Author Archives: editor

Lanphier High School’s historic Earth Day flag

A homemade flag Lanphier High School students carried to the Statehouse in 1970 as a symbol of the environmental movement found a permanent home in the Smithsonian Institution. But a mystery remains: who sewed the flag? Smithsonian Magazine revived the … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Schools and school districts, Science | 11 Comments

Telephones in Springfield, 1939-84

Dial telephones went into use in Springfield in dramatic fashion on Aug. 20, 1939. Four minutes before midnight, crews of workmen in two separate locations simultaneously disabled the old operator switchboards and plugged 21,000 telephones into the new one. “With … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Communications | 2 Comments

Dual telephone service in Springfield (1903-19)

Sangamon County was a hub for early telephone development, thanks partly to its geographic position between St. Louis and Chicago and partly to the county’s relationship with Bell Telephone. In 1881 a newly formed company, American Bell Telephone, bought a … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Communications | 1 Comment

Worst coal mine accident (1918)

Four coal miners were killed Feb. 23, 1918, in the worst coal mine accident in Sangamon County history. Six employees of the mine, Citizens Coal Co.’s Mine A west of Springfield, were charged with negligence and violating mining laws, but … Continue reading

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Southern Illinois Medical School 50th anniversary (2020)

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine indefinitely postponed its 50th anniversary alumni gala, which had been scheduled for April 4, 2020, at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. The gala was a minor casualty of the … Continue reading

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Graybar Electric

On March 7, 1877, the Illinois State Journal published an article informing readers how to operate a telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell, the Scottish-born inventor today credited with patenting the first operational telephone device in 1876. The first telephone … Continue reading

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Washington Iles, civic leader

Washington Iles (1800-71) was often overshadowed by his older brother, Elijah, Springfield’s pioneer merchant and civic leader. But Washington also was a respected, active citizen of the city. The brothers were in step with each other in many of their … Continue reading

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A.L. Bowen, newspaperman & social service leader

A.L. (the initials stood for Archibald Leonard) Bowen traded careers between newspapering and social services, and he reached the top in both endeavors. Read about him in SangamonLink’s entry about the Palace Hotel.

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The Palace Hotel

In the late 1800s, Springfield’s Palace Hotel had a great location at Fourth and Washington streets, a half-block from the Chicago & Alton railroad station (today’s Amtrak station). For a while, the Palace was one of the city’s premier hostelries. … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Hotels & taverns, Illinois capital, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

John Hancock, early poet

In at least one scholar’s opinion, Springfield storekeeper John Hancock was “the finest poet of the frontier, in not only Illinois but the entire Midwest.” See “Huyler’s Ghost,” a poem by “H.”, 1832. 

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