Author Archives: editor

Sangamon County and Springfield, 1847 (J.H. Buckingham)

In the summer of 1847, writer J.H. Buckingham traveled by stagecoach between Peoria and Springfield in the company of “two members of Congress from the state of Illinois, one Whig and one Locofoco.” The Whig was Abraham Lincoln. Here is … Continue reading

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First state police officer

When officers of the fledgling Illinois Highway Patrol lined up in full regalia in 1923, J. Frank Nuckolls of Auburn wore one of the patrol’s brand-new badges on his chest. He had a big job ahead of him. The highway … Continue reading

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Dr. Don Deal, surgeon and visionary

In the 1920s, Dr. Don Deal correctly predicted Springfield’s reinvention as a medical center. Springfield’s medical establishment “draws from a larger surrounding territory, in proportion to its population, than any other city in the United States,” Deal told fellow members … Continue reading

Posted in Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health, Science, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Hottest day in Springfield history

Blazing-hot weather killed two people, one an infant, in July 1954, and Springfield recorded its highest temperature ever – either 112 or 113.8 degrees, depending on which thermometer you followed  – on July 14, 1954. The heat was compounded by … Continue reading

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Fourth of July, 1921

Springfield residents celebrated the Fourth of July 100 years ago with picnics, sports and reenactment of the World War I battle of Chateau Thierry. There was no single community fireworks show, but a showy sunset, caused by a dust and … Continue reading

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Skyrocket Inn

What to do after a long day – and night – at the Illinois State Fair? The after-fair, after-hours mecca for everyone from carnies to Hell’s Angels to local movers and shakers was the Skyrocket Inn, right across the street … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Hotels & taverns, Illinois State Fair, Lithuanians, Lithuanians, Social life | 3 Comments

Dennis Williams, crayon artist

  This entry, originally written in 2013, was greatly expanded and corrected in 2021, thanks to the research of Mary Frances of Springfield. See “Contributor” note at end. Dennis Williams (1851-89), born an enslaved person in Mississippi, became an acclaimed … Continue reading

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Mildred Park bridge collapse, 1905 (photos)

Somehow, no one was seriously injured when a crowded suspension bridge collapsed into the pond at Mildred Park (today’s Bunn Park) on Aug. 16, 1905. The lead on the Illinois State Journal story: Without the slightest warning, the suspension bridge … Continue reading

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Savillah Hinrichsen, librarian and suffragist

When William “Buck” Hinrichsen took office as Illinois secretary of state in 1893, he appointed his sister, Savillah Hinrichsen, as assistant state librarian. The term “assistant,” however, was misleading – the secretary of state is also titularly the state librarian, … Continue reading

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S.A. Barker Co.

Samuel A. Barker began his apparel career as a “bundle boy,” gathering discarded garments from shop floors for sorting and cleaning. He ended it as the owner of S.A. Barker Co., one of Springfield’s best-known women’s clothing stores. Barker (1885-1968) … Continue reading

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