Category Archives: Amusements

Ethnic Festival (1974-2014)

Where could you go for a bowl of Polish biogs and a side of Irish soda bread, Lithuanian kugelis and a plate of nutty rugelach, some Greek spanakopita and then top it off with homemade German apfelstrudel?  The Ethnic Festival … Continue reading

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Memorial Pool

On June 16, 1928, a crowd of about 750 people attended the grand opening of Soldiers’ and Sailors Memorial Pool on Springfield’s north end. The pool was named to honor all U.S. service personnel who perished in wars spanning the … Continue reading

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Sun ‘n Fun Swimming Club

There was a time after World War II when swimming pools in the U.S. were built not just for recreation, but as investment opportunities. The Sun ‘n Fun Swimming Club was one such place in Springfield. Sun ‘n Fun opened … Continue reading

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July 4 balloon ascension, 1858

Two balloonists were the talk of Independence Day 1858 in Springfield. The balloons were a traveling show, piloted by the “celebrated aeronauts … Messrs. White and Brooks,” the Illinois State Journal reported on July 6, 1858. “An immense crowd congregated … Continue reading

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White Oaks Mall opening day lineup (1977)

“Think of us as your Big Apple,” White Oaks Mall boasted in ads on Grand Opening Day, Aug. 24, 1977. Ninety-nine stores lined the corridors of the mall that day, including four “anchor” department stores – Myers Brothers, Famous-Barr, Sears … Continue reading

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The Booker’s Tavern corner (11th and South Grand)

“Squire Butler is Dead”, proclaimed a headline in the April 12, 1902, Illinois State Journal. “George H. Butler, familiarly known as ‘Squire’ Butler, was a character in the neighborhood of his home at 1124 South Grand avenue, east,” the Journal … Continue reading

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Springfield Sallies (professional women’s baseball)

The Springfield Sallies were one of the least successful, and also shortest-lived, teams in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league, whose memory was revived by the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own,” lasted from 1943 to 1954. … Continue reading

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Women’s golf, 1899

“A crowd of young society women in 1899 shocked the conventions of the day by reckless indulgence in a game called golf,” the Illinois State Journal recalled in 1931. Most of that sentence was nonsense. There’s no evidence anyone was … Continue reading

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‘The Story of the House,’ by Alice Bunn

Alice Bunn (1867-1953) was born and died in the spacious home at 435 S. Sixth St. that was built by her father, Jacob Bunn, in the 1850s. The house was torn down for a parking lot in July 1953, a … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Architecture, Buildings, Children, Early residents, Family life, Histories, Prominent figures, Social life, Women | 2 Comments

Early ‘base ball’: Libertys lose to Rockford, 101-13 (1869)

This entry has been edited to provide a better location for Capital Park. The hometown Liberty Base Ball Club didn’t expect to beat the Rockford Forest Citys when the celebrated Rockford team visited Springfield in 1869. City-versus-city match games were … Continue reading

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