Monthly Archives: September 2017

St. Joseph Parish and School

St. Joseph Parish on Springfield’s north end was the third Catholic parish established in the city. Its elementary school existed from the 1870s until 1912. See Patrick Henry statue, St. Joseph School. 

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Rev. Patrick O’Reilly (Catholic pastor)

Rev. Patrick O’Reilly, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Springfield, was the guiding force behind the statue of Patrick Henry that stood above the school entrance for more than 50 years.

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Patrick Henry statue, St. Joseph School

The mystery of what happened to St. Joseph School’s statue of Patrick Henry may never be solved. But the question of how a life-sized marble sculpture of a Protestant patriot happened to stand above the entrance of a Catholic school … Continue reading

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Rainfall records, 1926

Two massive rainstorms made Springfield a virtual island on Sept. 8, 1926, flooding streets and basements, stranding autos, trains and streetcars, and leading to the electrocution of an Illinois Watch Co. worker. Even people using the Knights of Columbus swimming … Continue reading

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The Sternaman brothers (football pioneers)

Two brothers from Springfield played important roles in the history of football. One co-founded the Chicago Bears. The other, by starring in the most notorious football game ever played in central Illinois, helped bring about tighter rules on amateur sportsmanship. … Continue reading

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Farm machinery, 1870s-1950s

Sangamon County farms switched from man- and horsepower to fully mechanized operations in fits and starts over more than 80 years. But the key impetus may have been six disastrous weeks of rain in the fall of 1926. Traction engines … Continue reading

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Whig Party rally, 1840 (letter)

The Whig Party of Illinois held a giant rally in Springfield from June 2 to June 4, 1840, in support of their presidential candidate, William Henry Harrison. (Harrison and vice-president candidate John Tyler were known by their slogan “Tippecanoe and … Continue reading

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