Category Archives: Architecture

Spring Creek Covered Bridge fire, 1977

A covered bridge spanning Spring Creek west of Springfield was destroyed in what was thought to be an arson fire on Dec. 26, 1977. The bridge – known as the Spring Creek Covered Bridge, the Riddle Hill Bridge or the … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Historic Sites, Transportation | 2 Comments

The Muller blocks (Lenox Avenue from State to Price streets)

Construction contractor Lee Muller (1910-73) built the stone buildings that line the 700 and 800 blocks of West Lenox Avenue. The six buildings, all faced with Bedford stone, contain more than 30 rental units. The original showcase of the complex was … Continue reading

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Downtown arches

The steel arches that once dominated the four corners of Springfield’s downtown square went from being a graceful addition to an eyesore in barely 20 years. Actually, Springfield erected two sets of arches on the square in the late 1800s. … Continue reading

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The Coal Palace

Sangamon County showed off its most valuable mineral by building a “grand coal palace” for the 1889 county fair. The idea for the palace apparently originated with an unidentified Illinois State Journal staff member only two weeks before the scheduled … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Architecture, Buildings, Business, Coal mines and mining, Industry, Labor unions, Spectacles | Leave a comment

Gehrmann Park

The development of Gehrmann Park in 1946 caused the destruction of what then probably was Springfield’s oldest building – a log cabin built by one of the Kellys, the city’s first European settlers. The three-acre park between Third and Fourth … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Early residents, Parks, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Lincoln Tomb custodian’s home

A contract to build a home for the custodian of the Lincoln Tomb was awarded to Col. James Culver’s contracting company in August 1895. The cost was $2,500, and the design was very specific. The Illinois State Journal spelled it … Continue reading

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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

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, State government | Leave a comment

Lincoln Library Carnegie building, 1904-74

Springfield residents fondly remember the city’s Carnegie library, opened in 1904 and demolished in 1974, for some of the same features that ultimately made the building unsuitable as a library. The library was memorably described by Margaret Boswell in an … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Arts and letters, Buildings, Local government | 6 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

Lincoln Tomb: Statuary and symbolism

This entry is a lightly edited version of a presentation given by Mark Johnson, historian for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, to the 2014 volunteer dinner hosted by the Lincoln Monument Association, a non-profit support group for the Lincoln Tomb.  … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Arts and letters, Historic Sites, Lincoln Tomb, Lincoln, Abraham, Military, National Register | 3 Comments