Category Archives: Politics

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

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

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

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

Posted in Politics, Prominent figures, State government, Women | 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 | 1 Comment

Gambling rivalry, 1931

Threats to bomb one of Springfield’s most visible mansions illuminated the murky connections between city fathers and the local underworld in 1931. Machine-gun toting police officers took up guard posts at 1303 Wiggins Ave. in May 1931, in the midst … Continue reading

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Late-night Springfield, 1935

J. Emil Smith wrote a daily column, “Making Conversation,” for more than 28 years, starting when he became editor of the Illinois State Journal in 1930. Much of the column was made up of briefs, jokes, poems and birthday notices for friends … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Hotels & taverns, Journalism, Local government, Media, Politics, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life | Leave a comment

Prohibition referendums in Sangamon County, 1908-17

Most of Sangamon County voted itself “dry” as soon as it legally could in 1908. But it would take four referendums and nearly 10 years before the city of Springfield finally succumbed to prohibitionist sentiment. After a bitter struggle, the … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Local government, Politics, Race riot of 1908, Restaurants, Social life, Women | Leave a comment

‘Lawsonomy’ in Springfield

Lawsonomy was the general term for a system of philosophy, physics and economics created and promoted by an ex-baseball player and aircraft developer named Alfred W. Lawson (1869-1954). Lawsonomy’s political and economic offshoot was the Direct Credits Society, which, according … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Depression, Photos and photosets, Politics | 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

Posted in Crime and vice, Illinois capital, Politics, Prominent figures, State government | Leave a comment