Category Archives: Fires

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

Johnston-Hatcher fires, 1907 & 1913

The Johnston-Hatcher Co. sold home furnishings of all kinds from 1899 to 1949 in downtown Springfield. The store, however, fell victim to two of the city’s most devastating early 20th-century fires. Johnston-Hatcher was the creation of two sets of brothers … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Airport, Amusements, Auto dealers, Buildings, Business, Crime and vice, Disasters, Farming, Fires, Presidents, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ben F. Caldwell: politician, farmer, banker

Ben Franklin Caldwell (1848-1924) was a member of Congress and the Illinois legislature in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He also was a farmer, banker and civic leader whose donations helped build schools in both Chatham and Thayer. … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Business, Fires, Historic Sites, Politics, Prominent figures, Schools and school districts | 3 Comments

Edith Martin, teacher & heroine

Teacher Edith Martin may have saved 30 children by forcing them out a second-story window as flames consumed Thayer’s Caldwell School on Feb. 16, 1903. An Illinois State Register special correspondent described the rescues in a highly colored account published … Continue reading

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Ridgely School fire, 1916

Regular fire drills were credited with saving the lives of an unknown number of children when Ridgely School caught fire in the middle of classes on Nov. 15, 1916. The blaze began when sparks from the school’s coal furnace flew … Continue reading

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Carver Convalescent Center fire, 1972

Investigators never agreed on the cause of the fire that killed 10 residents of a shabby nursing home on May 6, 1972. The number of deaths make the fire at Carver Convalescent Center, 1527 E. Washington St., the worst single … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Disasters, Fires, Public health | Leave a comment

Bressmer department store fire, 1948

Fire caused by a lightning bolt destroyed the John Bressmer Co. department store in downtown Springfield early on May 2, 1948. First reports estimated damages of $2 million. Even though that figure was later adjusted downward to about $1.3 million, … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Department stores, Fires | 2 Comments

Boston Store fire, 1915

What was thought to be Springfield’s most disastrous fire ever, up to that point, demolished The Boston Store on the east side of the downtown square on Dec. 7, 1915. The Boston Store was part of a loosely affiliated chain … Continue reading

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Most costly fires in Springfield, 1904-48

The following list of the most destructive fires in Springfield history was published in the May 3, 1948, Illinois State Journal. The list is based solely on the amount of property damage. Damage estimates are not adjusted for inflation. Preliminary … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Department stores, Disasters, Fires | 2 Comments

Stable fire, 1915

Fifty-one horses were “roasted and steamed to death” in a fire that destroyed a stable owned by Ira Dudley in the 900 block of East Washington Street on Sept. 15, 1915. The fire was discovered by two men walking along … Continue reading

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