Category Archives: Coal mines and mining

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

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Windstorm hits Auburn mine, 1911

A violent windstorm demolished the headworks of the Solomon Mine south of Auburn on July 11, 1911, killing one man and injuring several more. The Illinois State Register covered the devastation: The storm approached Auburn from the northeast and all … Continue reading

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Chatham mine cave-in, 1910

The cave-in of an abandoned coal mine on Oct. 15, 1910, caused some nervous moments in Chatham, but turned out not to be a serious danger. The mine, originally opened by the Chatham-Virden Coal Co. about 1900, was closed a … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Coal mines and mining, Disasters, Industry | 2 Comments

Italian immigration

More than 1,000 people paraded through downtown Springfield on Oct. 12, 1920, to celebrate Columbus Day. Floats depicted the Statue of Liberty, Christopher Columbus himself and Columbus’ flagship, the Santa Maria. Italian fraternal societies from Springfield, Virden and Decatur turned … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Coal mines and mining, Communities, Prominent figures | 7 Comments

Irwin’s Park (‘Irwin’s Grove’)

Irwin’s Park, two miles north of Auburn off Illinois 4, is probably the oldest public meeting place in Sangamon County. For many years, it was also one of the most popular. Today, the property, operated by Auburn Township and the … Continue reading

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Divernon school photos, 1920s

The above photos of Divernon school students were provided by John Faber. Students’ identifications (except for a few relatives of Mr. Faber) are not available. Divernon opened its first school in 1887, but school enrollment began to jump after the … 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

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The Political Rise of the Adamitis & Yacubasky Families

From Lithuanians in Springfield, Illinois The story goes that for decades, Republican Party leader Don “Doc” Adams (Lith. Adomaitis) of Springfield exercised significant patronage power in both the public and private sectors. When Doc died in 2011 at age 75, … Continue reading

Posted in Coal mines and mining, Hotels & taverns, Lithuanians, Politics, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life | 2 Comments

Sangamon County Lithuanians in World War I

More than 50,000 Lithuanian-Americans fought for the United States in World War I. This remarkable number was later leveraged to lobby U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to recognize the newly independent Lithuanian state that emerged from the War’s aftermath. The vast … Continue reading

Posted in Coal mines and mining, Lithuanians, Military | 3 Comments

Duncan McDonald

Duncan McDonald (1873-1965), while not as well-known as John L. Lewis, was almost certainly more principled as both a United Mine Workers leader and a politician. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library’s Chronicling Illinois collection characterizes McDonald’s labor career this way: … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Business, Coal mines and mining, Lincoln, Abraham, Politics, Presidential candidates, Prominent figures, Springfield Survey | Tagged , | 3 Comments