Category Archives: Illinois capital

Fallout shelters in Sangamon County

On April 5, 1964, about 150 people moved into the sleek, white-tiled tunnels below the State Office Building. They were to remain there for 25 hours, drinking purified water and munching biscuits, while loudspeakers blared warnings and audio recordings simulated … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Communications, Illinois capital, Local government, Maps, Public health | 9 Comments

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

Coldest day in Springfield history (1905)

Springfield’s temperature fell to 24 degrees below zero at 7 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 13, 1905, the lowest official reading ever recorded in the city. Engines seized up, gas mains failed, and the destitute crowded local jails. Even the ink … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Fires, Illinois capital, Weather | Leave a comment

‘Husband, dear husband’: poem by a legislative wife (pre-1881)

The nameless, uncredited poem below was printed in the 1881 History of Sangamon County, Illinois, printed by the Interstate Publishing Co. of Chicago. Here is all the History tells us about it: As is well known, the session of the … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Histories, Illinois capital, State government, Women | Leave a comment

The whipping post, 1828-37

A whipping post stood permanently on the northeast corner of Springfield’s public square from 1828 to 1837. It apparently was used infrequently, but often enough that whippings stuck in the minds of those who saw them. The post – which … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Early residents, Illinois capital, Law enforcement, Local government, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Statehouse dome lighting

Christmas lights bedecked the Statehouse dome for the first time in 1924, but it took another four decades before the lights became a tradition. A.B. McCall (1887-1955), a mechanical drawing teacher at Springfield High School, had the idea to make … Continue reading

Posted in Air travel, Buildings, Celebrations, Illinois capital, Prominent figures | 4 Comments

Paul Powell shoebox scandal

The discovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars stuffed in suitcases, an attache case, loose envelopes and, of course, a shoebox within days after the October 1970 death of Illinois Secretary of State Paul Powell remains clouded by confusion and … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Illinois capital, Politics, Prominent figures, State government | Leave a comment

Willard Ice, ‘Mr. Revenue’

Willard Ice (1915-80) was an attorney and public servant at the Illinois Department of Revenue for more than 30 years, including a brief period as revenue director.  The Revenue Department’s headquarters in Springfield is named after Ice, commemorating his contributions … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Illinois capital, Prominent figures, State government | 3 Comments

Stephen A. Douglas’ missing finger

Before he was Abraham Lincoln’s foil in the 1858 contest for U.S. Senate in Illinois and then for the presidency in 1860, Stephen A. Douglas was a regular presence and sometime resident in Springfield. Douglas also was, briefly, Lincoln’s rival … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Early residents, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Lincoln, Abraham, Politics, Presidential candidates, Prominent figures, State government | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sangamon County/Springfield timeline, 1818-1840

The following timeline is taken from a handout distributed by Melinda Garvert for a talk she presented at the Iles House on Feb. 17, 2015. Reprinted with permission. 1818 —  Illinois becomes the 21st state in the union due to … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Early residents, Illinois capital, Local government, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, Springfield, State government | 8 Comments