Category Archives: Historic Sites

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

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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

First European buried in Sangamon County

The first European to die in Sangamon County apparently was a U.S. Ranger enlisted to help protect early European settlers from Native Americans during the War of 1812. The man, probably named William Hewitt, was shot in an unprovoked scuffle … Continue reading

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Old Capitol restoration, 1960s

Before the Old State Capitol was restored to the way it looked in the 1850s, the building housed Springfield’s public restrooms. You could tell by the odor. Earl “Wally” Henderson (1931-2016), co-founder with Don Ferry of the Ferry & Henderson … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, First Citizens, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Local government, Museums, National Register, Prominent figures, Sangamon County, State government | Leave a comment

Iron Spring, Washington Park

The Iron Spring in Washington Park originally poured forth from a sandstone cave at the foot of a steep clay bluff. Cattle drank its water. But when Washington Park opened in 1901, the spring was one of its earliest attractions. … Continue reading

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Dismantled statues, Illinois Statehouse lawn

The statue of Pierre Menard that formerly stood on the Illinois Statehouse grounds was a gift from a citizen of Missouri. Was it a good likeness of Illinois’ first lieutenant governor? Nobody knows. The Menard statue, along with that of … Continue reading

Posted in Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Markers, Politics, Presidential candidates, Prominent figures, State government, Uncategorized | Leave a comment