Category Archives: Public health

Dr. Don Deal, surgeon and visionary

In the 1920s, Dr. Don Deal correctly predicted Springfield’s reinvention as a medical center. Springfield’s medical establishment “draws from a larger surrounding territory, in proportion to its population, than any other city in the United States,” Deal told fellow members … Continue reading

Posted in Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health, Science, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Disasters, Local government, Public health, Sangamon River | 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

Polio vaccinations, 1955 and 1964

First- and second-graders topped the priority list when local public health officials prepared to deliver the first polio vaccinations in 1955. The program was a success, despite an unplanned delay in scheduled “booster” shots. Children were among those most susceptible … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Medicine, Public health, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Founding of Douglas Park, 1921

The Springfield Park Board bought the property that became Douglas Park (later Duncan Park) in September 1920, but there was a problem with developing the new land: the neighborhood stank.* The park district paid $20,000 to buy the 26-acre “Enos … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Parks, Public health | 5 Comments

Smallpox and Springfield’s ‘pest house,’ 1901-02

When smallpox broke out in Springfield in 1901, the Springfield City Council decided to build a “pest house” where victims could be isolated and cared for. The problem – in the face of neighborhood objections, a series of court contests … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Local government, Medicine, Public health | Leave a comment

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

Polio quarantine, 1949

In July 1949, with a polio epidemic under way, Springfield officials ordered children under 16 years old into quarantine – confined, with few exceptions, to their own backyards. Hours later, 4-year-old Thomas Suttle died of polio. The boy was the … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Local government, Medicine, Public health | 9 Comments

New Year’s news, 1920

Good news dominated Springfield newspapers on New Year’s Day 1920. The pages of the Illinois State Journal and Illinois State Register were full of predictions about the year to come. Businesspeople were optimistic. Among those the Register quoted was Joseph … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Celebrations, Crime and vice, Prominent figures, Public health, Social life | Leave a comment