Category Archives: Media

Nellie Revell, publicist, author & celebrity

As a young vaudevillian, the story goes, Nellie Revell punched out George M. Cohan. Decades later, Cohan hosted a Friars Club benefit for Revell – a first for a woman. He also was among hundreds of celebrities who lined up … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Journalism, Media, Women | 6 Comments

Richard Kinsella (baseball scout, team owner)

Richard “Sinister Dick” Kinsella (1862-1939) was a semi-pro baseball player, owner of Springfield’s Three-I League team and a well-known local politician. But he was famous nationally as the right-hand man of John J. McGraw, the Hall of Fame manager of … Continue reading

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Radio beginnings in Springfield

Two boyhood friends turned radio pioneers brought Springfield its first permanent radio station in 1926. That station, whose original call letters were WCBS, broadcast its first program, a test featuring Alfred Blankschen, organist at Springfield’s Lyric Theater, on Dec. 10, … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Media, Prominent figures | 3 Comments

Illinois State Informer (newspaper)

The Illinois State Informer was a weekly newspaper founded by Dr. Alonzo Kenniebrew, a nationally prominent black physician, in the mid-1930s in Springfield. Kenniebrew (1875-1943), a graduate of Tuskegee Institute and close friend of Tuskegee founder Booker T. Washington, had moved to … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Arts and letters, Ethnic groups, Journalism, Media, Prominent figures | 2 Comments

Telephone service begins, 1878

The first telephone conversation in Springfield took place on Feb. 28, 1878, over a line between the city office of Western Union, Sixth and Monroe streets, and the company’s branch office at the state Capitol. That phone call began with … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 4 Comments

‘First flash of lightning’: Telegraph reaches Springfield

Edited to add Hat Tip (see below) In 1848, only four years after Samuel F.B. Morse famously sent the message “What hath God wrought!,” Springfield became linked to the rest of the world via telegraph. The Illinois State Journal’s story … Continue reading

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First radio weather report (Illiopolis, 1915)

What apparently was the first weather report ever transmitted by radio was a test sent from an experimental station based in Illiopolis sometime in April 1915. Although the Illiopolis transmitter, operating on call letters 9ZK, reached most of Illinois, the … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Journalism, Media, Science | Leave a comment

Fourth of July mayhem, 1907

One of the staples of newspaper journalism in the early 20th century was the annual July 5 roundup of Independence Day mayhem, much of it caused by children’s attraction to fireworks. What probably was the worst local Fourth of July-related … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Children, Local government, Media, Public health | 1 Comment

The potato matinee of 1925

The “potato matinee” of Christmas 1925 was the brainchild of longtime local theater manager Harry Thornton. It quickly went awry, the victim of its own success. Illinois State Journal editor/publisher J. Emil Smith, a friend of Thornton’s, heard the potato … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Children, Media, Prominent figures, Social life | Leave a comment

Springfield High loses 1933 state championship basketball game (YouTube)

H.V. Porter, who made his biggest mark on sports by inventing the laceless, molded basketball and standardizing the rules of the game, was assistant director of the Illinois High School Association from 1928 to 1940. In that role, he also … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Media, Schools and school districts, Sports and recreation | 7 Comments