Category Archives: Buildings

Albert Booth family, wagon makers

The A. Booth and Son Wagon Factory once dominated the northeast corner of Eighth and Washington Streets in Springfield. The factory was built by Albert Booth (1813-1873), who moved his family from Menard to Sangamon County around 1840. He first … Continue reading

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Alfred Booth, grocer, developer

Alfred Booth was a grocer and property developer in Springfield for more than 60 years. His most obvious legacy is the eight-story Booth Building at 516-18 E. Monroe Street. At the height of his career, Booth (1853-1939) developed single-family residences, … Continue reading

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Roosa-Diller fire, 1920

A “small army of suffering humanity” poured out onto the frozen streets of Springfield when a fire destroyed two dilapidated apartment buildings on Dec. 23, 1920. A passerby discovered the blaze about 7:30 p.m. He alerted residents and the Springfield … Continue reading

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J.C. Penney store, Springfield

J.C. Penney’s Springfield store was the 1,001st in the chain when it opened on Oct. 5, 1928. “Large crowds attended the formal opening yesterday of the new J.C. Penney company store at 522 East Adams street,” the Illinois State Journal … 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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The Palace Hotel

In the late 1800s, Springfield’s Palace Hotel had a great location at Fourth and Washington streets, a half-block from the Chicago & Alton railroad station (today’s Amtrak station). For a while, the Palace was one of the city’s premier hostelries. … Continue reading

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Mary Bryant Home

The genesis of Springfield’s Mary Bryant Home for the Blind and Visually Impaired was the meager life savings of a blind woman who understood the need for a safe home. Mary Bryant, born in Chicago in 1854, lost her sight … 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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Brinkerhoff Home

The Brinkerhoff Home, which in 2020 sat buttoned-up and unused on the former campus of Benedictine University Springfield, was designed in the 1860s by Elijah E. Myers, who would go on to be one of 19th-century America’s best known, and … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Historic Sites, National Register, Prominent figures | 7 Comments

First self-service grocery (1918), first supermarket (1940)

The opening of Springfield’s first self-service grocery in March 1918 meant lower prices – thanks to the layoffs of three clerks. The innovator was Moran Market on the northwest corner of Eighth and Washington streets, whose manager, Clyde McElroy, announced … Continue reading

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