Author Archives: editor

World War I memorial (new)

An obelisk bearing the names of 113 Sangamon Countians who died of wounds or disease in World War I was created in the early 2000s by John Kerasotes, a member of Springfield’s pioneering movie theater family. Kerasotes, however, remained anonymous, … Continue reading

Posted in Historic Sites, Local government, Markers, Military, Sangamon County, Women | Leave a comment

William Fetzer & Co.

William Fetzer & Co. was a farm equipment manufacturer in Springfield from 1908 to 1918. The firm’s move to Springfield from Ohio was a major boost for development of the Harvard Park subdivision. See Harvard Park.

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Harvard Park

The person who named Harvard Park, one of Springfield’s largest early subdivisions, won $100 in a contest sponsored by the Springfield Improvement Association. He or she – the winner, one of 570 entrants, asked to remain anonymous – promptly donated … Continue reading

Posted in Communities, Industry | 7 Comments

Fred R. Coats Co.

This entry has been updated and expanded. Fred R. Coats deserves to be ranked with Robert Lanphier, John W. Hobbs and the Weaver brothers among Springfield’s top industrialists and innovators. Coats (1865-1951), born in Bennington, N.Y., came to Springfield with … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Industry, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Edna White (heroic elevator operator)

Edna White was an elevator operator in the DeWitt Smith Building, Fourth and Monroe streets, when it caught fire March 12, 1918. She stayed at her post to ferry people from the top floors of the building to safety at … Continue reading

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DeWitt Smith Building fire, 1918

When the DeWitt Smith Building caught fire in 1918, modern firefighting equipment saved the building, and a heroic elevator operator rescued many of its tenants. Even so, the top floors of the building, on the southeast corner of Fourth and … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Architecture, Auto dealers, Buildings, Disasters, Local government | 2 Comments

St. Patrick Parish, Springfield

The flag of Ireland lay draped beside the Stars and Stripes at a banquet held at the St. Nicholas Hotel on St. Patrick’s Day 1915. Springfield’s Irish Fellowship, led by the Irish-born Rev. Timothy Hickey, had organized Lá Fhéile Pádraig, … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Churches, Ethnic groups, Irish, Irish, Schools and school districts | Leave a comment

First woman principals in Springfield public schools

Women served as principals in the Springfield public schools for the first time in the 1874-75 school year, but only following a debate in which some board members declared they opposed “so hazardous an experiment as the employment of lady … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Local government, Schools and school districts, Women | Leave a comment

Root beer stands

This entry has been edited to add photo above. Root beer stands first appear in Springfield city directories in 1931, with three outlets mentioned: A&W Root Beer, 408 E. Adams St; Icy Root Beer, Fifth Street and South Grand Avenue; … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Restaurants | 5 Comments

Pioneer women’s memories

For the 1879 meeting of the Old Settlers of Sangamon County, president Roland Diller read letters he had solicited from some of the county’s pioneer women. They were reprinted in the History of Sangamon  County, Illinois, published in 1881 by … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Children, Early residents, Family life, Women | 2 Comments