Category Archives: Social life

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

The Mill, tavern and restaurant

The Mill, 906 N. 15th St., was one of Springfield’s most popular dining spots for nearly 40 years. Brothers Herman (1897-1980) and Louis Cohen (1893-1962) opened the tavern and restaurant in May 1933 on the same corner where they had … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Fires, Hotels & taverns, Restaurants, Social life, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

‘The rink,’ 1868-71

This entry has been revised — ed. Springfield’s first ice rink hosted skating contests, floral exhibits, masked balls and the “Knights of the Skate” during its brief existence at Walnut and Monroe streets. “The rink,” as it was simply known, … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Social life, Sports and recreation, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

John S. Condell memoir, 1840s

John S. Condell Sr. (1818-1907), born in Ireland, arrived in Springfield by way of Philadelphia and Carrollton in 1841. Condell was one of Springfield’s pioneer merchants, operating stores on the downtown square for more than 40 years. One of his … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Early residents, Historic Sites, Histories, Prominent figures, Social life | 2 Comments

Zoo Park

Zoo Park was an ambitious, but short-lived amusement park set on nearly 200 acres of land off Eighth Street Road north of the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Early ideas for the park included not only a zoo, but also a mile-long … Continue reading

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‘Cocaine Alley’ (1899-1903)

Note: This entry is based on research done by Floyd Mansberger and Christopher Stratton of Fever River Research for the city of Springfield and Federal Railroad Administration in connection with the Springfield Rail Improvements Project. Their full 358-page report, published … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Amusements, Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Local government, Public health, Race riot of 1908, Social life | Leave a comment

The Lake Club

NOTE: This entry has been edited. See below. The Lake Club, 2840 Fox Road, brought top national performers – Mickey Rooney, the Mills Brothers, Guy Lombardo, Pearl Bailey, Lawrence Welk and many more – to Springfield in the 1940s, ‘50s … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Law enforcement, Prominent figures, Social life | 9 Comments

Oriental Cafe

The Oriental Café was Springfield’s most popular Chinese restaurant for more than 40 years – and, when it closed in 1955, the only one. The café, on the second floor of the buildings at 424 and 426 E. Monroe St., … 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

‘Dodds’ Corner’

A fortuitous location made “Dodds’ Corner,” named after a drugstore on the northwest corner of Fifth and Monroe streets, one of Springfield’s best-known landmarks for more than 70 years. Richard Dodds (1851-1921) went into business at the corner when he bought … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Prominent figures, Social life | 2 Comments