Category Archives: Business

Brown’s Business College (1864-1994)

In 1864, Washington Rutledge, a relative of Abraham Lincoln’s reputed love Ann Rutledge, opened Rutledge & Davidson’s Commercial College in Springfield. Over the next 130 years, Rutledge & Davidson’s and its descendants provided what an early advertisement called “passports to … Continue reading

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Bluford Wilson (lawyer, corruption fighter)

In his later years, Maj. Bluford Wilson was a railroad lawyer in Springfield. His spare time was consumed with church work, politics and, apparently, cultivating a luxuriant mustache. But as a young man, Wilson helped break up the Whiskey Ring, … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Churches, Prominent figures, Railroads | Leave a comment

Shadid’s Book Mart

Shadid’s Book Mart began business at 322 S. Sixth St. on Aug. 4, 1958, after Mitchell, Woodrow and Phillip Shadid bought out the stock of a defunct book store downtown. The brothers at first called their shop the “Mag & … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Prominent figures | 6 Comments

Newcomer-Bell Mill

The Newcomer-Bell Mill was on Sugar Creek in Woodside Township, on a site that today is covered by Lake Springfield south of Lindsay Bridge. William Southwick (1805-83)purchased the property on Dec. 6, 1830 and formed a partnership with Armon Lathrop … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Early residents, Industry, Mills | 5 Comments

Fishman Sporting Goods

Fishman Sporting Goods was an institution for 99 years in downtown Springfield. Founder Louis Fishman emigrated to Springfield in 1887, fleeing anti-Jewish pogroms in his native Russia. He went into business on the smallest of scales, as the Illinois State … Continue reading

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First computer (1954)

The Franklin Life Insurance Co. had to tear out windows and walls to accommodate Springfield’s first computer. Then it had to hire a derrick to hoist the “electronic brain” five floors up. Franklin Life ordered the $1 million Univac from … Continue reading

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Good Will Girls (1920s)

The Good Will Girls were the brainchild of a convicted con man, but they became the stars of a Springfield Chamber of Commerce bid to attract out-of-town shoppers in the 1920s. The chamber periodically sponsored car caravans to outlying communities … Continue reading

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Bachmann & Keefner Pharmacy

When it closed in 2003, Bachmann & Keefner Pharmacy, with its black-and-white mosaic floor, handsome walnut paneling and fire-engine-red bar stools, ended a 90-year tradition at the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Capitol Avenue. The corner building, under various … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Medicine, Restaurants | 1 Comment

Albert Booth family, wagon makers

The A. Booth and Son Wagon Factory once dominated the northeast corner of Eighth and Washington Streets in Springfield. The factory was built by Albert Booth (1813-1873), who moved his family from Menard to Sangamon County around 1840. He first … Continue reading

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J.C. Penney store, Springfield

J.C. Penney’s Springfield store was the 1,001st in the chain when it opened on Oct. 5, 1928. “Large crowds attended the formal opening yesterday of the new J.C. Penney company store at 522 East Adams street,” the Illinois State Journal … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Department stores, Fires | 2 Comments