Category Archives: Public health

Sangamon County Poor Farm

Sangamon County first created a home to care for the poor, feeble, disabled and mentally ill in 1851, four years after famed social reformer Dorothea Dix wrote a scathing commentary about the county’s practice of keeping paupers and the insane in the … Continue reading

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Elizabeth Brown Ide

Elizabeth Brown Ide (1873-1978), who was born into money and married more, could have been merely a socialite. Instead, she became Springfield’s most prominent children’s advocate during the early 20th century. Ide’s parents were Christopher Brown and Caroline Owsley Brown, … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health, Social services, Springfield Survey, Women | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Franciscan Life Center (Franciscan motherhouse)

The Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, who have served the sick in central Illinois since 1875, have their headquarters on a 300-acre site northeast of Springfield. The order of Roman Catholic nuns purchased the property (then 500 acres) in 1917 … Continue reading

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Children’s physical exams, 1914 (Springfield Survey photo)

The Springfield Survey was a massive study of local schools, prisons, and other institutions undertaken in 1914 by the Russell Sage Foundation with the help of hundreds of local volunteers. Topics covered included schools, care of “mental defectives, the insane … Continue reading

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Lake Springfield

Lake Springfield is a 4,000-acre artificial lake constructed by the city of Springfield in the early 1930s. The lake first reached full pool (560 feet above sea level) on May 2, 1935; it was dedicated in a three-day-long celebration in … Continue reading

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The Open Air Colony (Palmer Tuberculosis Sanatorium)

The Springfield Open Air Colony was a private sanatorium for people suffering from tuberculosis that operated at Chatham Road and Lawrence Avenue from 1913 until the 1940s. The Colony eventually was renamed the Palmer Tuberculosis Sanatorium, after Dr. George T. Palmer, … Continue reading

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Dr. George T. Palmer

Dr. George T. Palmer (1875-1943) was a lifelong advocate for better public health and social services, with a special interest in therapy for tuberculosis. Palmer, the grandson of Gov. John Palmer, began his medical practice in Chicago, but moved to … Continue reading

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Sangamon County poor farm, 1914 (Springfield Survey photo)

The Springfield Survey was a massive study of local schools, prisons, and other institutions undertaken in 1914 by the Russell Sage Foundation with the help of hundreds of local volunteers. Topics covered included schools, care of “mental defectives, the insane … Continue reading

Posted in Public health, Social services, Springfield Survey | Tagged | 20 Comments

Charles H. Spaulding

Charles Herbert Spaulding (1888-1968), described at his death as “the nation’s foremost water technologist,” provided the technical innovations that enabled his brother, Willis J. Spaulding, to carry out his vision of a publicly owned Springfield water system. Charles Spaulding designed … Continue reading

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1925 Springfield City Plan (The West Plan)

The 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago inspired the so-called City Beautiful movement that dominated urban planning in the U.S. and abroad until well into the 1920s. One of the more successful City Beautiful planners in the Midwest was Myron … Continue reading

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