Category Archives: Medicine

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

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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

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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

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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

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Malaria in early Sangamon County

The Sangamo Country of the early 1800s was an agricultural paradise in many ways, but it had one major drawback: the anopheles mosquito, which carried the malaria parasite. Virtually every early resident of central Illinois was exposed to malaria – … Continue reading

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Ben Victor (pharmacist, Thrifty Drugs chairman)

Benjamin “Mr. Ben” Victor (1908-88) was a Springfield pharmacist, founder and chairman of Illinois Thrifty Drugs, and philanthropist. The fall 2000 edition of Aspects magazine, published by Southern Illinois School of Medicine, gives a good synopsis of Victor’s business and … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Medicine, Prominent figures | 3 Comments