Category Archives: Local government

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

Sangamon County Detention Home, 1916

The Sangamon County Detention Home was created with two goals: to be both an alternative to jail for the county’s youngest delinquents and a refuge for neglected or abandoned children. It wasn’t a perfect solution to either problem, but it … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Crime and vice, Family life, Law enforcement, Local government, Sangamon County, Social services | 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

Shelby M. Cullom (U.S. Senate)

Shelby M. Cullom won his first election by four votes. It was the start of a 60-year political career that would take him to the edge of the presidency. As a lawmaker, Cullom (1829-1914) “sometimes seemed to plod,” an obituary … Continue reading

Posted in John T. Stuart, Lincoln, Abraham, Local government, Oak Ridge signs, Politics, Presidential candidates, Prominent figures, State government | Leave a comment

First window glass

“Squire Job” Fletcher, one of Sangamon County’s earliest officials and a member of the “Long Nine” that secured Springfield as the state capital, apparently was the first county resident to have glass windows in his home. John Carroll Power recorded … Continue reading

Posted in Early residents, Local government, Native Americans, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Rees Memorial Carillon

Before the Springfield Park Board could build a carillon in Washington Park, it had to answer two questions: how many bells would it hold, and what kind would they be? When newspaper publisher Thomas Rees died in 1933, he left … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Communications, Journalism, Local government, Parks, Prominent figures, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Hottest day in Springfield history

Blazing-hot weather killed two people, one an infant, in July 1954, and Springfield recorded its highest temperature ever – either 112 or 113.8 degrees, depending on which thermometer you followed  – on July 14, 1954. The heat was compounded by … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Local government, Public health, Sangamon River | Leave a comment

First women jurors

In January 1931, Grace Dye of Williamsville became the first woman eligible for jury duty in Sangamon County. But it would take eight years for most other women to enjoy the same right. The hiatus was thanks to the Illinois … Continue reading

Posted in Law enforcement, Local government, State government, Women | 1 Comment

Chinkapin Bridge

The Chinkapin Bridge northwest of Springfield carried travelers across the Sangamon River to and from Cantrall and points north for 60 years or more. It was replaced by a new bridge, a short distance east on what is today Illinois … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Transportation | 3 Comments

Engine House 5 (“the colored firehouse”)

Engine House 5, 1310 E. Adams St., was known as Springfield’s “colored firehouse” from its construction in 1901 until after its fire company moved to a new building in 1954. “The Springfield Fire Department routinely gave Five the worst of … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Buildings, Local government, Markers | Leave a comment