Monthly Archives: April 2013

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana-Thomas House

The Dana-Thomas House, designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was built at 301 E. Lawrence Ave. for Springfield hostess Susan Lawrence Dana. Dana gave Wright his first “open checkbook” commission, and the result, as described by the Springfield Historic Sites … Continue reading

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Bullard & Bullard: Leading architects

The architectural Bullard family, founded by Samuel A. Bullard (1853-1926), designed many of Springfield’s most prominent late 19th-century churches, schools, and public buildings. It and the firm of Helmle & Helmle are considered the most successful and most accomplished of … Continue reading

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Pawnee Township saw some of Sangamon County’s earliest European settlers, with Justus Henkle apparently being the first in 1818. He was followed by a number of other settlers from St. Clair County. The new families encountered the indigenous Kickapoo and … Continue reading

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Cantrall: First church, first marriage

Founded and named: The village of Cantrall was originally named Antioch, but the name was changed to honor the Cantrall family, who were among the first European settlers of the area. In unusually precise fashion, the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, … Continue reading

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Curran was founded in the 1830s and laid out in the 1850s, when a store and post office also were established. However, the community wasn’t formally incorporated until 2005, when area residents decided to seek aid to build a sewer … Continue reading

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Coal mining fatalities

Several hundred coal miners and mine workers lost their lives in Sangamon County mines through 1930, according to researcher Wayne Hinton.* Hinton’s former website also reported on four Sangamon County mine “disasters,” defined as any incident between 1880 and 1986 … Continue reading

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Ursuline Sisters: Pioneer educators

The Ursuline order of Catholic nuns played an important role in educating Springfield’s young from the mid-1800s through most of the 20th century, founding Ursuline Academy, a high school originally for girls only and Springfield Junior College, for decades Springfield’s … Continue reading

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Pleasant Plains

The first Europeans settled near what is now Pleasant Plains about 1819, and a “Mr. Spillars” was operating a horse-powered grist mill by almost the same time. From the 1830s to the 1850s, a stagecoach line connected Springfield to Beardstown, and … Continue reading

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According to Divernon: Its Place in Time, a centennial history written by David Brady in 2000, the village of Divernon began as one of four depots on a Litchfield-to-Springfield railroad formally known as the St. Louis & Chicago Railway Co. Informally, … Continue reading

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Edwards Place: Center of social life

In 1833, Dr. Thomas Houghan, an early Springfield physician, built a 1½-story brick house in a 14-acre grove of elm, walnut, and maple trees on the northern edge of Springfield. The home, greatly altered over the years, now is the … Continue reading

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