Category Archives: Springfield

Dick Sullivan, political ‘boss’

Dick Sullivan, reputed to be Sangamon County’s behind-the-scenes political master for the first two decades of the 20th century, died in a violent train collision in New York state in 1923. Richard M. Sullivan (1874-1923), his wife Clara (1875-1923), their … Continue reading

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1910 Springfield Park Board election: ‘Shameful & disgraceful’

Political insiders went all-out to rig the 1910 Springfield Park Board election. “Spreading around the apparent victory (of incumbent park board members) lurks the shadow of the most amazing corruption of the elective franchise known in the history of Springfield,” … Continue reading

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East Springfield village hall and ‘calaboose’

Invisible and almost inaccessible, tucked into the side of the 19th Street overpass, a tumbledown brick building was in 2022 the last remnant of the once-feisty village of East Springfield. When constructed in 1901, the building served as the East … Continue reading

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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

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Sangamon County and Springfield, 1847 (J.H. Buckingham)

In the summer of 1847, writer J.H. Buckingham traveled by stagecoach between Peoria and Springfield in the company of “two members of Congress from the state of Illinois, one Whig and one Locofoco.” The Whig was Abraham Lincoln. Here is … Continue reading

Posted in Histories, Sangamon County, Springfield | 1 Comment

Springfield in 1947 (Saturday Evening Post)

When Elise Morrow critiqued Springfield for the Saturday Evening Post in 1947, local leaders reacted with wounded pride, insults and pompous denial. Among their many complaints was Morrow’s passing reference to the city’s tolerance for gambling and prostitution. “Springfield’s vice … Continue reading

Posted in Histories, Journalism, Lincoln Tomb, Media, Springfield, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Good Will Girls (1920s)

The Good Will Girls were the brainchild of a convicted con man, but they became the stars of a Springfield Chamber of Commerce bid to attract out-of-town shoppers in the 1920s. The chamber periodically sponsored car caravans to outlying communities … Continue reading

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Springfield in 1939, according to the Federal Writers Project

Editor: This entry, originally published in 2014, has been revised and expanded. Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide was part of the American Guide series, which profiled each of the then-existing 48 states during the 1930s. The American Guides were … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Communities, Depression, Historic Sites, Histories, Illinois capital, Lincoln, Abraham, Maps, Markers, Springfield, Transportation | 2 Comments

Daniel Pope Cook (Congressman, land owner)

The young lawyer for whom Cook County was named was a landowner in early Springfield and the man who prodded the Illinois territorial legislature to apply for statehood. Daniel Pope Cook was born in Kentucky in 1794 and moved to … Continue reading

Posted in Prominent figures, Springfield, State government | 1 Comment

First electrified home

The first Springfield home to be equipped with electric lights reputedly was the palatial residence of Frank and Sarah Jones Tracy. It’s not clear when Frank W. Tracy, a banker and civic leader, had the lights installed. The date probably … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Industry, Local government, Prominent figures, Social life, Springfield | 6 Comments