Category Archives: State government

Collective bargaining in state government (1973)

Gov. Dan Walker granted bargaining rights to 60,000 state workers in 1973, kicking off an organizing battle between two labor organizations with very different approaches to state employee advancement. In signing his executive order on Sept. 4, 1973, Walker said … Continue reading

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Hunger march blockade, 1933

Police cordoned off Sangamon County in April 1933 to quell a planned “hunger march” on the Statehouse by unemployed people from around Illinois. Springfield Mayor John “Buddy” Kapp summed up authorities’ opinion of the demonstration: “The law enforcing officers of the … Continue reading

Posted in Coal mines and mining, Depression, Illinois capital, Labor unions, Law enforcement, Prominent figures, State government | Leave a comment

‘Husband, dear husband’: poem by a legislative wife (pre-1881)

The nameless, uncredited poem below was printed in the 1881 History of Sangamon County, Illinois, printed by the Interstate Publishing Co. of Chicago. Here is all the History tells us about it: As is well known, the session of the … Continue reading

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Women win civil service hiring rights in Illinois, 1920

Harriett Reid of Springfield placed first in the 1918 examination for arbitrator with the Illinois Industrial Commission. But when the commission decided to hire two more arbitrators in 1920, it advertised that it wanted men for both posts. That set … Continue reading

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Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum

The Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum was a huge hit when it first opened to fairgoers in 1901. But not huge enough, because the building had to be substantially expanded only two years later. The Coliseum, declared unsafe for use in … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, National Register, State government | 8 Comments

The Battle of Virden (1898)

The 1898 “Battle of Virden,” a 10-minute gunfight that killed 13 men and had lasting significance for Illinois coal mining, was fought in Macoupin County, just south of the Sangamon County line. However, the Virden confrontation also led to turmoil … Continue reading

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Paul Powell shoebox scandal

The discovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars stuffed in suitcases, an attache case, loose envelopes and, of course, a shoebox within days after the October 1970 death of Illinois Secretary of State Paul Powell remains clouded by confusion and … Continue reading

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Willard Ice, ‘Mr. Revenue’

Willard Ice (1915-80) was an attorney and public servant at the Illinois Department of Revenue for more than 30 years, including a brief period as revenue director.  The Revenue Department’s headquarters in Springfield is named after Ice, commemorating his contributions … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Illinois capital, Prominent figures, State government | 3 Comments

Stephen A. Douglas’ missing finger

Before he was Abraham Lincoln’s foil in the 1858 contest for U.S. Senate in Illinois and then for the presidency in 1860, Stephen A. Douglas was a regular presence and sometime resident in Springfield. Douglas also was, briefly, Lincoln’s rival … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Early residents, Historic Sites, Illinois capital, Lincoln, Abraham, Politics, Presidential candidates, Prominent figures, State government | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Elizabeth Magie (‘Monopoly’ precursor)

Elizabeth Magie, who designed the heart of what later became the board game Monopoly, spent much of her youth in Springfield. Magie (1866-1948) moved with her family to Springfield in the late 1870s, after her father, formerly a newspaper editor … Continue reading

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