Category Archives: Social life

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

Posted in Amusements, Business, Parks, Social life, Sports and recreation, Transportation | Leave a comment

‘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

Posted in Business, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life | Leave a comment

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

Prohibition referendums in Sangamon County, 1908-17

Most of Sangamon County voted itself “dry” as soon as it legally could in 1908. But it would take four referendums and nearly 10 years before the city of Springfield finally succumbed to prohibitionist sentiment. After a bitter struggle, the … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Local government, Politics, Race riot of 1908, Restaurants, Social life, Women | Leave a comment

Alby’s Tavern & the Stasukinas family

Alby (Albinas) Stasukinas, son of Lithuanian immigrants Joseph and Rose (Poskevicius) Stasukinas, opened his storied tavern at 14th and Carpenter streets in 1944. Alby quit coal mining in 1940 to work at the Illiopolis munitions plant, but by 1944 he … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Lithuanians, Social life | Leave a comment

Springfield Muni Opera

The Springfield Muni Opera’s earliest ancestor was a play named “Good News,” performed by the Springfield Municipal Choir at Lanphier Park on July 28, 1938. But today’s outdoor community musical theater more accurately dates from a presentation of “Bye Bye … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Arts and letters, Local government, Prominent figures, Social life | 3 Comments

Louis Lehmann (band director)

Professor Louis Lehmann (1851-1923) led the Illinois Watch Factory Band for 42 years, until he collapsed and died at a band rehearsal. William Dodd Chenery described the scene in 1933: For forty-two years, almost to a day, he carried on, … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Amusements, Local government, Prominent figures, Social life | Leave a comment