Category Archives: Historic Sites

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

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

Lincoln Tomb statuary (added 1931)

The statuettes inside the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site were supposed to be urns. And the Gutzon Borglum bust just outside the tomb – the one people rub the nose of – was supposed to be indoors. The interior of … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Historic Sites, Lincoln Tomb, Lincoln, Abraham, Museums, National Register, Presidents, Prominent figures, State government, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Strawbridge-Shepherd House

Thomas Strawbridge Jr. (1798-1880) was born in County Donegal, Ireland, one of seven children of Thomas and Jane Mitchell Strawbridge. Thomas’ mother died in May 1809, when Thomas was only 11 years old. The year following her death, the Strawbridge … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Architecture, Buildings, Early residents, Farming, Historic Sites, National Register, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Lincoln circuit marker, Sangamon-Christian county line

Down a tiny back road southeast of Breckenridge, out of view but within earshot of Illinois 29, stands a century-old monument to the legal career of Abraham Lincoln. Nearly forgotten today, it is one of three dozen markers the Daughters … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Historic Sites, Lincoln, Abraham, Markers | 2 Comments

U.S. Grant marches to Island Grove, 1861

In 1927, Benjamin Warfield Brown, the son of agricultural pioneer James N. Brown, published a short memory of then-Col. U.S. Grant’s 1861 visit to the Brown family farm in western Sangamon County. The visit turned out to be, literally, part … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Early residents, Historic Sites, Military, Presidents, Prominent figures, Social life | Leave a comment

Alfred Piquenard, Statehouse architect

The question of who deserves credit for designing the Illinois Statehouse has a complicated answer. When commissioners awarded the first design contract, newspaper stories called it “the plan of J.C. Cochrane,” referring to Chicago architect John C. Cochrane. An early … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Prominent figures, State government | 2 Comments

Statehouse entrance revamped (1885-86)

For the first decade of its existence, people entering the east doors of the Illinois Statehouse had to stagger up a massive “grand staircase” to the building’s second floor. That changed in the 1880s, thanks to what was cutting-edge technology … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Disasters, Fires, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Irish, John T. Stuart, Local government, Prominent figures, State government | Leave a comment

Auburn Brick Road

An empty stretch of highway near Auburn might be Sangamon County’s most obscure historic site. The Auburn Brick Road, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, draws what few visitors it does because it was … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Historic Sites, National Register, Transportation | 1 Comment

St. Nicholas Hotel early days

J. Emil Smith, editor, publisher and columnist for the Illinois State Journal, wrote the following memory of the early St. Nicholas Hotel on Nov. 28, 1943, a few days before the McCreery family relinquished ownership. The McCreerys had operated the … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Historic Sites, Hotels & taverns, National Register, Prominent figures, Restaurants, Social life, Uncategorized | 4 Comments