Category Archives: Business

Butchers vs. the ‘blue law’ (1916)

Springfield’s Sunday “blue law” was more than 40 years old in 1916. That’s when a group of suburban butchers decided the law should actually be enforced. As the dispute developed, Springfield police that March hauled in 15 businessmen, including seven … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Labor unions, Law enforcement, Local government, Springfield, Theaters | Leave a comment

Roberts Brothers (men’s clothing)

In the cold, early morning hours of December 12, 1974, smoke billowed from the roof of Roberts Brothers clothing store in downtown Springfield. A fire had started on the second floor, and the Springfield Fire Department was alerted when a … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Department stores, Prominent figures | 4 Comments

Springfield postal service/postmasters

Receiving mail was a hit-or-miss proposition before Springfield got its first post office, and it wasn’t a picnic afterwards, either. The Springfield post office will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2023. The first postmaster was pioneer storekeeper Elijah Iles. The … Continue reading

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Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame members, Sangamon County

The Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame includes plaques for a dozen – or so, depending on how you count them – inductees from Williamsville to Divernon in Sangamon County. U.S. Route 66, “the Mother Road,” probably the most famous … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Hotels & taverns, Maps, Markers, Museums, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Route 66, State government, Transportation | Leave a comment

Illinois State Fair crisis, 1922-23

The big question after the 1922 Illinois State Fair was whether there would be another one in 1923. On one level, the problem involved ownership of the fairgrounds. When Sangamon County turned the former site of the county fair over … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Historic Sites, Illinois State Fair, Local government, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, State government | Leave a comment

Guy’s Dropper (miners’ lamp)

The first factory for the Guy’s Dropper, one of the most popular miners’ lamps ever made, was a back porch on Douglas Avenue. The Guy’s Dropper was a carbide lamp, which uses a mix of water and calcium carbide to … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Coal mines and mining, Industry, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

Springfield looks ahead: 1869

As 1869 began, the Illinois State Journal saw Springfield as a growing, prosperous and busy community. And the future looked even brighter: Two coal mines had just opened, plans had been drawn up for a new state Capitol, and the … Continue reading

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German newspapers

German-language newspapers came and went for more than 60 years in Springfield. Abe Lincoln even had a hand in one. But the Staats Wochenblatt had staying power. German immigration to the U.S. took off after the failure of the German … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Communications, Ethnic groups, Germans, Journalism, Lincoln, Abraham, Media, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Lincoln Tomb streetcar line (1880)

The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site is a mile-and-a-half from downtown Springfield. That distance isn’t a problem in the 21st century, but it was a considerable obstacle when the tomb was new 150 years earlier. Distance was a big reason … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Germans, Historic Sites, Lincoln Tomb, Prominent figures, Transportation, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Sun ‘n Fun Swimming Club

There was a time after World War II when swimming pools in the U.S. were built not just for recreation, but as investment opportunities. The Sun ‘n Fun Swimming Club was one such place in Springfield. Sun ‘n Fun opened … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Social life, Sports and recreation | Leave a comment