Category Archives: Medicine

Abortion murder trials, 1894

Was a Springfield doctor guilty of killing two women via botched abortions in 1893? Juries said no, but newspaper editorial writers disagreed. And despite the acquittals of Dr. John H. Lawrence, the boyfriend of one of the women was convicted … Continue reading

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Prince Sanitarium fire, 1923

Twenty-five patients and five nurses escaped unharmed when a fire destroyed the top two floors of the David Prince Sanitarium on Aug. 23, 1923. But a Springfield Fire Department aerial truck was also a near-casualty. The Prince Sanitarium was founded … Continue reading

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Bachmann & Keefner Pharmacy

When it closed in 2003, Bachmann & Keefner Pharmacy, with its black-and-white mosaic floor, handsome walnut paneling and fire-engine-red bar stools, ended a 90-year tradition at the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Capitol Avenue. The corner building, under various … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Business, Medicine, Restaurants | 1 Comment

Smallpox and Springfield’s ‘pest house,’ 1901-02

When smallpox broke out in Springfield in 1901, the Springfield City Council decided to build a “pest house” where victims could be isolated and cared for. The problem – in the face of neighborhood objections, a series of court contests … Continue reading

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Southern Illinois Medical School 50th anniversary (2020)

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine indefinitely postponed its 50th anniversary alumni gala, which had been scheduled for April 4, 2020, at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. The gala was a minor casualty of the … Continue reading

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Broadwell’s building

This entry has been edited to correct information in a photo caption. The building on the northwest corner of Fifth and Washington streets in Springfield was a drugstore for about 125 years. While that tradition ended in 1981, the old … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Business, Historic Sites, Medicine, Prominent figures | 1 Comment

Polio quarantine, 1949

In July 1949, with a polio epidemic under way, Springfield officials ordered children under 16 years old into quarantine – confined, with few exceptions, to their own backyards. Hours later, 4-year-old Thomas Suttle died of polio. The boy was the … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Local government, Medicine, Public health | 9 Comments

First woman dentist

Jennie F. Spurrier (1847-1912) was a dentist in Springfield beginning in 1877, making her the city’s first woman dentist and one of the earliest female dentists in the U.S. From what we know of her, she also seems to have … Continue reading

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First blood transfusions

Dr. Don Deal (1879-1952) performed Sangamon County’s first blood transfusion in 1914 – apparently successfully. The patient was Mrs. Henry Harney of Middletown, who came to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield for removal of a tumor, according to the Dec. … Continue reading

Posted in Medicine, Public health | 2 Comments

Prince Sanitarium

The David Prince Sanitarium opened in 1890 as a center for general surgery and eye, ear, nose and throat treatment. By 1978, when the building was demolished, it was a shabby apartment building whose tenants were the respectable (and elderly) … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Medicine | 3 Comments