Category Archives: Social services

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

Posted in Amusements, Local government, Parks, Public health, Social services, Sports and recreation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Andrew McFarland (mental health center namesake)

Dr. Andrew McFarland, the namesake of the Andrew McFarland Mental Health Center near Springfield, directed the Illinois Hospital and Asylum for the Insane in Jacksonville in the mid-1870s. Perversely, McFarland (1817-91) also helped expand the rights of people accused of … Continue reading

Posted in Medicine, Social services, Women | Leave a comment

Comer Cox, Urban League leader

Comer Cox, the namesake of Comer Cox Park in Springfield, was an Alabama native and star athlete in his  youth who went on to lead the Springfield Urban League. Comer Lane Cox was born May 9, 1905, in Athens, Ala. … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Business, Parks, Prominent figures, Social services | 1 Comment

Sangamon County Detention Home, 1916

The Sangamon County Detention Home was created with two goals: to be both an alternative to jail for the county’s youngest delinquents and a refuge for neglected or abandoned children. It wasn’t a perfect solution to either problem, but it … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Crime and vice, Family life, Law enforcement, Local government, Sangamon County, Social services | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving charity, 1921

Special meals were the order of the day for Thanksgiving 1921 at local prisons, orphanages and homes for the poor, sick and aged. And disabled veterans got a bonus that weekend: an exclusive performance by poet Carl Sandburg. A look … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Children, Social services, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

St. John’s Hospital

Mary Lincoln may have been one of the earliest patients to benefit from care provided by what is now the Hospital Sisters Health System. The story was handed down by a Franciscan nun, Sister Francis Dreisvogt (1849-1933), who was among … Continue reading

Posted in Germans, Lincoln, Abraham, Medicine, Public health, Social services, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Toddler food poisoning deaths, 1927

Contaminated cream puffs apparently were the source of the poison that killed three toddlers and sickened a half-dozen more in a Springfield foundling home in 1927. The suspect cream puffs were on the breakfast menu at the Springfield Redemption Home, … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Public health, Social services | Leave a comment

Mary Bryant Home

The genesis of Springfield’s Mary Bryant Home for the Blind and Visually Impaired was the meager life savings of a blind woman who understood the need for a safe home. Mary Bryant, born in Chicago in 1854, lost her sight … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Public health, Social services, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Humane officer’ report, April 1904

Charles Stone (1847?-1911) was appointed Springfield’s first humane officer in November 1903. The position was part of the Springfield Police Department, and the humane officer had all the powers of any other police officer, but with the special duty of … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Children, Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Prominent figures, Social services | Leave a comment

New Deal projects, 1930s

Thousands of people clogged downtown Springfield on June 30, 1939, celebrating the fact that streetcar tracks no longer crisscrossed Monroe Street. The giant festival, which included three bands, a jitterbug contest and appearances by city officials, was the climax of … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Buildings, Celebrations, Depression, Local government, Social services, Transportation | 2 Comments