Schools and school districts | 3 Comments

Edith Martin, teacher & heroine

Teacher Edith Martin may have saved 30 children by forcing them out a second-story window as flames consumed Thayer’s Caldwell School on Feb. 16, 1903. An Illinois State Register special correspondent described the rescues in a highly colored account published … Continue reading

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Ridgely School fire, 1916

Regular fire drills were credited with saving the lives of an unknown number of children when Ridgely School caught fire in the middle of classes on Nov. 15, 1916. The blaze began when sparks from the school’s coal furnace flew … 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