Author Archives: editor

Round Prairie tornado, 1883

A mother and her baby were among victims when a tornado surprised people living south and east of Springfield on May 18, 1883. At least four people died in Sangamon County because of the storm. Another 20-some were seriously injured, … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Weather | 1 Comment

Lawrence Avenue fire, 1916

A quick-moving fire, compounded by misdirected fire engines, destroyed the south side of the 300 block of East Lawrence Avenue early Oct. 3, 1916. The blaze, the cause of which was never determined, started just before 4 a.m. in the … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Disasters, Fires | Leave a comment

Abortion murder trials, 1894

Was a Springfield doctor guilty of killing two women via botched abortions in 1893? Juries said no, but newspaper editorial writers disagreed. And despite the acquittals of Dr. John H. Lawrence, the boyfriend of one of the women was convicted … Continue reading

Posted in Crime and vice, Medicine, Women | Leave a comment

Theodore Lorch, actor

Theodore Lorch, who spent his teenage years in Springfield, was a film and stage actor whose busy career spanned the 1900s through the 1940s. Although he had leading roles in such movies as the 1920 version of “Last of the … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Arts and letters, Media, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Loomis Observatory

For 15 years early in the 20th century, one of the United States’ most sophisticated private telescope systems operated from a modest house on North First Street in Springfield. The Loomis Observatory eventually housed four telescopes – two larger scopes … Continue reading

Posted in Prominent figures, Science | 5 Comments

St. Agnes Parish, Springfield

On August 25, 1889 a religious procession marched from the former Church of the Immaculate Conception at Seventh and Monroe streets to College Street, where St. Agnes Catholic Church was to be erected. Hundreds of marchers waved American flags, ecclesiastical … Continue reading

Posted in Churches | 4 Comments

Prince Sanitarium fire, 1923

Twenty-five patients and five nurses escaped unharmed when a fire destroyed the top two floors of the David Prince Sanitarium on Aug. 23, 1923. But a Springfield Fire Department aerial truck was also a near-casualty. The Prince Sanitarium was founded … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Fires, Medicine | Leave a comment

Sangamon Fair and Springfield Exposition, 1890

The Sangamon Fair and Springfield Exposition of 1890 would be “one of the grandest events in the way of a local fair that has ever been held in the state of Illinois,” the Illinois State Register proclaimed that August. Everybody … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Amusements, Illinois State Fair, Spectacles | Leave a comment

Fishman Sporting Goods

Fishman Sporting Goods was an institution for 99 years in downtown Springfield. Founder Louis Fishman emigrated to Springfield in 1887, fleeing anti-Jewish pogroms in his native Russia. He went into business on the smallest of scales, as the Illinois State … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Sports and recreation | Leave a comment

William Dodd Chenery, impresario

The dedication of Lake Springfield on July 12, 1935 featured an elaborate pageant involving more than 100 participants – among them city fathers who portrayed themselves in a drama depicting the planning and construction of the lake. The Illinois State … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Arts and letters, Celebrations, Hotels & taverns, Prominent figures, Social life, Spectacles | Leave a comment