Monthly Archives: June 2015

Fourth of July mayhem, 1907

One of the staples of newspaper journalism in the early 20th century was the annual July 5 roundup of Independence Day mayhem, much of it caused by children’s attraction to fireworks. What probably was the worst local Fourth of July-related … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Children, Local government, Media, Public health | 1 Comment

John E. Hickey (pioneer aviator)

John E. Hickey (1890-1970), a founder of aviation’s Silver Wings Fraternity, had been a pilot for longer than anyone else in Illinois when he died in 1970. Hickey’s first flight took place in a hot-air balloon in 1908. He told … Continue reading

Posted in Air travel, Airport, Prominent figures | 6 Comments

Noll Saloon murders, 1913

A string of saloon holdups had Springfield already on edge in December 1913, when a shootout with a pair of robbers left two men dead in the Carl Noll Saloon, 1301 E. Reservoir St. Gun-wielding robbers had held up at … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Law enforcement | Leave a comment

‘Diamond Special’ train hijacking, 1913

Two audacious robbers hijacked the Illinois Central Railroad’s “Diamond Special” train near Glenarm on June 18, 1913. The northbound train, which ran between St. Louis and Chicago, was due in Springfield from the south, bearing 150 passengers and an American … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Railroads, Transportation | Leave a comment

The Coal Palace

Sangamon County showed off its most valuable mineral by building a “grand coal palace” for the 1889 county fair. The idea for the palace apparently originated with an unidentified Illinois State Journal staff member only two weeks before the scheduled … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Architecture, Buildings, Business, Coal mines and mining, Industry, Labor unions, Spectacles | Leave a comment

Gehrmann Park

The development of Gehrmann Park in 1946 caused the destruction of what then probably was Springfield’s oldest building – a log cabin built by one of the Kellys, the city’s first European settlers. The three-acre park between Third and Fourth … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Early residents, Parks, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Rev. John Brockmeier (‘labor priest’)

Rev. John Brockmeier (1894-1976) was considered Springfield’s “labor priest.” Brockmeier was one of the most visible clergymen in central Illinois for three decades, starting while he was pastor of the former St. Barbara Parish in the 1930s. He began broadcasting … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

St. Barbara Slovenian Catholic Church

St. Barbara Church, 15th and Laurel streets, was Springfield’s Slovenian Catholic parish from 1911 until 1947. Thirty-seven Slovenian residents of the Springfield area – many of them coal miners – formed a Slovenian Church Building Association in 1909, each pledging … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Churches, Depression, Labor unions, Prominent figures, Schools and school districts | 9 Comments