Category Archives: Media

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

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Stray dog eradication, 1935

Hoping to stop a rabies epidemic, authorities declared open season on stray dogs in Sangamon County in 1935. Police and dog catchers killed hundreds of dogs that year in what one Illinois State Journal headline called a “brutal” eradication campaign. … Continue reading

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Rooftop gunman, 1951

Updated with information on the Horn Hotel — ed. A man fired shots at random from the roof of a Springfield hotel for more than an hour the evening of July 1, 1951. Somehow, no one was injured except the … Continue reading

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Women’s golf, 1899

“A crowd of young society women in 1899 shocked the conventions of the day by reckless indulgence in a game called golf,” the Illinois State Journal recalled in 1931. Most of that sentence was nonsense. There’s no evidence anyone was … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Media, Parks, Photos and photosets, Prominent figures, Social life, Sports and recreation, Women | 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

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Edward L. Baker (editor, diplomat)

As a newsman, Edward L. Baker delivered two of the biggest stories of the 19th century to Springfield. As a diplomat, Baker was too good to remove, no matter which party controlled the federal government. “Ned” Baker (1829-97) was only … Continue reading

Posted in Communications, Journalism, Lincoln, Abraham, Media, Oak Ridge signs, Politics, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

Mumblety-peg slaying, 1889

Theophilus “Moonlight” Waldron was a 15-year-old orphan, living on the streets and by his wits, when he stabbed to death a man over a game of mumblety-peg. Waldron (1874-?) was sentenced to life in prison for murder, a judgement many … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Crime and vice, Journalism, Law enforcement, Media | 1 Comment

Harry Lane, ‘boss gambler’

Chester M. “Harry” Lane was Springfield’s gambling kingpin at the turn of the 20th century, apparently with the connivance of police, city officials, and the courts. He stepped down in the mid-1900s, after a fatal shooting, the election of a … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Buildings, Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Journalism, Law enforcement, Media, Politics, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

W.W. Watts, theater impresario

William Walter “W.W.” Watts flopped the first time he opened a theater in Springfield. But his stepson-in-law persuaded Watts to try again, saying there was “big money in 5-cent picture shows.” The younger man was right. Watts (1868-1937), an Ohio … Continue reading

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