Category Archives: Depression

Springfield in 1939, according to the Federal Writers Project

Editor: This entry, originally published in 2014, has been revised and expanded. Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide was part of the American Guide series, which profiled each of the then-existing 48 states during the 1930s. The American Guides were … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Communities, Depression, Historic Sites, Histories, Illinois capital, Lincoln, Abraham, Maps, Markers, Springfield, Transportation | Leave a comment

New Deal projects, 1930s

Thousands of people clogged downtown Springfield on June 30, 1939, celebrating the fact that streetcar tracks no longer crisscrossed Monroe Street. The giant festival, which included three bands, a jitterbug contest and appearances by city officials, was the climax of … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Buildings, Celebrations, Depression, Local government, Social services, Transportation | 2 Comments

Kidnapped banker, 1932

Springfield coal miner James Gammaitoni lost his life savings when Taylorville’s John B. Colegrove State Bank failed in 1929. So Gammaitoni took direct action: He kidnapped Colegrove. John Benjamin Colegrove had been a lawyer and real estate investor before he … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Crime and vice, Depression, Law enforcement | Leave a comment

Hunger march blockade, 1933

Police cordoned off Sangamon County in April 1933 to quell a planned “hunger march” on the Statehouse by unemployed people from around Illinois. Springfield Mayor John “Buddy” Kapp summed up authorities’ opinion of the demonstration: “The law enforcing officers of the … Continue reading

Posted in Coal mines and mining, Depression, Illinois capital, Labor unions, Law enforcement, Prominent figures, State government | Leave a comment

Second Christmas parade (1929)

Correction: This entry has been retitled. The first Christmas parade (smaller and less formal) in Springfield was held in 1914. You can read about it here. Embarrasssed apologies from SangamonLink’s editor, who wrote both entries, for forgetting the first one. And … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Celebrations, Children, Department stores, Depression, Spectacles | 1 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

St. Barbara Slovenian Catholic Church

St. Barbara Church, 15th and Laurel streets, was Springfield’s Slovenian Catholic parish from 1911 until 1947. Thirty-seven Slovenian residents of the Springfield area – many of them coal miners – formed a Slovenian Church Building Association in 1909, each pledging … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Churches, Depression, Labor unions, Prominent figures, Schools and school districts | 5 Comments

The Payne Stone Age Collection

Edward W. Payne (1857-1932), a Springfield banker and property investor, amassed a huge collection of stone relics — most, though not all, from pre-Columbian America — with the intention of building a museum to house them. At his death, however, … Continue reading

Posted in Depression, Historic Sites, Museums, Native Americans, Prehistory, Prominent figures, State government | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Central Illinois Public Service Co.

The utility company now part of the utility conglomerate Ameren Illinois was founded in Mattoon as an electric streetcar line in 1902. The firm eventually moved into other businesses — electric generation and distribution and delivery of  natural gas, water … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Business, Department stores, Depression, Industry | Leave a comment

Progressive Mine Workers Auxiliary march, 1933

One of the signal events of the struggle between the United Mine Workers of American and the insurgent Progressive Miners of America union was a march by the PMA Women’s Auxiliary to the Statehouse on Jan. 25, 1933. See Coal … Continue reading

Posted in Coal mines and mining, Depression, Women | Tagged | Leave a comment