Springfield in 1939 (Federal Writers Project)

Below are the introductory information and first three paragraphs of the entry about Springfield contained in Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide, published in 1939 by the Federal Writers Project, a Depression-era economic stimulus program. Writers were not identified, but the foreword, written by John Frederick, state director of the Writers Project and a literature professor at both Northwestern and Notre Dame universities, identified some contributors. 

Railroad stations: Third St. between Washington and Jefferson, for Alton R.R. and Baltimore & Ohio R.R.; Madison St. betwen Fifth and Sixth Sts. for Illinois Central System. Fifteenth St. and North Grand Ave., for Chicago & Illinois Midland Ry.

Electric Interurban Station: 2015 Clear Lake Ave. for Illinois Terminal.

Bus Stations: Union Bus Station, 611 E. Jefferson St., Black Hawk Lines, Greyhound Lines, Santa Fe Trailways, Western Coach Lines, Illinois Transit Lines and Central Illinois Bus Lines.

City Buses: 10¢, 2 tokens 15¢.

Taxis: Intra-city rates 25¢, 1-5 passengers

Street Numbering: Starting with number 100; East and West from First St.; North and South from Washington St.

Accommodations: 9 hotels; numerous tourist camps on outskirts of city.

Information Service: Springfield Chamber of Commerce, 406 S. Fifth St.

Radio Stations: WCBS (1430 kc.) and WTAX (1210 kc.)

Motion Picture Houses: 11

Golf: Municipal links at Bunn, Bergen and Pasfield Parks.

Swimming: Soldiers Memorial Pool, Ninth St. and Converse Ave.; YMCA, 317 S. Seventh St.; YWCA, 425 S. Fifth St.; Lake Springfield Beach, admission 10¢, towel 10¢, suit 10¢.

Tennis: Municipal courts at Washington Park, Lincoln Park, Lanphier Park and Lake Springfield.

Bridle Paths: Washington Park, West South Grand Ave., 5 miles of path.

Annual Events: Illinois State Fair, State Fair Grounds, eight days, Sat. to Sat., during the last half of Aug.

SPRINGFIELD (71,804 pop., 598 alt.), capital of Illinois, and the State’s fifth largest city, lies some 20 miles west of the geographic center of the State. From the softly rolling prairies that stretch for miles in all directions the dome of the Capitol can be seen, announcing Springfield long before the first scattered homse come into view. Large farms, shadowed here and there with a mine tipple, extend to the city’s door. For Springfield, capital of a farming and coal mining State, reflects its basic industries.

The city proper manifests both the well-ordered spaciousness typical of capital cities, and the disorder of smokestacks and railroad yards that attend factories and mines. Ninth Street, a north and south thoroughfare paralleling a railroad, divides Springfield roughly into capital and industrial areas. West of Ninth Street lie the business section, the great landscaped quadrangle of State buildings that center on the Capitol, and the wide shaded streets of fine houses that border and stem from the State group. East of Ninth Street are the bulk of Springfield’s industrial plants and railroad yards, and the homes of 3,324 Negroes.

No other city in the United States, with the possible exception of Washington, D.C., is such a tribute in itself to a national hero. … The mark of Lincoln upon the city is now well-nigh ineradicable. Bronze placques mark the sites of many of his activities, his name graces one of the finest hotels, his tomb and his home are maintained by the State as public shrines, and notable contributions to American poetry — especially by the late Vachel Lindsay, long a resident, and Carl Sandburg — have dealt with Lincoln and Springfield. …schs logo (2)

More information: Lincoln Library has several copies of  Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide. The Springfield entry runs from page 382 to page 396.







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