Category Archives: Buildings

Lawrence Avenue fire, 1916

A quick-moving fire, compounded by misdirected fire engines, destroyed the south side of the 300 block of East Lawrence Avenue early Oct. 3, 1916. The blaze, the cause of which was never determined, started just before 4 a.m. in the … 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

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Rev. Charles Dresser (Lincoln marriage, Lincoln Home)

The man who built the cottage that became the Lincoln Home also officiated the marriage of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. His life’s work, however, was formation of the church that became Springfield’s Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Rev. Charles Dresser … Continue reading

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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

Posted in Buildings, Business, Department stores, Fires | 2 Comments

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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