Category Archives: Business

Comer Cox, Urban League leader

Comer Cox, the namesake of Comer Cox Park in Springfield, was an Alabama native and star athlete in his  youth who went on to lead the Springfield Urban League. Comer Lane Cox was born May 9, 1905, in Athens, Ala. … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Business, Parks, Prominent figures, Social services | Leave a comment

Joseph McCoy and the McCoy brothers

Joseph, William and James McCoy, in a sense, created the Wild West. The McCoys, three brothers from Cartwright Township, organized the original cattle drives and turned Abilene, Kansas, into the West’s first great cow town. A giant segment of American … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Business, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

Allen Cigar Store explosion, 1929

“Springfield’s original optimist” died in a soda fountain explosion on Sept. 7, 1929. Matt Reavley (1879-1929) was an employee and part-owner of Allen Cigar Store, which at the time had operated for 20 years on the northwest corner of Sixth … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life | 4 Comments

The Booker’s Tavern corner (11th and South Grand)

“Squire Butler is Dead”, proclaimed a headline in the April 12, 1902, Illinois State Journal. “George H. Butler, familiarly known as ‘Squire’ Butler, was a character in the neighborhood of his home at 1124 South Grand avenue, east,” the Journal … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Business, Hotels & taverns, Social life | 1 Comment

Springfield Auto Club ‘safety lanes’

Fifteen hundred motorists pulled their vehicles through the Springfield Automobile Club’s free “safety lane” on the south side of the downtown square in April 1930. Some did it twice. Safety lanes were a nationwide initiative of the American Automobile Association, … Continue reading

Posted in Auto dealers, Business, Transportation | Leave a comment

First parking ramp (1963)

The space age hasn’t been kind to Springfield’s first parking ramp. The 450-car, $725,000 ramp opened to the public on March 17, 1963. The “gala open house” included free coffee, Coke or Bubble-Up and a Mel-O-Cream donut for every person … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Business, Local government, Prominent figures, Springfield, Transportation | Leave a comment

Pike’s Peak Ocean to Ocean Trail

Back when Illinois highways had names, not numbers, the Pike’s Peak Trail brought tourists, and their dollars, to central Illinois. The trail (full name “Pike’s Peak Ocean to Ocean Trail,” often abbreviated PP-OO or PPOO) was cobbled together from bits … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Maps, Transportation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First burial of a Japanese

Johei “Joe” Okuhara probably was the first ethnic Japanese to be buried in Springfield, and his also may have been the first Muslim funeral. However, his friends wanted the city to know, he did not live – or die – … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Ethnic groups, Japanese, Media, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Poston Brick & Concrete Co.

Brickyards sprouted in Springfield almost as soon as European settlers reached Sangamon County, but the longest-lived was Poston Brick & Concrete Co., which operated on South Grand Avenue for almost 60 years. “Nature was in a most generous mood when … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Industry, Soil, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

R.F. Herndon & Co. (dry goods, women’s clothing)

R.F. Herndon & Co. sold dry goods, women’s clothing and hats for more than 130 years in Springfield. Herndon’s operated the first horseless delivery vehicle in Springfield, and its third location featured one of Springfield’s first passenger elevators, an innovation … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Department stores, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | 3 Comments