Category Archives: Springfield

Levi Ellis: First resident of Springfield?

Several accounts suggest that Levi Ellis (c.1791-1857) may have been the first European to set up residence in what is now the city of Springfield, a designation often attributed to Elisha Kelly and his relatives. Ellis, born in South Carolina, … Continue reading

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Enos Park neighborhood (Fever River)

The Enos Park neighborhood, north of downtown, is one of five areas of Springfield that have been exhaustively studied by Fever River Research. The resulting reports  are extraordinarily informative historical and archaeological analyses. (The Enos Park report formerly was available online; … Continue reading

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Federal court opinion on commission government (1987)

U.S. Judge Harold Baker ruled on Jan. 12, 1987, that the effect of commission government in the city of Springfield had been to “submerge” African Americans as a voting minority and had made it practically impossible for a black person … Continue reading

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Elijah Iles (1828 pioneers)

Elijah Iles (1796-1883) was Springfield’s first merchant and perhaps its most dynamic founder. Iles built a log store near the settlement of the John Kelly family shortly after arriving in central Illinois. Iles described his move to Sangamon County and … Continue reading

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Mayor John ‘Buddy’ Kapp

John “Buddy” Kapp (1888-1978) served four terms as Springfield mayor, from 1931 to 1947, the longest mayoral tenure in city history.  One of his secrets? Kapp never forgot a name,  State Journal-Register reporter Mike Kienzler wrote in a profile of … Continue reading

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The Kelley (Kelly) family

The Kelleys – Elisha, John, Henry and their relatives – are usually considered the first Europeans to live in the boundaries of what is now Springfield. (An 1817 settler, Levi Ellis, may actually deserve that designation, but the Kelley family’s cabins … Continue reading

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‘Springfield Magical’ (Vachel Lindsay)

“City of my discontent” summarizes in a phrase Vachel Lindsay‘s conflicted relationship with his home town. The poem that includes that line, “Springfield Magical,” was contained in Lindsay’s collection “General William Booth Enters into Heaven, and other poems,” 1919. In … Continue reading

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‘Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight’ (Vachel Lindsay)

Vachel Lindsay‘s best-known poem, “Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight,” was included in his collection The Congo and Other Poems. The collection was published in 1914, and “Walks” is eerily prescient about the disaster World War I would become. Abraham Lincoln … Continue reading

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‘The Golden Book of Springfield’ (Vachel Lindsay)

The Golden Book of Springfield, Vachel Lindsay’s only novel, published in 1920, outlined Lindsay’s ethereal, mythopoetic expectations for the city of Springfield a century hence. (One of the few concrete predictions in Lindsay’s highly metaphorical view of the city’s future … Continue reading

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‘On the Building of Springfield’ (Vachel Lindsay)

Poet Vachel Lindsay was confounded — not to say obsessed — with his hometown of Springfield. Some of his best-known lines about the city are contained in his 1908 poem, “On the Building of Springfield.” LET not our town be … Continue reading

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