Monthly Archives: November 2016

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

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Corn husking competitions

Nearly 4,000 “farmers, farmers’ wives and children” jammed the grounds of the F.I. Taylor farm near New Berlin on Nov. 21, 1924, for the first annual Illinois State Corn Husking contest. The competition, sponsored by Prairie Farmer magazine, continued into … Continue reading

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‘Wine to water’ mystery, 1923

Hauler Ira Dudley was accused of stealing wine in what became known as Springfield’s own wine-to-water miracle of 1923. See Stable fire, 1915.

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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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Gov. John Tanner Monument

Gov. John Tanner (1897-1901) is interred in one of the most visible monuments at Oak Ridge Cemetery. See “Battle of Virden”.

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The Battle of Virden (1898)

The 1898 “Battle of Virden,” a 10-minute gunfight that killed 13 men and had lasting significance for Illinois coal mining, was fought in Macoupin County, just south of the Sangamon County line. However, the Virden confrontation also led to turmoil … Continue reading

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‘Boarding house horror’ fire, 1899

Three people died on Feb. 4, 1899, in a fire the Illinois State Journal called a “boarding house horror.” The victims – boarding house operator Martha “Mattie” Withey, retired grocer J.C. Hall and 67-year-old Helen Rose – were among 21 … Continue reading

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Western Cartridge Co. explosion, 1920

Four men were killed on June 24, 1920, when an explosion and fire wrecked part of a smokeless gunpowder plant northeast of Springfield. The Western Cartridge Co., based in East Alton, opened the plant in 1915. Powder manufactured in Springfield … Continue reading

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