Category Archives: Parks

Gehrmann Park

The development of Gehrmann Park in 1946 caused the destruction of what then probably was Springfield’s oldest building – a log cabin built by one of the Kellys, the city’s first European settlers. The three-acre park between Third and Fourth … Continue reading

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Lincoln Home neighborhood in 1971 (Nelson Howarth)

Nelson Howarth, with only a week to go in his third and final term as mayor of Springfield, testified in April 1971 before the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks and Recreation in support of designating the Lincoln Home neighborhood … Continue reading

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The Pasfield family (1830s to 1930)

Three men named George Pasfield — father, son and grandson, usually distinguished as “the first George Pasfield,” “Dr. George Pasfield” and “George Pasfield Jr.” — played major roles in the growth of Springfield over nearly a century. 1830s George Pasfield … Continue reading

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Clear Lake

When most Sangamon County residents hear the name “Clear Lake,” they think of the avenue or township. However, the body of water that gave these places their names has a rich history all its own. Clear Lake itself is about … Continue reading

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Wheeland Haven, Riverton

In the early 1900s, in the midst of coal mines and cornfields east of Riverton, was a 17-acre oasis of beauty — Wheeland Haven, the home of Olive Black Wheeland and her husband Cyrus. Cyrus Wheeland was a farmer, grain … Continue reading

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Rev. John Bergen (1828 pioneers)

Rev. John Bergen (1790-1872) was the first full-time pastor of Springfield’s original Presbyterian church, which was founded in 1828. He, his wife Margretta (1793-1853) and their family moved to Springfield in late 1828 from New Jersey, where John Bergen had … Continue reading

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Groves

Groves of mature hardwood trees figured frequently in the history of Sangamon County. Robert Pulliam, considered the first European inhabitant of  the county, set up his first encampment in a grove of sugar maples on what became known as Sugar … Continue reading

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Elijah Iles (1828 pioneers)

Elijah Iles (1796-1883) was Springfield’s first merchant and perhaps its most dynamic founder. Iles built a log store near the settlement of the John Kelly family shortly after arriving in central Illinois. Iles described his move to Sangamon County and … Continue reading

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John Hay Homes

The John Hay Homes was a 599-unit public housing complex built in 1940 in Springfield and demolished in 1997. When built, the Hay Homes replaced a slum neighhborhood known as the Badlands, and the townhouse-style complex was designed for middle-class … Continue reading

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Harriet Knudson (First Citizen)

Harriett Knudson (1883-1969) is best known as the driving force behind creation of the Lincoln Memorial Garden and Nature Center at Lake Springfield. She also organized the Springfield Civic Garden Club (Knudson was the first person elected to honorary life … Continue reading

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