Category Archives: Prominent figures

The Sternaman brothers (football pioneers)

Two brothers from Springfield played important roles in the history of football. One co-founded the Chicago Bears. The other, by starring in the most notorious football game ever played in central Illinois, helped bring about tighter rules on amateur sportsmanship. … Continue reading

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Whig Party rally, 1840 (letter)

The Whig Party of Illinois held a giant rally in Springfield from June 2 to June 4, 1840, in support of their presidential candidate, William Henry Harrison. (Harrison and vice-president candidate John Tyler were known by their slogan “Tippecanoe and … 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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Harry Taylor, first black firefighter, police detective

Harry Taylor (1861-1928) was Springfield’s first African-American firefighter, but became better known as a Springfield police officer and detective. Positions on both the police and fire departments were patronage appointments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Taylor was … Continue reading

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Carl Rinnus, popular sculpture

Carl Rinnus (1912-93) is best known as the sculptor/fabricator of the giant fiberglass statue of Abraham Lincoln that stands just inside the Main Gate at the Illinois State Fair. He also created another locally famous piece of Springfield sculpture, the … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Arts and letters, Department stores, Lincoln, Abraham, Prominent figures | 4 Comments

Stephen T. Logan (Lincoln law partner)

Springfield had more than its share of star lawyers – Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas and others – in the 1830s and ‘40s. But everybody agreed the best trial lawyer on the circuit was a short, cranky Kentucky native named … Continue reading

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Brainerd Hill (West Lawrence Avenue)

Brainerd Hill, now Springfield’s favorite sledding spot, once was the ultimate challenge for the city’s competitive bicycle community. Springfield “wheelmen” organized the Capital City Cycling Club in the fall of 1887 to sponsor a variety of bicycling events, foster competition … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Parks, Prominent figures, Social life, Sports and recreation, Transportation, Women | 3 Comments

‘Murder by abortion,’ 1946

A Springfield osteopath was convicted of murder after allegedly conducting an abortion that led to the death of a 19-year-old woman in 1946. Ronald U. Tilley (1897-1966) was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but the Illinois Supreme Court overturned … Continue reading

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Fisher ‘murder’ hysteria, 1841

The case of a “murdered” man who later turned up alive is one of 19th-century Springfield’s best-known legal controversies. That’s mainly because Abraham Lincoln wrote about it, but also because of the roles played by circumstantial evidence, a false confession … Continue reading

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The whipping post, 1828-37

A whipping post stood permanently on the northeast corner of Springfield’s public square from 1828 to 1837. It apparently was used infrequently, but often enough that whippings stuck in the minds of those who saw them. The post – which … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Early residents, Illinois capital, Law enforcement, Local government, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Uncategorized | 2 Comments