Category Archives: Disasters

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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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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Chatterton Opera House roof collapse, 1887

There was no audience inside when the roof of the Chatterton Opera House collapsed on Aug. 9, 1887. “The blue sky is now the only covering that shelters the auditorium of the once beautiful interior,” the Illinois State Journal reported. … Continue reading

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The ‘Tournament of the Big Snow’, 1931

“(W)hen coaches, players or spectators recall 1931 to their grandchildren, they’ll call it the Tournament of the Big Snow,” Illinois State Journal sports editor Bob Drysdale wrote of the 1931 boys district basketball championships. A blizzard – 14 inches of … Continue reading

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Boyhood during the Deep Snow

Zimri Enos was nine years old when the Deep Snow hit Sangamon County on Dec. 30, 1830. Snowstorms continued almost constantly for eight weeks. At its height, average snow depth was four to five feet, and the snow was accompanied … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Disasters, Early residents, Family life, Histories, Prominent figures, Social life, Uncategorized, Weather | 1 Comment

Round Prairie tornado, 1883

A mother and her baby were among victims when a tornado surprised people living south and east of Springfield on May 18, 1883. At least four people died in Sangamon County because of the storm. Another 20-some were seriously injured, … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Weather | 1 Comment

Lawrence Avenue fire, 1916

A quick-moving fire, compounded by misdirected fire engines, destroyed the south side of the 300 block of East Lawrence Avenue early Oct. 3, 1916. The blaze, the cause of which was never determined, started just before 4 a.m. in the … Continue reading

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Roosa-Diller fire, 1920

A “small army of suffering humanity” poured out onto the frozen streets of Springfield when a fire destroyed two dilapidated apartment buildings on Dec. 23, 1920. A passerby discovered the blaze about 7:30 p.m. He alerted residents and the Springfield … Continue reading

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Thanksgiving Day earthquake (1939)

People experienced the second earthquake in recorded Sangamon County history on Thanksgiving Day 80 years ago. The quake hurt no one and caused no damage. But it did restart Joseph LaVoo’s eight-day clock. The quake struck at 9:30 a.m. Nov. … Continue reading

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Italian Villa fire (1932)

The explosion that wrecked the Italian Villa nightclub on East Monroe Street in 1932, killing two, was never explained. Suspicion, fueled by testimony from passersby, the track records of the club’s owners, and a rash of explosions around central Illinois … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Hotels & taverns, Italians, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life, Uncategorized | Leave a comment