Monthly Archives: February 2023

‘The Great Klaholt robbery’, 1883

One hundred-forty years ago this week, “adroit cracksmen” made away – briefly – with what probably is the most lucrative burglary haul in Springfield history. The theft was carefully planned. The getaway, apparently, was not. The theft took place in … Continue reading

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Bell Miller, businesswoman

Bell Miller was only 22 in 1892, when she opened a small flower shop at her home on South Second Street. One greenhouse soon grew to seven, covering the area around First and Canedy Streets. The Illinois State Journal took … Continue reading

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Frank Zito’s Leavenworth prison record

Most photographs of Frank Zito, Springfield’s so-called “godfather” of the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s, show him as an older man, vaguely grandfather-ish in a homburg. The mug shots taken when Zito, then about 40, entered the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, … Continue reading

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Susan Lawrence’s secret marriage

Susan Lawrence Dana and Lawrence Joergen-Dahl married secretly on March 19, 1912.  It took another two months for Springfield to become aware of the wedding. The marriage was certainly a love match for Dana (1862-1946), the wealthy socialite who a … Continue reading

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Robert Preston Taylor (Lincoln College of Law, Illinois State Museum)

By one measurement, Robert Preston Taylor (1876-1951) goes into history as the first African-American graduate of the old Lincoln College of Law in Springfield. But that would ignore Taylor’s more significant achievement: bringing to life exhibits at the Illinois State … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Education, Higher education, Museums, Prominent figures | 2 Comments