Category Archives: Celebrations

Old Capitol Art Fair beginnings

Springfield’s first Old Capitol Art Fair was a one-day affair in 1962 that featured 174 artists from around the Midwest. The event, held Saturday, May 26, 1962 (see note below), was one of the earliest events created by the Springfield … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Arts and letters, Celebrations, Prominent figures, Spectacles | Leave a comment

Irwin’s Park (‘Irwin’s Grove’)

Irwin’s Park, two miles north of Auburn off Illinois 4, is probably the oldest public meeting place in Sangamon County. For many years, it was also one of the most popular. Today, the property, operated by Auburn Township and the … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Celebrations, Coal mines and mining, Historic Sites, Markers, Parks, Sports and recreation | Leave a comment

Statehouse dome lighting

Christmas lights bedecked the Statehouse dome for the first time in 1924, but it took another four decades before the lights became a tradition. A.B. McCall (1887-1955), a mechanical drawing teacher at Springfield High School, had the idea to make … Continue reading

Posted in Air travel, Buildings, Celebrations, Illinois capital, Prominent figures | 4 Comments

Downtown arches

The steel arches that once dominated the four corners of Springfield’s downtown square went from being a graceful addition to an eyesore in barely 20 years. Actually, Springfield erected two sets of arches on the square in the late 1800s. … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Business, Celebrations, Local government | Leave a comment

Illinois State Fair butter cow

The Illinois State Fair’s first butter cow, sculpted in 1922, was the image of an actual champion cow, the University of Illinois’ Raleigh’s Sibyl. Raleigh’s Sibyl produced 18,847 pounds of milk in 1920, a record at the time. Nebraska sculptor … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Amusements, Celebrations, Spectacles | Leave a comment

Assembly Ball, 1889 (photo)

This obviously staged photograph was taken by William Patton in the lobby of the Leland Hotel, Sixth Street and Capitol Avenue, in 1889. The photo was later printed in the lllinois State Journal. The caption said, in part: Here in … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Celebrations, Hotels & taverns, Photos and photosets, Social life | Leave a comment

Fourth of July mayhem, 1907

One of the staples of newspaper journalism in the early 20th century was the annual July 5 roundup of Independence Day mayhem, much of it caused by children’s attraction to fireworks. What probably was the worst local Fourth of July-related … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Children, Local government, Media, Public health | 1 Comment

Wedding customs before the Civil War

Pre-Civil War weddings in Sangamon County had their peculiarities, often including macaroon pyramids and very early starting times, as Caroline Owsley Brown remembered in 1914. Here are Brown’s descriptions of some of those weddings. Barret/Johnson Miss Eliza Barret’s wedding at … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Celebrations, Early residents, Family life, Histories, Prominent figures, Women | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ansar Shrine leadership, 1914-2014

The leaders (“potentates”) of Springfield-based Ansar Shrine during its first 100 years included a Springfield mayor, a Springfield First Citizen and the last living person to have viewed the face of Abraham Lincoln. Ansar Shrine was chartered on July 13, … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, First Citizens, Lincoln Tomb, Lincoln, Abraham, Local government, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

Lincoln Tomb reconstruction and rededication, 1930-31

President Herbert Hoover rededicated the Lincoln Tomb in front of a massive crowd on June 17, 1931. The occasion was the reopening of the tomb following a complete reconstruction, including a new interior. When the memorial was erected in the … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Historic Sites, Lincoln Tomb, Lincoln, Abraham, National Register, Presidents | Tagged | Leave a comment