Author Archives: editor

Thanksgiving Day earthquake (1939)

People experienced the second earthquake in recorded Sangamon County history on Thanksgiving Day 80 years ago. The quake hurt no one and caused no damage. But it did restart Joseph LaVoo’s eight-day clock. The quake struck at 9:30 a.m. Nov. … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters | 4 Comments

Bank holiday scrip (1933)

Springfield kept its economy going during the “bank holiday” of 1933 by printing its own money. State and federal officials ordered banks across the nation to close in early March 1933, amid a wave of bank collapses caused by the … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Depression, Local government, State government | 1 Comment

WMAY Shower of Stars, 1959

This entry has been edited to correct the date of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. On Feb. 15, 1959, the curtain opened on the stage of the Illinois State Armory, and Harry … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Communications, Media | 3 Comments

Barbed wire

See Osage Orange (hedge apple).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Osage orange (hedge apple)

The heyday of living fences on farms lasted less than 30 years. But Osage orange trees, descendants of fencerows planted as early as the 1840s, still line country roads and fill hedge lines throughout central Illinois. As the name suggests, … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Farming | 1 Comment

Italian Villa fire (1932)

The explosion that wrecked the Italian Villa nightclub on East Monroe Street in 1932, killing two, was never explained. Suspicion, fueled by testimony from passersby, the track records of the club’s owners, and a rash of explosions around central Illinois … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Hotels & taverns, Italians, Italians, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

YMCA Athletic Park (1890s)

For a brief period in the 1890s, the Springfield Young Men’s Christian Association maintained what it called an athletic park. The park was on 10 acres leased by the YMCA at the southwest corner of Pasfield and Allen streets. A … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Parks, Sports and recreation | Leave a comment

A&P supermarkets

A&P was the first grocery chain to label its Springfield stores “supermarkets.” One A&P on South Grand Avenue was converted to the supermarket concept in April 1940. A second A&P at Fifth and Mason streets was the first local store … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Moran Market

Moran Market (also known as Moran’s Market) was the first self-service grocery store in Springfield. More here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First self-service grocery (1918), first supermarket (1940)

The opening of Springfield’s first self-service grocery in March 1918 meant lower prices – thanks to the layoffs of three clerks. The innovator was Moran Market on the northwest corner of Eighth and Washington streets, whose manager, Clyde McElroy, announced … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business | 7 Comments