Author Archives: editor

Auburn Brick Road

An empty stretch of highway near Auburn might be Sangamon County’s most obscure historic site. The Auburn Brick Road, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, draws what few visitors it does because it was … Continue reading

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Poston Brick & Concrete Co.

Brickyards sprouted in Springfield almost as soon as European settlers reached Sangamon County, but the longest-lived was Poston Brick & Concrete Co., which operated on South Grand Avenue for almost 60 years. “Nature was in a most generous mood when … Continue reading

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Job Fletcher (‘Long Nine’, first window glass)

Job Fletcher, whose family settled in Sangamon County in 1819, is credited with a number of the county’s “firsts.” See First window glass.

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First window glass

“Squire Job” Fletcher, one of Sangamon County’s earliest officials and a member of the “Long Nine” that secured Springfield as the state capital, apparently was the first county resident to have glass windows in his home. John Carroll Power recorded … Continue reading

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R.F. Herndon & Co. (dry goods, women’s clothing)

R.F. Herndon & Co. sold dry goods, women’s clothing and hats for more than 130 years in Springfield. Herndon’s operated the first horseless delivery vehicle in Springfield, and its third location featured one of Springfield’s first passenger elevators, an innovation … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Department stores, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

First passenger elevator (1876)

What apparently was Sangamon County’s first passenger elevator was installed at a dry-goods store, Kimber & Ragsdale, on the south side of today’s Old Capitol Plaza, in 1876. Kimber & Ragsdale, owned by W.F. Kimber (1836-1911) and Thomas Ragsdale (1812-92), … Continue reading

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Edward L. Baker (editor, diplomat)

As a newsman, Edward L. Baker delivered two of the biggest stories of the 19th century to Springfield. As a diplomat, Baker was too good to remove, no matter which party controlled the federal government. “Ned” Baker (1829-97) was only … Continue reading

Posted in Communications, Journalism, Lincoln, Abraham, Media, Oak Ridge signs, Politics, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

De Crastos family (tamales)

The De Crastos family, beginning with patriarch Edward De Crastos, sold chili and tamales from pushcarts and bicycles in Springfield from the 1890s until the 1960s. See ‘Tamale men’ (1890s).

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‘Tamale men’ (1890s)

Roving “tamale men” became a late-night phenomenon in downtown Springfield around the turn of the 20th century, and a single family kept the tradition going until the 1960s. The Illinois State Journal reviewed the local tamale industry – “for the … Continue reading

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Gov. William H. Bissell

When Gov. William Bissell was reburied in 1871, the crowd may have been bigger than at any Springfield funeral since that of Abraham Lincoln. Bissell was the first Republican, first college graduate and first disabled person elected governor. He also … Continue reading

Posted in Illinois capital, Markers, Oak Ridge signs, Politics, Prominent figures, Spectacles, State government, Uncategorized | 1 Comment