Monthly Archives: February 2015

Dorothea Dix letter about the Sangamon County Jail (1847)

See Sangamon County Jail conditions, 1847.

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Alfred S. Harkness (illustrator)

See “Poor House Rules — the drawings of Alfred S. Harkness.”

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‘Poor House Rules’ — the drawings of Alfred S. Harkness

Alfred S. Harkness (1866-1941) was an artist, illustrator and engraver whose specialty — at least for part of the time he lived in Springfield — was public health illustration. Harkness had been a member of the artist staff of the … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Illustrations, Media, Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health, Social services, Springfield Survey | Leave a comment

Springfield, 1916 (map)

The Capitol Engraving Co. artists who created this map of 1916 Springfield for the Sangamon County Abstract Co. were Alfred S. Harkness and Frank Melin (credits, top left corner). Green areas are parkland. The red lines denote trolley routes. Original … Continue reading

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Buffalo’s bicycle-riding bank bandit

The sensational robbery of the Bank of Buffalo on May 14, 1896, became even more sensational when authorities learned the supposed stickup was an inside job perpetrated by two sons of one of Springfield’s most prominent German residents. The original … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

Chinchilla rescue, 1957

Springfield firefighters in 1957 saved 72 comatose chinchillas via what sounds like a form of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The chinchillas were being raised in cages next to a garage at 722 S. 25th St., home of a business called the Capitol … Continue reading

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Sangamon County Jail conditions, 1847 (Dorothea Dix)

Social reformer Dorothea Dix wrote the following letter – Dix characterized similar communications as “memorials” — to the Sangamo Journal and Illinois State Register on Feb. 19, 1847. It was published in the March 4, 1847 edition of the Journal. … Continue reading

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Columbus ‘Pigeon’ Wilson (Sangamon County Poor Farm)

Columbus “Pigeon” Wilson (birth and death dates unknown), lived at the the Sangamon County Poor Farm near Buffalo longer than any other resident. Because of his delusions about great wealth, he also became the home’s best-known resident.

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Sangamon County Poor Farm

Sangamon County first created a home to care for the poor, feeble, disabled and mentally ill in 1851, four years after famed social reformer Dorothea Dix wrote a scathing commentary about the county’s practice of keeping paupers and the insane … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Medicine, Public health, Sangamon County, Social services | 6 Comments

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 | 14 Comments